Few things can compare to the distress of having your beloved pet go missing. While collars and tags can help with the identification and location of your missing dog, there is always the possibility that they could come loose and fall off. Microchips provide a reliable and permanent form of identification for your dog, and if the collar does happen to come off, there is a backup option to ensure that you’re reunited with your furry companion as soon as possible.
If you live in Australia, having your dog microchipped is not only the smart thing to do but a requirement in the majority of states. In fact, microchipping dogs and cats is mandatory and legally enforced in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
What Is Dog Microchipping?
Microchipping is when a tiny microchip the size of a grain of rice is implanted just beneath the skin of your dog. The microchip is placed at the back of the neck between the shoulder blades, and is programmed with a unique identification number that can be read by a microchip scanner.
The procedure can be carried out at most veterinarian clinics, but only a certified microchip implanter has the authorisation to microchip pets. Microchipping is very safe and carries minimal risk of complications. It is, however, recommended that your dog be at least 4 weeks of age before microchipping, just to be safe.
On average, it costs around $45 to have your dog microchipped in Australia – a one-time fee that, often, also covers the cost of registering your details in the microchip database.
How Does A Dog Microchip Work?
The microchip implanted into your dog doesn’t run on power, but simply reflects radio waves back to a microchip scanner which then decodes the data and displays the chip’s unique ID number as well as the chip manufacturer’s details. Because it’s a passive device, the microchip will last for your dog’s whole life and does not require any ongoing maintenance once it’s implanted.
Your privacy is protected as the chip itself does not contain any of your contact information, just a unique chip ID number. It’s this number that is then used to access your information from a microchip registration database.
The Process Of Microchipping Your Dog
Microchipping is a minor procedure that only takes a few minutes. Here’s what you need to do:
- Wash your dog. Your dog needs to be washed before he/she can be microchipped. This ensures that the injection site is clean for the vet to implant the chip into your dog.
- Take your dog to the veterinarian. As I mentioned earlier, only a certified implanter is authorised to carry out this procedure. Most vet clinics as well as some councils do provide the service.
- Fill in the paperwork. You will need to fill in the paperwork that is bundled with the microchip so that the chip is registered. Some of the details that you will need to provide include your contact information and a description of your dog. Make sure to make a copy of the registration form if your vet doesn’t provide you with one – just in case you need to refer back later.
- Confirm the microchip’s ID number. Your vet will use a microchip reader to scan the chip in your presence before the implantation takes place. This is meant to ensure that the chip number matches the number indicated on the registration form.
- Get the microchip implanted. The vet will then proceed to inject the implant between your dog’s shoulder blades while you, or an assistant, holds your dog still. Don’t worry, this shouldn’t hurt any more than a regular injection.
- Recheck the microchip. Once implanted, the vet shall use the microchip reader to ensure that the chip is transmitting now that it has been placed under your dog’s skin.
Your vet will perform a routine annual check to ensure that the chip is functioning properly.
Make sure that the information you provide for the microchip registry is always up to date. Update the information when you move, change phone numbers, or change any other contact information. You can update your information through the website “dogsandcatsonline.com.au” or “petaddress.com.au”, or contact your vet for help.