Microchipping & Labrador Puppies
Should You Microchip Your New Labrador Puppy?
Thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters and pounds across the country each month. Many of these animals are someone's beloved pets that have wandered off, become lost or even stolen. Many pet owners use collars and ID tags to help ensure that if their dog does wander off, it can be identified and returned home. Unfortunately, collars and tags can easily fall off. That is why many breeders, animal shelters and veterinarians recommend microchips as a permanent ID system for dogs.
Farmers have been using external microchips in the form of ear tags on cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and other livestock for years, and horse owners have started favoring implanted microchips over brands and tattoos as well. In recent years, many breeders, shelters and vets have been using microchips in all puppies and dogs.
How does it work?
The chip is a tiny Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip just a little bigger than a grain of rice that is encased in a special type of glass that is compatible with living tissue, so that the body doesn't reject it. It is injected in the tissue between the dog's shoulder blades, where it will remain for the rest of the dog's life. The chips require no battery or power source and typically last about 25 years, so replacement is not necessary. Obviously, this is a much more reliable system than collars and tags!
The important thing to remember with microchipped dogs is that you must register or activate the chip with the company that maintains the owner database when you ge the dog. This is a one-time activation that may have a small fee, or may be included in the puchase or adoption price of the dog. It is also important to update the information if you move, change your phone number or if the dog is sold or given away.
Most microchips used in the US can all be read by universal chip readers, and most, if not all, animal shelters and veterinarians have these readers, so when a stray or lost dog is brought in, they can read the chip and determine the owners' contact information. Thankfully, this is starting to reduce the number of dogs in shelters and pounds.
When Should You Microchip Your Labrador Retriever?
While chips can be injected at any age, most breeders do it between five and eight weeks of age. Even if you are adopting an adult dog, it is a good idea to have him or her microchipped as soon as possible. Many animal shelters routinely chip all of the animals when they are adopted as well.
The microchips are tiny and the injection is barely even felt by the dog – it is much the same as a routine vaccination. The chips do sometimes migrate away from the original injection site, often ending up near one of the shoulder blades. This is quite normal, and not a cause of concern, as it is standard procedure to scan the entire dog when looking for a chip.
Given the reliability and permanence of internal microchips, there is really no reason not to have one injected in your Labrador puppy or adult Lab. The peace of mind of knowing that if your dog ever gets lost that it can so easily be returned to you, rather than being euthanized or adopted out by an animal shelter is worth it's weight in gold!