The Caring Vet: Pet Microchips, Possible Life Savers


“That microchip might just save your pet’s life!” Although smaller than a grain of rice, a pet microchip can make a huge contribution to your pet’s security. In The Caring Vet Column, Dr. Jeff Werber discusses the benefits of microchip technology.

I have the privilege of working with a number of rescue groups in the Los Angeles area, and last week heard a first-hand story that really hit home. One of our rescue groups was trying to intercept a Chow Chow who was found on the streets, and was being brought in to the shelter. Dr-Jeff-Werber-The-Caring-Vet-ColumnThe dog was in horrendous condition, malnourished, probably around 8 to 10 years of age, and, probably mostly out of fear, very aggressive. Based on the dog’s condition, aggressive tendencies, and the shelter’s sad overcrowding situation, this poor dog didn’t have a chance of being cleaned up, treated, and hopefully, adopted.

As good fortune would have it, the dog was scanned for a microchip during his intake exam, and sure enough, he had one. Well, this changed everything. For one thing, it bought this poor creature a lot more time. You see, if a dog ends up in a shelter and is microchipped, he or she cannot be destroyed—even in kill shelters, until concerted efforts have been made to contact the dog’s last registered owner. In this case, instead of being placed on “death row,” that little microchip, about the size of a tiny grain of rice, played a huge role in saving this dog’s life.

Though the shelter was unable to connect with the dog’s last registered owners, the extra time was enough for the Chow Chow rescue group to complete his adoption procedure. Having regained his confidence, now he is actually a sweet dog in a great foster home.

Please don’t think that an identification tag is all you need to keep your pet safe should he or she ever get away. Collars and tags can fall off, can be taken off, can wear out, and can be modified. There is certainly nothing “permanent” about them. Microchips, on the other hand, are absolutely permanent, are immutable, and, despite a few reports over the past few years, are extremely safe.

If your pet is not currently microchipped, I highly recommend having it done as soon as possible—that chip might just save its life!!!

-Jeff Werber, DVM
Chief Veterinarian for ProSense Pet Products

About the Author: To learn more about Dr. Jeff, visit and Follow along with what’s new with Dr. Jeff on his Facebook page and @drwerber Twitter account, too!

Image credit: Cole123RF / 123RF Stock Photo

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  • The only thing that concerns me about microchips is that too many people lack common sense. Microchips are great, but when a person finds a lost dog, that person needs to know to take the dog to the vet. You might want to attach an additional tag that states something like: “I have a microchip. Please take me to a vet to be scanned.” I wrote an few articles about tracker devices and tips to avoid losing your dog. just use the search bar in my site: Good keywords for this subject would be navigation or lost.