Q:My veterinarian offered to microchip my dog, Gunther. Please tell me more about this. What happens if Gunther gets lost? What if I get a new phone number or move away?
A:Your veterinarian will inject the microchip, an electronic identification device the size of a rice grain, beneath Gunther’s skin, near his shoulder blades. Then you or your veterinarian will register the microchip’s unique number with the microchip registry company.
If Gunther wanders off, the person who finds him will take him to a shelter or veterinarian, where he will be scanned for a microchip. The handheld scanner will display Gunther’s microchip number.
The person who scanned him will contact the microchip registry company, perhaps through the American Animal Hospital Association’s universal pet microchip lookup database, petmicrochiplookup.org.
The microchip registry will provide your contact information so you and Gunther can be reunited.
When your contact information changes, simply update the microchip registry by calling the company or editing the information online.
Gunther should also wear an ID tag with your contact information and any important medical information, for example, that he requires insulin for diabetes or phenobarbital to prevent seizures.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at email@example.com.