Every year, pets are lost – and without identification, 90 percent of them are never returned to their owners. Proper and permanent identification is the only way to ensure the return of a lost dog or cat to the rightful owner. While collars and ID tags are a good start, they can easily be removed, or the pet can get away from its owner when it is not wearing a collar.
What are Microchips?
A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It only takes seconds to inject, safely and permanently, under your pet’s skin. Microchips can be injected in cats, dogs, horses, birds, exotic animals and fish. Once implanted, the microchip remains inactive until read with a microchip scanner.
When scanning for a microchip, the scanner will send a low frequency radio signal to the chip, providing the power needed for the microchip to send its unique code back to the scanner and positively identify the animal. The ID number is stored permanently inside the animal, under the skin, where it cannot be lost. The microchip ID number will be scanned and traced through a computer database, and your pet will be returned to you.
Pet microchips do not have GPS. Microchips provide a permanent, non-alterable way of identifying pets, without disturbing the animal’s coat or appearance in any way. Plus, a microchip will last a lifetime.
What is a Good Microchip for Dogs
Microchip ID Systems – Offers the BuddyID chip, an ISO compliant microchip and a lifetime warranty. In addition, Microchip ID Systems microchips are administered using a stainless steel, slim and sharp 15 gauge ‘mini’ needle which helps make injection easier on dogs, cats, horses and other pets, no matter the animal’s size. Microchip ID offers the only QR code dog tag that is connected to the microchip registration for instant reunification and to share important details about the pet. The one-time registration fee covers the pet for life.
Non-ISO vs. ISO Microchips
Selecting the right microchip and scanner can be tricky. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best microchip and scanners for your pets.
ISO stands for International Standards Organization, which means microchips labeled ISO are consistent worldwide. Scanners work by reading the frequency of the chip. The ISO frequency is 134.2 kHz. The Non-ISO frequency is 125 kHz or 128 kHz. Universal scanners detect all frequencies and both ISO and Non-ISO microchips. Scanners that are not labeled as universal may not be able to read all chips.
So, for example, if a dog microchipped in the United States has an ISO standard microchip then travels to another country and becomes lost, the ISO standard scanners in the dog’s new location would be able to read the dog’s microchip. If the dog was implanted with a non-ISO microchip and the microchip scanner used was not ISO or universal, the dog’s microchip might not be detected or be read by the scanner.
It is highly recommended that you check the microchip requirements for the country your pet is traveling to at least one month in advance. It is likely that you will need an ISO microchip and a health certificate for your pet’s admission into another country.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pets can be implanted with both ISO and Non-ISO chips. The two different frequencies will not interfere with each other. If your pet does have two chips, make sure to keep the registration up to date for each microchip.
How to Register a Microchip
Sometimes new owners don’t know or forget to register their pet’s microchip. If an unregistered pet is found, the scanning facility may or may not call the microchip company for backtracking information (to the person who implanted the chip – usually the breeder, rescue or veterinarian). If they call for backtracking, the implanter is contacted. The implanter must go through their records to determine which animal received that chip number and who owns the animal. This can be a frustrating, time-consuming chore. Pre-paid registration cards such as those sold by Microchip ID Systems can prevent this from happening.
Pre-paid registration cards can be purchased by the implanter to save on the registration price. The card is given to the pet owner. It contains instructions and a Pre-paid code to cover the entire cost of the registration fee. Pre-paid registration cards can be used with any brand of microchip.
Whichever method is used for the registration, it is an important step to ensure the return of the animal to the proper owner. Time is critical to an animal waiting in a shelter. Make sure to keep your pet’s registration current with all of your contact information.
Can You Scan a Dog’s Microchip with Your Phone?
Unfortunately, using your phone to scan for a dog or cat’s microchip will not work. However, with the development of QR code pet tags, pairing up a QR dog collar tag with your pet’s registered microchip is now an option. The BuddyBadge™ QR pet links to your pet’s microchip registration. If your pet is lost and is wearing the BuddyBadge™ collar tag, the person who finds your pet can use their smartphone to scan the QR code on the dog tag and easily get in touch with you. But having a registered microchip is still important. Dogs and cats are sneaky and can sometimes slip out of their collars. A traditional microchip ensures that identification won’t get lost or buried. The BuddyID Complete Protection System is the best level of protection as it includes the QR code pet tag, the microchip and the lifetime registration. If the pet does lose the tag, you still have the permanent ID – the registered microchip!
How to Use the Microchip to Find a Pet’s Owner if No Tag is Present
- Insert a microchip in the pet.
- Register the pet using the BuddyID™ Microchip Registry.
- Animal is found by a third party.
- The animal is taken to a facility to scan for the microchip.
- The chip number is entered into AAHA website to determine which microchip company holds the microchip registration.
- The microchip company is contacted and will connect the finder to you to arrange to bring your pet home.
Microchips are accepted by the AKC, Canadian Kennel Club, UKC and the USDA. A microchip is a simple, safe and cost-effective way to protect your pet’s well-being. By providing them with this permanent identification, you can help ensure their timely return to you if they ever become lost.
If you have more questions on how to use microchips, call us at 800.786.4751.
Do I Need to Register My Pet’s Microchip: The Importance of Pet Microchip Registration
What if a microchip is not registered? A cat or dog microchip provides life-time identification for pets, but only when the number is registered with a microchip registration center listing you as the owner.
How to Inject a Microchip
Can I put a microchip in my dog myself? Microchipping a dog, cat or other pet doesn't have to be hard. Here are some simple steps to injecting a microchip in your pet.
Cat and Dog Microchips: How Microchipping Can Save a Pet’s Life
What does a microchip do to your pet? What does it mean when a microchip is not registered? What does putting a chip in your pet do? Learn about what is a microchip and how it can help protect your pet.
Is there a national database for pet microchip? How do I register my pets microchip? Don't risk losing your pet because of a forgotten microchip registration. Follow these tips for microchipping your dog, cat or horse.
Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.