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North Salem: Is Your Dog Microchipped?

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Microchipping has become popular for marking a dog’s uniqueness, and many people believe it will help find a lost dog’s owner.

However, simply planting the chip is not enough. For example, Jamie Scott’s 9-year-old Maltese, Parker, has been missing since August despite his microchip. Scott hired dog trackers and even consulted pet psychics. All agreed the dog had probably been picked up by a car at a certain spot in the road.

“When you microchip a dog, you have to register the owner’s name and address with the chip manufacturer,” explained Debbie Frishman of Somers’ Progressive Animal Hospital. “Unfortunately, many people fail to do that.

“We send the information about the dogs we chip to the manufacturer automatically. Some vets expect the owner to do it, and the owner doesn’t follow up. If the chip company doesn’t have a record of the dog’s owner, the chip doesn’t do you any good at all.”

“Microchips are the size of a pinhead,” said Mark Heidinger of the Ridgefield Animal Hospital in Connecticut. “They don’t hurt the animal. They’re usually made out of silicone or glass, and they’re marked with an identity number and the name of the chip manufacturer. We can read the chip with a scanner, but that’s no help if the chip people don’t have the owner’s name in their database.”

Frishman said many dogs are lost simply because their collars fit improperly. A collar should not be uncomfortably tight, but should be snug enough so that the animal cannot slip out of it. Every animal should wear an ID tag with its name. Every dog should also have a dog license, available from the town clerk, usually at a cost of less than $10.

There are Internet sites where lost and found dogs can be registered. Among them are www.HomeAgain.com, www.PetFinders.com , www.FidoFinder.com and www.missingpet.net , a site sponsored by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Division.

The Daily Voice will gladly alert the community of a lost or found animal. Email kpacchiana@dailyvoice.com .

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