Permanent identification is an important step in keeping your pet safe. Collars and tags can fall off. Tattoos can be hidden by hair growth. A microchip is a safe and effective way to provide your contact information in case your pet is lost. A shelter, animal control officer, or veterinary clinic can then scan your pet and contact you for their return.
A microchip is a device that is inserted under your pet’s skin that holds a permanent number. When you register that microchip, you send your information to a microchip company that maintains a database for that number. This means that your pet’s microchip is only as good as the information that you provide. Each time you move or your information changes, you must contact the microchip company to update your information. Additionally, we recommend having a good alternate contact listed on your account so that if the company cannot contact you, they will be able to get in touch with someone else who can contact you.
In rare cases, microchips can stop functioning. We recommend you request that your pet’s chip be scanned at their regularly wellness visits to confirm that it is still working. Occasionally chips will migrate – the most common case is that they migrate down a pet’s front limb. Most chips are equipped with anti-migration technology to prevent this from happening.
Microchips are easy to place, and transient soreness at the injection site is the only side effect seen if they are placed by a trained individual.
Microchips can be required for international travel. Most must be ISO compatible, so if you are expected to travel with your pet, contact the microchip company well in advance to ensure your pet’s chip is an ISO compatible microchip. ISO compatible refers to the frequency of the microchip and the scanner’s ability to read it.
If you have a puppy or kitten, we encourage you to get them microchipped when they are spayed or neutered, if not earlier.
Pet Medical Center uses Datamars microchips that include free registration on Petlink as part of the microchip placement fee:
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) maintains a microchip lookup tool for the United States that can get microchip information from multiple databases. If you are not sure which company your pet’s chip is from, use this tool to get their contact information. In addition, Petmaxx is an international microchip lookup tool available for other countries.