June is National Pet Microchipping Month, so we wanted to provide information not only to make sure pets get microchipped, but to help you understand pet microchipping and why it is important.  A study was conducted with 7,704 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time (Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009).  The microchipped pets that did not find their owners were mostly because of incorrect or no information on the database which we’ll get to later.

Our pets are furry little family members, and it would be devastating to lose them.  This is where microchipping comes in, a device used to find you if they get out and become lost.  We will take a glimpse at what microchipping is, and most importantly, how it works.


What Is A Microchip?

A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery—it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radiowaves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner which displays the number on the screen. The microchip itself is also called a transponder.  Microchip frequencies, the frequency of the radiowave given off by the scanner, used in the US include 125, 128 and 134.2 KiloHertz.


A microchip is not a GPS device, and cannot actually locate your pet.  It holds a number for a veterinarian or shelter to identify using a scanner.  In 1996, the ISO (International Standards Organization) approved and recommended a standard for microchips of a 134.2 kHz frequency, using a forward and backward universal scanning device.  Learning the equipment used, helps to understand pet microchipping.


How Microchipping Works

The microchip is permanently injected under the skin, between the animal’s shoulder blades, with a small hypodermic needle.  It is a simple procedure that does not require anesthesia and may produce a slight amount of blood at the injection site.

Once implanted, the owner must register their contact information on the chip manufacturer’s registry, which is linked to the number on the chip (ISO chips have a 15 digit ID number).  This is how you can be reached in the event your pet is lost and someone takes them to a veterinarian or a shelter to be scanned.  It is equally important to update your information if there is a change to your contact number or address.  It is free to register your microchip, although there are some additional convenience services that are offered for a fee.


Is My Contact Information Secure?

You need not worry about your information.  It is only used to contact you if your pet is found and scanned.  Most registries allow you to opt in or out of receiving other communications.  Additionally, the only information on the registry is what you provide.  There are protections in place so that a random person cannot just look up an owner’s identification.


Top Dog Pet Sitting & Dog Walking wants you to understand pet microchipping and strongly recommends getting your pet microchipped, register your contact information if you have not done so to an existing chip, or update your information if it has changed.  If you are unsure of what company your pet’s microchip is associated with, you may use the chip’s ID number (9, 10 or 15 digits), look it up on the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup site.

We want your family to stay safe and happily together!