We were reminded this weekend that we must stay alert and not take our dog's safety for granted.
Sky went to Dogfest with us and had a good time meeting people and other dogs. We stopped at almost every tent and checked out whatever the people there were selling or advocating or teaching.
At one tent there was a vet tech from one of the local vet offices (not ours) and she was teaching about microchips for identification. We told her that all our dogs were chipped when they were puppies. I saw a scanner on her table so I asked her to check Sky's chip to be sure it was reading well.
She stepped out and ran the scanner over Sky's back, but nothing happened. She ran it all over him from side to side and up and down from his head to his tail and still she got no reading.
She was using a scanner that looked like this, but it got no reading from his chip. When we left Dogfest, we went directly to our vet's office and asked the girls to scan him. They did, using two different scanners and nothing registered.
All our puppies were microchipped when they were eight weeks old and the older dogs were done when they were puppies.A tiny chip the size of a grain of rice was implanted between their shoulder blades. The chip has a rough edge that grips onto the muscle and each chip has a unique number that can be read with a scanner.
There are a couple of chips available. Home Again is one and Avid is the one we use. After implantation I registered each number with both Avid and Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) run by the AKC. Each year at their annual checkup I have the chips scanned to be sure they're reading correctly.
Now, suddenly Sky seemed to be unprotected. We're very careful with our dogs. They run loose in our fenced in yard but at all other times they're leashed when outside. Still we all know that unforeseen things happen. Someone might leave a door unlatched, or a gate open. Perhaps a leash might break or simply slip out of a hand. Dogs get loose and dogs get lost. We all know that no matter how careful we are, it can happen to us.
Today we took all our microchip certificates and all out dogs to see Dr B. He scanned everyone. We are very happy to report that all the chips are reading perfectly. The reason Sky's chip wasn't reading the other day was technician error. It seems that the scanner has to be held a certain way in order to locate the chip and register the number. If held flat against the dog, it doesn't work. It needs to be held at an angle.
This in itself is sort of scary. We need to make sure that the people who work at the shelters, including volunteers know how to use the scanner correctly. Those of you who volunteer your time at your local shelter, mention to whoever is in charge that it would be a good idea to have a refresher lesson on how to use the scanner correctly. It could mean life or death for some animals.
Of course it's good to have an ID tag on your animal, too. We all know though that dogs are very good at losing their tags and collars can come undone or be removed. A microchip is there to stay.Don't take chances with your pet's safety. Get them an ID tag and have them microchipped. It doesn't hurt and can help them get back home if they get lost. Be sure to register the chip with one or more registry who will notify you if your animal is found and don't forget to have the chip checked every time you visit the vet. Ask the workers at the local shelters if they have lessons on how to use a scanner and if not make calls to the managers.
It's the life and safety of your pet, be proactive.