Microchipping your pets; what they don’t tell you.
Microchipping your dog or cat is a wise decision and can make all the difference in being reunited should your pet become lost.
The process of chipping your dog or cat is a simple, quick and no more painful than getting a vaccination shot.
The microchip itself is usually about 12mm in length and roughly the size of a grain of rice; It’s made of a bio compatible glass that the animal’s body will accept. The encased chip itself is passive, meaning it’s not transmitting anything and has no internal power source.
The design of the chip can receive power inductively by means of an electromagnetic field generated by the scanner designed to read the microchip. Both the chip and scanner must be within a few inches to work, only then will the scanner be able to receive the preprogrammed ID assigned to the microchip.
It’s this preprogrammed ID number that you would then need to register with an online animal registry along with your contact information.
So what exactly is it that we don’t know?
Not All Scanners Can Read All Microchips:
It is possible to scan a lost dog that is registered and not pick up the ID of the chip. A universal scanner should be used.
Microchips are designed to react when a specific frequency is received from the scanner. If your dog has a chip from one manufacture and the scanner is using a frequency designed for another, the person operating the scanner will never know the dog has been chipped.
Even if a universal scanner is used and a chip from a competing manufacture is found, the scanner may not be able to read all the info. At this point a scanner for the specific brand of microchip is needed. It’s important that the person scanning the animal understands this.
It’s also important that when checking the standard implant location they also scan a larger area of the animal on the off chance the chip migrated. The animals connective tissue will keep a chip in place but one never knows for certain and a more thorough scan takes no time at all.
In the U.S.A, manufactures of animal microchips use 125 kHz frequency, 128 kHz and 134.2 kHz. The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) recommends chips using the 134.2 khz frequency. This frequency is the ISO standard and is used worldwide.
Brand of Microchip:
If you’re having your vet microchip your pet, you may want to find out before hand what brand chip is being used. Part of the information encoded in the chip reveals the manufacture.
When it’s time to register your dog or cat’s chip number in an online registry, you will want to know the brand/manufacturer of the chip.
When someone scans a lost pet and sees the brand of microchip, this can help determine what registry they contact first, and the likelihood of the pet being reunited with its family.
A True Universal Pet Registry Doesn’t Exist (yet):
The closest thing to a universal registry may be the American Animal Hospital Association ( AAHA) Pet Microchip Lookup Tool found here… PetMicroChipLookUp.org. Participating pet recovery services or the manufacturers of the microchips can choose to share their database or not. Most do. There is still no true universal pet registry as of 2020.
If a lost pet is scanned and the ID called in to PetMicroChipLookUp.org, they are likely to cross reference the microchip ID with the participating recovery services and or manufacturers. This greatly improves the odds of finding the families contact information for the lost pet. Again, it is dependent on the person scanning the lost animal to make contact with the right people or accessing the right database.
Despite the possible issues with scanning microchips and the registry services, it still offers a good chance to reunite a lost pet with their family. We still need to register our pets with the city or county so that we have a current ID tag for the animals collar, as well as having current pictures and descriptions.
Doing all of this gives our pets the best chance of getting home should they ever get lost.
Companies participating with PetMicroChipLookUp.org
- 24PetWatch Pet Protection Services
- 911PetChip & Free Pet Chip Registry
- ACA MARRS
- AKC Reunite
- BC Pet Registry
- BeKind PetFind
- Found Animals
- Homeward Bound Pet
- Microchip I.D. Solutions
- Microchip ID Systems, Inc.
- Nanochip ID Inc.
- National Animal Identification Center
- Save This Life
- SmartTag Microchip
The most common microchip brands: