What is a dog microchip implant?
A microchip for a dog, or sometimes called minichip, is a very small electronic device (about the size of a grain of rice!), typically encased in biocompatible, hardened glass.
Each tiny microchip is encoded with a unique number that relates to dog and owner's data in a central database. The tiny unit is injected with a hypodermic needle just below the skin between the shoulder blades of the dog (or any pet really).
I am sure, at some point humans will routinely get a microchip implant, and I find this thought very disturbing. Probably the first country will be the UK (England and Wales to be precise), as apparently UK citizens don't even notice how much some control freaks in every of their successively elected governments are trying to control their lives in every aspect, and every location! George Orwell's '1984' Big Brother is Watching You Everywhere apocalypse has for a long time been reality in the UK: CCTV is watching your every step! The people who are responsible are sick, the people who accept that are crazy.
Glad I told you.
Does Micro-chipping hurt?
You may be pleased to know: No, implanting this tiny unit under the skin between the shoulder blades apparently does not hurt the dog. Some dogs don't even notice the moment the implant is actually made.
The implant is made at a spot where there are no nerves affected. The injection of the unit causes just a little pinch, like a routine shot, rather than any serious pain. Accordingly, normally no anesthetic is being given, and this is to your benefit: Anesthetics can have severe side effects in dogs, so do
not allow your vet to subject your dog to anesthetics for this routine treatment! Is Micro-chipping safe?
If done professionally (at a clinic or by an experienced vet), then the unit is biocompatible, sterile, non-allergenic and non-mutagenic. As such it is not being attacked by the dog's immune system and does not induce cell mutations.
The dog will live with this tiny unit under the skin just like it wasn't implanted at all. The implant will neither affect the quality of life of your dog, nor will it affect its life expectancy.
What does Micro-chipping cost?
pet microchip and the implanter (syringe) are actually cheap: The total cost of each chip including the implanter is under $5!
Obviously, the amount the clinic or vet charges will totally depend on
where you get the implant done:
Say, in metropolitan areas (in and around big, vibrant cities with higher cost of living, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, etc) this may cost $65 or more. But in some remote, rural areas where income levels are comparatively low, this may be as cheap as $25.
not agree to pay a yearly 'maintenance fee' for keeping dog and owner's data up-to-date in the database. There is no need, there are better providers who guarantee life-long support - and keeping your data up-to-date, this remains your responsibility anyway. Where can you get it done?
Ad Network: Dogs, Health, Food, Exercise, Training, Protection
Great ways to locate a
licensed clinic or vet in your geography:
Call your local GSD Rescue Center. Easy here: We show
your local GSD Rescue Centers in the GEO-targeted 'widget' on the left right side on all related pages, indeed! Check out the pages under "Sources", for example this is a great page to be reminded of. Tell them you are interested in getting your dog micro-chipped
to prevent stray dogs and associated problems in your neighborhood. If you tell them this, they will want to help you, and they will tell you all they know about it. Call your
local Animal Shelter, and tell them the same Look in your Yellow Pages or, these days, simply type 'microchip dog' followed by your town/region, into Google and see what/who comes up!
Ask your vet during the next visit (but note that only
licensed vets are permitted to implant a microchip or minichip)
It may also help to simply
mention the topic to other dog owners you know: friends, strangers in the 'dog park', fellow members in the dog training course, the dog trainer or dog walker, etc.
Now on to the Pros and Cons!
Pros and Cons of Micro-chipping your dog
The microchip is
not a GPS locator, hence it cannot track the location of your dog - although such devices are available too: Until recently the best unit was Garmin GTU 10 GPS Tracking however Garmin discontinued it (this market is evolving fast, currently I cannot suggest any newer unit). Note that even the smallest units must not be implanted due to health risks relating to the transmitter! The microchip or minichip will only come to aid when your GSD is found and taken to a shelter, clinic or vet, where with the help of a
scanner and an up-to-date database entry your dog can be traced back to you. Therefore it is crucial that you keep your phone number and/or other contact data up-to-date with your chosen microchip's registry - which is the link between the microchip's ID and you.
Apparently, over 40% of pets that
are microchipped cannot be found in any pet registry database! - That's why you should now consider to register your GSD with as many databases as you find sensible, and certainly with free ones like the Free Pet Chip Registry if you live in the USA (like most of our members and visitors), or an international counterpart if you live elsewhere (Google 'free pet registry' followed by your country). Standardisation is still an issue, for both the pet microchips and the scanners: For example, the majority of pet microchips in the USA apparently still send their data on the 125 kHz frequency, while the ISO norm 11784/85 for pet microchips
globally is the 134.2 kHz frequency (and a 15 digit number code). Accordingly, if the scanner in say the animal shelter that got your dog can't read the chip's data, then there is a chance that your lost GSD may not get re-united with you - although it has a microchip implant!
However, this last point is becoming less of a problem: The modern
universal scanner can read all frequencies and detect all encrypted chips (see further below why this is crucial!). And, in 2006 alone, Crystal Import, the U.S. distributor of the Swiss Datamars, donated 20,000 such universal scanners to shelters and veterinary hospitals across the USA!
get it done professionally, in a sterile environment, and using an established, safe microchip unit, then there is no possibility for the dog to develop any ailment due to the microchip implant.
Anecdotal evidence about dogs developing cancer or other diseases
after an implant are spread by researchers and dog owners who cannot differentiate between coincidence and correlation: Yes, their dog got cancer or another disorder, or the dog suffered from immobility, lethargy or the like, but it would have done so regardless of the microchip implant - the coincidence was unrelated to the implant.
