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Find Bobo's Microchip Quagmire Lesson

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

IT'S A MESS! 😵❌ Maybe you think like we did? We thought, "Bobo, our lost Persian cat, has a microchip. Soon we'll be contacted to come get Bobo from a vet or shelter/rescue!" We were WRONG!


If you don't know any better, you would think that you have to register your pet's microchip EVERYWHERE! That could cost you almost $500. You only need to register your pet in ONE brand that, ideally your microchip manufacturer's registration and hopefully, it is one that AHAA.org searches. You can also try a free registry. There are always exceptions, but most vets and shelters/rescues use this tool. Read on about the industry...


The microchip industry is a confusing quagmire of registries and technologies to ensure that your lost pet will be identified and possibly returned. Only possibly, because It is up to a finder to bring in your pet to have the chip read and then once read you are at the mercy of a diligent veterinarian or shelter/rescue to verify that the chipped pet has an owner. Only registries will covered in this blog, technologies is another element that causes confusion.


The steps we learned to manage the microchip from a pre-, during, post-search process:

  • Step 1 - Microchip your pet - do this now, before your pet is lost!

  • Step 2 - Know your number and register your microchip. It's best to register with your microchip manufacturer, but free is also available! Most people fail on Step 2.

  • Step 3 - If your pet is lost: notify your microchip vendor immediately!

  • Step 4a - If your pet is lost: call, visit, and online search shelters/rescues

  • Step 4b - If your pet is lost: call, visit, and fax veterinarians with your lost pet info

  • Step 5 - Check your microchip registration(s) and keep the information up to date

  • Step 6 - Ask your vet to read your pet's microchip during the yearly checkup

What to know about microchips:

  • A microchip is NOT a GPS - pet microchips only contains data and cannot be used to locate your lost pet. A microchip stores the chip number and not a locator for your pet

  • You may not be automatically contacted - if your pet's finder takes your lost pet to a vet or shelter/rescue to read your pet's microchip, you may not be automatically contacted. The vet or shelter/rescue may not research the chip number. It may be passed along to the finder, who will have to do the research. That's why Step 2 is so important!

  • There is ONLY 1 FREE universal lookup database - this database will only confirm your pet's microchip is registered and nothing else: AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. All other lookup services require paid registration to include your microchip listing in their database, unless it was included with the you're pet's initial microchip

  • There is NO universal registry - there are many microchip brands and registries; the databases are not integrated and many ask for a 1-time lifetime registration fee or an annual fee to be listed and perhaps additional costs for notification services. Some vendors allow free registration without notification services. Registration my be included in your pet's new microchip purchase

  • Only register microchip with 1 registry - you will only need to register your microchip with your microchip brand's registry or a free registry. Registration is to ensure that you're the owner and your contact information is current for when your pet is found. Multiple registrations may cause veterinarians and shelters/rescues to do additional research to validate there aren't 2 or more people claiming the same pet.

  • Some microchips can migrate - microchips are typically placed between the pet's shoulder blades. It is possible that the chip could dislodge and migrate throughout the pet's body. Our local shelter shared with us that they have found microchips in tails, paws, and sides of pets. That's why Step 6 is so important!

Microchip Brands pinged by the FREE AAHA lookup (20 brands as of 7/20/2019):


24 PET WATCH™, 911PetChip™, ACA MARRS, AKC Renuite™, BC Pet Registry, BeKind PetFind, BuddyID™, EIDAP, Found Animals, Furreka!, Home Again ®, Homeward Bound Pet, InfoPET, nanoCHIP, National Animal Identification Center, PetKey, PetLink, Petstablishied, Save This Life, SmartTag (not a microchip)


Other Microchip Brands (10 brands, non-exhaustive search, there could be more!):


Identipet (ALLFLEX®), AVID™, Crystal Tag™, Datamars™, Destron Fearing™, Digital Angel®, ResQ®, Schering Plough™


FREE registries:

PAID registries:

These are independent databases (don't be fooled by the "universal" or "national" advertising, many require paid registration to list your pet to be "found" in their OWN database, which will otherwise indicate your pet is not registered, when in fact it may be!)

  • ACA MARRS $19.95 lifetime registration, includes monitoring services

  • AKC Reunite $17.50 lifetime registration, $15 services

  • AVID $19.95 first pet lifetime "standard", $29.95 "premium" registration

  • BC Pet Registry $12 annual registration, $45 lifetime registration, includes services

  • BeKind PetFind $24.95 first pet lifetime registration, includes services

  • BuddyID $24.95 lifetime registration, includes services

  • Crystal Tag NO registration services

  • Datamars NO registration services. Uses PetLink.net

  • Destron Fearing NO registration services. Uses HomeAgain Microchip

  • Digital Angel NO registration services

  • EIDAP $19.95CAD for out of CA or non EIDAP chip, lifetime registration

  • FetchID $19.99 annual registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • HomeAgain Microchip $19.99 lifetime registration, $19.99 annual fee for services

  • Homeward Bound Pet $20.00 lifetime registration, services

  • Info Pet $25.00 lifetime registration, no services

  • nanoCHIP $19.99 annual registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • National Animal Identification Center $15 lifetime registration

  • PetKey $19.99 annual registration, $45 lifetime registration, services

  • PetLink.net $19.99 lifetime registration, no services

  • PETMAXX $19.99 lifetime registration Petlink.net, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • Petstablishied $17.99 lifetime registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • Petchip.info $19.99 lifetime registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • Pet Key $19.99 lifetime registration, $19.99 annual fee for services, FREE lost & found

  • Pet Microchip Registration $17.95 lifetime registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • ResQ NO registration services

  • Save This Life $19.99 lifetime registration, you must pay to be listed in their "national" database search

  • Schering Plough NO registration services. Uses HomeAgain Microchip

Microchip reference articles:

  1. Microchipping of Animals by American Veterinary Medical Association

  2. How do Pet Microchips Work? by Petfinder

  3. Your Pet's Microchip... Is It Registered? Up-To-Date? Here's How To Do Both by Preventative Pet

  4. Do I have to pay for this? Getting out of Pet Microchip Hell by Median Corporation

  5. The Microchip Mess by Swaylove



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