A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted beneath your pet’s skin. It contains a unique number used to identify the animal. This number links to your contact information in an online registry that allows shelters, clinics, veterinarians, and humane organizations to contact you if your lost pet is found. The microchip itself does not store your contact information.
It is crucial that when you adopt/rescue a pet that has already been microchipped that you ask the previous owner, shelter or breeder how to access and update the contact information so that when or if you pet does get lost its YOUR contact info that is connected to the chip.
We have had a number of clients that have found out after the fact that while their pet was chipped this info had never been given to them and the chip was not registered with a company. So make sure you include questions like these in your interview process.
To check and see if your chip is registered go to http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/
What are the most common microchip brands and how can I contact them so I can update my contact information or register?
Here are some answers to other commonly asked questions:
What’s the difference between a microchip and a GPS or LoJack?
A microchip is not a GPS or tracking device. You cannot get information on a lost pet’s location directly from the microchip. It is only when your lost pet is found, scanned, and searched in an online registry that someone will be able to contact you. This is why it is critical to keep your contact information current in an online microchip registry.
My pet already has an ID tag. Do I also need to microchip?
Yes! Your pet should always have a collar with up-to-date license and identification tags. However, when collars and tags are damaged or lost, the microchip is your pet’s only form of permanent identification.
How much does a microchip cost?
The price of microchipping services can vary from $10 to $75. Some providers also offer free microchipping when your pet is spayed or neutered. Call facilities in your area for pricing details. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, Adopt & Shop and SNPLA offer low-cost microchipping.
Does a microchip hurt?
Implanting a microchip is essentially the same as administering a vaccine. While your pet may feel a little pinch, any pain should be over very quickly. No anesthesia is required. Once the microchip has been inserted, your pet won’t even know it’s there.
What is a microchip frequency?
A microchip frequency refers to the type of signal emitted by a scanner in order to activate and read the microchip. There are three microchip frequencies in the United States: 125 kHz, 128 kHz, and 134.2 kHz. 134.2 kHz is the ISO (International Standards Organization) standard and is the primary frequency used worldwide. The AVMA also recommends the 134.2 kHz frequency.
Does it matter what type of scanner is used to read a microchip?
It is essential that any organization scanning animals uses a universal scanner in order to read all three microchip frequencies distributed in the United States. Any shelter, rescue group, clinic, veterinarian, or humane organization not using a universal scanner will miss microchips, making it harder for lost pets to reunite with their families. For information on low-cost universal scanners, contact us.