However, if the procedure is
not done professionally, or if the microchip is encapsulated in an allergenic or mutagenic material, then there may well be a chance for the dog to later develop an ailment because of the microchip implant.
That's why we stressed above: If you get it done,
get it done professionally, in a sterile environment, and using an established, safe microchip unit.
Now the Pros
The procedure of
microchipping a dog is very simple. Less invasive than say dental work on your dog, or any real surgery. Typically there is no bleeding when a dog gets a microchip implant, since it is injected just below the skin. A
dog microchip is an established device that has lost its teething troubles. You can see here how a pet microchip works. Once implanted, the microchip need not be replaced or changed, it is designed to last a lifetime. Also, the unit does
not contain a battery that would need to be recharged. In case you ever lose your dog, whether German Shepherd or any other dog really,
not having a microchip will be your regret for life. So, don't take that chance if your dog is precious to you! There are many people who have benefited from the use of this rather new technology (about 20 years old). You can
read their stories and then decide what you find is the best for you and your precious German Shepherd. A microchip implant is not expensive at all, considering the great benefits it brings to your family, including your GSD.
With a microchip implant in your GSD, you take responsibility for your dog, making sure that your GSD is an established and safe part of the society.
The risk of a
successful dog theft is greatly reduced when your dog has a microchip implant. Although initially your dog may still get stolen with the same likelihood, your chance to get your dog back is much greater: A vet may scan the code during a future visit, and the microchip cannot easily be removed. Even the risk of an
attempted dog theft can be greatly reduced: Don't give mischievous people an easy opportunity to steal your German Shepherd and sell him or her on! To prevent this, you need to
make it visible and clear on the dog's collar that your dog is microchipped. Professional dog thieves then instantly know that they have no chance that their theft will not be discovered at some point: More and more vets routinely hold an ID scanner at a dog's back to see if it has a record.
The above makes clear that
it is best to get your new , because puppy thefts are more likely, and puppies also get lost much more often than adult dogs. puppy micro-chipped straight away
The whole point of
micro-chipping a German Shepherd is to keep you and your German Shepherd together, no matter what comes. So, take the time to seriously consider to get your GSD microchipped, and to keep your data up-to-date with several registries. Make a point that you care for your dog.
Household Names for Dog Micro-chipping
Here are the major brands and organisations that are well-known to provide
microchips for dogs, and/or the related pet recovery services:
AKC uses AKCCAR database
24PetWatch - Lost Pet Recovery Service; sensible!
AVID uses PETtrac database; don't get this!
Banfield uses PetWare database; - but sensible! don't get both chips implanted, today the 134.2 kHz chip is totally sufficient
Bayer Crystal Import / Datamars (Datamars is the Swiss manufacturer, Crystal Import the US distributor);
Digital Angel; don't get this!
HomeAgain uses its own database; don't get this! Schering Plough
Destron Fearing; markets as HomeAgain in the USA; LifeChip in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan; Petnet in Canada; Identipet in South Africa; Identichip in the UK; and Indexel in Europe (sorry, no info about other nations/regions) -
cannot be read by all scanners, so don't get this! ResQ
Our note behind some of these companies (
, or don't get this ) reflects some simple facts only: sensible
The companies with the note
prepare their chips with don't get this encryption technology, and/or use a non-standard chip, and/or use a proprietary database - to ensure that their chips can only be read by their own scanners.
This is pure greed for profit, spurning the legitimate interest of dog owners to be re-united with their beloved pets
regardless of the technology used. Such companies should never be rewarded with a purchase of their products (whether directly or indirectly through your vet), it wouldn't be sensible.
Conversely, the organisations with the note
apparently implant microchips that can be read sensible worldwide and by any scanner.
Even if you don't plan to ever travel internationally with your dog, it is not uncommon that precious dogs being stolen
end up abroad. This is particularly the case with German Shepherds that are locally known to be of superior pedigree and/or well-trained! International Travel
Apparently some border control directives state: ALL pets should be scanned for a microchip prior to travel. If border officials cannot scan a pet's microchip, the pet will be held in quarantine or returned to the departure country at the expense of the owner.
If the pet has an older 9 or 10 digit microchip [like from AVID!], the pet will either have to be re-microchipped or the pet owner has to carry their own microchip scanner.
* (see note at the bottom) Checklist
In the USA alone, in an average year about 10 million(!)
pets are lost (that's more than 5% annually), and less than 25 percent of those pets are reunited with their human families! Less than 5% of America's 164 million pets have a microchip - while 25% of pets in the UK are microchipped
The first step of course is to give your GSD a durable,
stay-on dog tag, like the custom-engraved collar tag from LuckyPet; the next step is to consider getting a dog microchip implant
Microchipping your German Shepherd can cost as little as $25 Do NOT try to further save money here, say by buying a kit like
this and attempting self-administration! The
benefits of microchipping your dog far outweigh any potential drawbacks: A pet microchip implant can make the difference between getting your GSD back when lost, and it being given to an animal shelter or, worse, a high-kill kennel! Note that more pets
die each year as a result from being lost than from all diseases combined! Once your GSD got a microchip implant, the crucial point is that you register with as many (free) databases is you find sensible,
and that you keep your contact details with them up-to-date Even if you don't plan to ever take your GSD abroad, make sure that you get an ISO 11784/85 compliant microchip (or 'minichip') that can be read by the
universal scanner - because
it uses the 15 digit code
it is not encrypted (like eg the proprietary AVID chip)
and it responds to the meanwhile standardized 134.2 kHz pet radio frequency identification (RFID)
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