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Check the microchip

Microchips help to electronically identify your pet if they’re ever lost. Dr. Lee explains the importance of checking the microchip once a year or more.

Check the microchip

Q: When our dog, Addie, was microchipped, we were told the microchip provides permanent identification to help reunite her with us if she ever gets lost. Does “permanent” mean there’s nothing more we need to do?

A: National Check the Chip Day arrives on August 15, so this is a good time to review microchip management.

The microchip, a rice-sized electronic device injected beneath the skin over the shoulder blades, is permanent, but you still have a couple of tasks to attend to every year.

First, you need to register Addie’s microchip and keep your contact information current. The chip has a unique number that displays on a scanner held over her shoulders. The number is linked in the microchip database to your name, address and phone number. So, it’s important to update the chip manufacturer’s database when your contact information changes.

Next, ask your veterinarian to scan Addie’s microchip during her wellness visits to be sure it’s still in place and operating properly. Chips can become dislodged or cease transmitting, though both problems are rare.

With any luck, you’ll never have to learn how well microchips reunite lost dogs with their people.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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