How Do Pet Microchips Work and Should My Dog Have One?

labrador at the vet getting a microchip put in

Having a canine companion often feels like having a furry family member. But unlike humans, dogs tend to have the instinct to run or wander off. Unfortunately, a lost dog cannot communicate with anyone. Losing your pooch can be heartbreaking. Fortunately, you can take specific steps to ensure that does not happen, including having your vet microchip your dog.

What Are Pet Microchips?

A pet microchip is a tiny RF identification transponder with a unique ID number. It is about the size of a rice grain. When a shelter or vet scans the chip, it transmits the ID number. It has no moving parts and does not require a battery or power. Veterinarians inject the microchip between a dog’s shoulder blades under the loose skin. The procedure is no more invasive than a standard vaccination.

How Does It Work?

Microchip technology is safe and straightforward, and its brilliance rests on its simplicity. A microchip comprises a few tiny components encased within a slender bioglass capsule. Its sole function is to store a unique identification number to retrieve a pet owner’s contact information. Hence, it differs from a GPS used for tracking.

The unique ID in the chip is useless unless you register it with a pet recovery database. AKC Reunite is an excellent example of a service with access to numerous microchip databases. Once you register your furry friend’s microchip, you should enter all contact information. Including cell phone and landline numbers for you and another family member or friend is best. That will help ensure you do not miss a call telling you someone found your lost dog.

Remember to update your contact information with the registry in case of changes. While this technology is relatively mature, it would help to understand that different microchip databases offer additional services. Some of the best ones provide an alert that broadcasts your pet’s information to a network of volunteers, shelters, and vets in your area.

Should You Get Your Dog Microchipped?

No identification method is perfect. Thus, responsible dog ownership includes using ID tags, leashes, and other identification methods. That said, you should consider microchipping your dog as a backup plan. If you lose your canine companion, this tiny device can significantly increase your odds of reuniting with your beloved pooch.

Is a Microchip Safe for Your Dog?

Experts associate some complications with dog microchips, but these are extremely rare. The risk that your furry friend will develop a complication is very low and far outweighed by the improved chances that you will get your lost dog back if the unthinkable happens.


Pet microchips help keep information about pets and their owners attached to them. So, when you lose track of your pup, there is a way to figure out who they are using a microchip reader. Are you trying to determine whether to have your dog microchipped? If so, it would help to understand more about microchips and the benefits of getting one for your canine friend.

For more on pet microchips, visit Richfield Animal Medical Center at our Richfield, Ohio office. Call 330-659-6606 to schedule an appointment today.