Each chip is programmed with a unique number that is transmitted when the chip is scanned by a specialised microchip reader.
This number is associated with the owner’s details in a national database. Because it is a number rather than actual contact details that the chip transmits, any changes to owner details can be made easily and data is protected.
All vets, council run dog kennels (where strays are taken by a dog warden) and many rescue centres have microchip readers/scanners.
How A Microchip Is Fitted
A pre-loaded sterile syringe allows the microchip to be inserted just under the skin, between the shoulder blades.
Insertion is a quick and straightforward procedure that does not require an anaesthetic.
Insertion can be performed from as young as one day old.
The insertion procedure is no more painful than a usual vaccination injection and rarely bleeds. If there is any bleeding, it can be stopped quickly by applying a little pressure.
Microchips are coated in a special type of glass identical to that used in human pacemakers, so the dog’s body does not try to reject it.
Making Sure A Microchip Stays Effective
Microchips only work if the contact details associated with the unique chip number are kept up to date by owners. This is usually done by simply phoning the microchip database company – check any microchip paperwork or ask your vet for details.
Microchips can sometimes move from where they were originally inserted and (rarely) even come out altogether (usually soon after insertion). Very rarely, they stop working entirely, so regular checks are important. Annual vaccinations are a good time to do this, but ‘chip checks’ can also often be done at the vets without an appointment or charge.
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