Almost Home Foster Kennels

Dianne Snater
Almost Home Foster
MN LIcense #132328

Should One Microchip Their Pets? Pros and Cons of Microchipping


At first, microchipping your dog may seem like a no-brainer. It’s one of the best ways to make sure that if your four-legged best friend makes a break for it, he returns as quickly and safely as possible.

You are probably well aware of the growing popularity of microchips, but like any concerned parent, you want to know more before you make any decisions.

Microchipping can be a big choice to make, but it may not be for everyone. So, to help you become more informed, we have come up with the pros and cons of microchipping your dog.

How Microchips Work

Microchips are tiny, but packed inside these rice-sized capsules is everything needed to transmit your pet’s identification over radio frequencies. Everything is contained in a sleeve of bioglass, a material that is safe to use not just on animals, but humans as well.

Microchips are implanted in the skin under the dog’s shoulder blades. While this simple procedure can be performed at a veterinarian clinic, many shelters also offer this service at a reduced cost.[2]

After the chip is inserted, a scanner checks to make sure the microchip works. The scanner uses a particular frequency of radio waves that turn on the chip, then sends a signal to it.[3]

Each microchip has a unique number, and when the scanner sends that first signal, it receives the chip’s ID. Your contact information, which matches your dog’s chip, is then sent to a registry.[4]

Pros of Microchipping

Microchipping has several advantages and can help give you better peace of mind about your dog’s safety. As long as you have access to the internet and your dog’s ID number, you can reach the registry database 24/7 from anywhere in the country.

  • Microchips make it extremely easy for shelters, animal control, and vets to identify lost dogs.[5]
  • They can last as long as 25 years, which means you never have to replace them.[6]
  • Implanting the chip can be done quickly, and unlike tattoos, you don’t need to struggle to hold your dog still or shave him to see it.[7]
  • Depending on the type of chip you purchased, you could be eligible for compensation in case your dog is hurt.

Cons of Microchipping

Like anything else, microchipping isn’t a perfect process, and it does have its drawbacks.

  • Microchips run the risk of “traveling” in your dog, so you may need to scan the entirety of your pet’s shoulder to find it.[9]
  • While this process is fast, like any injection, it’s still painful for your pup. Some veterinarians try to fix this by applying a local anesthetic.[10]
  • Some microchips will only work with scanners made by the same company. While there are scanners that can work with a variety of microchip brands, it may not work with older chips. Many veterinary clinics have one scanner, which could make it difficult to ID your pet.[11]

Although microchipping can be beneficial if your dog is found by a stranger, it does nothing to help if your dog is lost in the woods or elsewhere. Microchips don’t emit any GPS or radio signals, so your pet can’t be found remotely. Microchips only help locate your pet if someone turns them in to a local vet or shelter.

There are some health concerns when it comes to microchipping your dog. Some worry about the risk rejection after introducing a foreign object into your pet.

Additionally, between 1996 and 2006, research showed that between .8 and 10.2 percent of microchipped animals experienced the growth of malignant tumors in the implant area.[12]

Bottom Line

Microchipping, while a great way to keep your pooch safe, isn’t a perfect solution and does have its disadvantages.

You know your dog best, and it’s up to you to assess the likelihood of him running away or escaping. If your pet spends most of his time indoors and only goes outside when he’s on a leash, you may decide the cons of microchipping aren’t worth the benefits.

Whether you decide to microchip your dog or not, make sure your pet has some form of ID on his collar and that the information on it is up-to-date.















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