I have many friends who are guide dog users that love to travel. One of my friends traveled to Singapore, and my other friend traveled with her guide to Israel. One thing about traveling out of the country with a guide dog is that taking a guide dog out of the country is, for the most part, same as taking a pet to another country. A guide dog must be updated on vaccinations and, in some countries, must go through a quarantined process. All of this documentation can be time-consuming. Also, a guide dog must have a microchip.
This is one reason why guide dog owners might microchip their guide dogs. For one thing, it is free if a guide dog owner chooses to microchip his or her dog through the school. At least, that’s how it is for the Seeing Eye. I don’t know how other schools handle this. If a guide dog owner does not microchip their dog while in training with the dog, and then they suddenly find out they have the opportunity to travel to another country, they will have to microchip their dog through their veterinarian which, even though it is not overly expensive, will cost them. I’m not planning to leave the country any time soon, but if I for some reason decide I will, Joba’s microchip is in and taken care of. Traveling, however, is not the only reason to microchip a dog.
Has your dog ever ran away? A microchip can help. A microchip is implanted in between the dog’s shoulder blades and is only the size of a grain of rice. If a person finds your dog, they can take it to animal control or any shelter and have the microchip scanned to find information about the dog and his/her owner. If my dog would get out or wonder off, I would feel a sense of security knowing that he can be returned safely to me. Traveling and being able to find your dog are the most important reasons for getting your dog microchipped. However, keep in mind that there are other means to finding your dog. There are organizations in Lincoln who can also help you if your dog gets lost. In fact, if your dog runs off, definitely consider getting in touch with these organizations. They will be on the lookout. Also, keep in mind that the microchip is not a tracking device. Don’t allow a microchip to be considered an invisible, extra-long leash for your dog. If your dog wanders off, you can’t look for the number and find the dog. The dog must be found. So, keep your dogs fenced in if they are outside alone. Sources say that, if dogs were spayed and neutered along with being microchipped, we wouldn’t have such a problem with pet overpopulation. In fact, if an abandoned dog was microchipped, the owner who abandoned the dog could be located.
I talked today about just a couple of the advantages of having a dog microchipped and why my guide dog has one. But I’d like to talk now about some of the disadvantages of a microchip. Like anything in this world, microchipping can carry risks. Have you ever heard of a migrating chip? The microchip is implanted between the dog’s shoulder blades, but it is possible for the microchip to move. This moving of the microchip could cause problems such as tumors. If you choose to microchip your dog, it is important to check it at least once a week or every other week. You can check it by touching the part between the shoulder blades where it was injected. You are supposed to be able to feel it under the skin. Also, you can take your dog to the vet to have it scanned and to make sure it’s still in the same place where it was injected.
Let’s talk now about the injection process. There are differences in opinion about the injection and if it is painful for the dog. The needle is huge. I don’t know, but if it were me, I’m not sure I’d want someone sticking a huge needle in my skin. Of course, just the thought of needles make me feel faint. While some say it is painful, others say it is not. I have to say that I was with Joba when he was microchipped, and he didn’t make a sound or act like he was in pain, but that could be different for each dog. Joba’s a tough boy.
So, given what I’ve told you today, is it necessary to microchip your dog? While it has its risks and benefits, microchipping is entirely up to you. Let me give you some pointers on how to make that decision. First, if you have a dog that is disobedient, doesn’t respond to his or her name, and frequently escapes your yard, microchipping would be a good idea. If you adopt a dog from a humane society or other shelter, chances are the dog is already microchipped, so you don’t have to worry about it. Now, if your dog is very well-trained and obedient, has good recall, meaning that he or she will come right away when called, no matter what they are doing, a microchip is probably not necessary. This is especially true if your dog is a house dog and you never let your dog off leash when outside the house. However, keep in mind that there is always that chance of your pet escaping, and you want to feel assured that your dog will return to you. While there are risks, these risks are for the most part pretty scarce. So, if the benefits outweigh the risks, why not microchip your dog?