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™
Michelson Found Animals FREE lifetime registration
Furreka! FREE lifetime registration
Identipet (Allflex) FREE lifetime registration (GOOGLE RESEARCH THIS ONE!)
24Petwatch Report Lost Pet FREE lifetime registration , $29.95 annual fee for notification services
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
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:
Microchipping of Animals by American Veterinary Medical Association
How do Pet Microchips Work? by Petfinder
Your Pet's Microchip... Is It Registered? Up-To-Date? Here's How To Do Both by Preventative Pet
Do I have to pay for this? Getting out of Pet Microchip Hell by Median Corporation
The Microchip Mess by Swaylove