- First of all, Greyhound tattoos are a great way of identifying our dogs but most of the world has no idea how to read the tatts or where to look them up. So greyhound tatts will help identify your dog from others but may not get a lost dog home. We used to be able to put “adopted by Friends of Greyhounds” on the Greyhound Data pages and a lost dog could be traced back to us. We in turn maintain a database of our adopters. But a number of years ago NGA decided that was too much trouble and stopped the practice. So, next best – Microchipping.
- Microchips were first designed at the request of the American Veterinary Association and their database became AVID microchip system (American Veterinary Identity Database). Avid is just one of many companies in the microchip business these days.
- A microchip is a small transmitter with a numeric code. It is placed in the pad of fat between the dog’s shoulder blades using a syringe. It’s an easy, quick, painless process. The other half of the equation is a chip reader or scanner. Many rescues, vets, and even a few police departments have these scanners. It will show a number (either numeric or alpha numeric) when passed over the area where the chip is implanted.
- You found a dog and now you know the microchip number. Next you have to contact a database company and get the owner’s information. This is the problem. There are multiple companies to call. Most will try to help you in any way they can. If it’s not in their database, they’ll suggest other databases. But if you do a google search, you will find dozens of pet microchip databases and to the best of my knowledge, these companies do not share information. This is where the system fails first.
- And then we hit – “out of sight, out of mind”. You moved two years ago. Did you re-register your dog’s microchip? Can you find the original paperwork so you know where it’s registered? Second fail.
- Yes, Microchips are great but NOT foolproof. Where it does help is when you identify your stolen dog and you can absolutely prove that dog is yours because you have the paperwork for the microchip. Our ear tattoos do that, too.
- A microchip DOES NOT transmit any information. It is inert and will not harm your dog or emit any kind of harmful rays. However it also is no good for identification if there is no scanner available or if it is not properly registered or if the finder doesn’t call the right registration database.
- A microchip will not function as a GPS tracker and you cannot go to the computer to find out where your dog is. That technology is literally around the bend but they are still working out the bugs in it. The size of the unit that goes on the collar makes the collar more likely to snag on brush or be pulled off by the dog. This system will be terrific in the future but not yet.
- But do the microchip. Register it. Keep the paperwork safe. Try to remember to occasionally check if it’s still registered and if the info is current. Hope you don’t need it. Make sure you have other systems of identification, too. When it works, it is awesome. When it doesn’t, you’ll never know.