5 Things You Didn’t Know About Microchips

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Did you know that according to a study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are 2.5 times more likely and cats are a whopping 21.4 times more likely to be returned to their home from a shelter if they have a registered microchip?

Microchipping your pet is recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and, of course, Found Animals.

Surprised to hear that statistic? Well, you’re not alone. There are many misunderstandings and myths about microchipping out there. But we’re here to clear up any confusion. Without further ado, here are the top five things you probably didn’t know about microchips:

closeup of a microchip

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice.

1. A microchip does NOT store any of your information. The only piece of information that that a microchip contains is a unique nine, 10, or 15-digit number (think of it as your pet’s social security number). In order for the microchip to work, it must be registered in an online registry like the free Found Animals Microchip Registry. Without a registration, the microchip is just a useless piece of internal jewelry for your cat or dog. An unregistered microchip in a pet is extremely hard to trace back to the owner, and a busy shelter may not have the time or resources to track down that information. Remember: the registration needs to be updated if you ever move or change your phone number.

It is another common misconception that just because the shelter microchipped your pet when you adopted him from the shelter, the microchip is automatically registered to you. In fact, your pet’s microchip may still be registered to the shelter, or even to the previous owner. It could even still be unregistered after all this time, if the shelter never registered it on your behalf.

To check if your pet’s microchip is registered, you can use AAHA’s pet microchip lookup tool. This useful tool tells you if/where a microchip is registered. AVID does not participate in this tool. If AAHA’s website points to AVID, we recommend calling AVID directly to see if your pet’s microchip is registered with them.

2. A microchip is NOT a GPS. You cannot locate or “track” your pet with its microchip. Microchips are “passive transponders,” meaning they don’t contain any power source, so they have no way to let out a signal when your pet is lost. In fact, the chip doesn’t do anything at all until a scanner is passed over it. That’s when the microchip uses the energy produced by the scanner to emit a unique code, which then appears on the scanner.

Another main reason a microchip cannot be a GPS is size. To add a power source to the microchip, you would need to add a battery compartment inside the chip (making it a lot larger than the current injectable size), and your pet would need to be “plugged in” to charge, sort of like an electric car.  Pet GPS collar tags are available, but thankfully, they’re worn on the outside.

3. Not all microchips and scanners are “universal.” Microchips in the United States operate on one of three frequencies: 125 kHz, 128 kHz, and 134.2 kHz.

Dog being scanned for a microchip

This lost dog is being scanned all over for a microchip.

Some manufacturers provide microchips in more than one of these types. The 125 kHz is the oldest U.S. frequency, and is still distributed by AVID, HomeAgain, and 24PetWatch. The 128 kHz is the rarest frequency, and has only been distributed by the AKC. The 134.2 kHz is the ISO International Standard chip, which is the frequency that Europe, Canada, Japan, and most parts of the world are already using, and that the U.S. is slowly moving towards. Most U.S. suppliers now provide ISO standard 134.2 kHz microchips, including Found Animals, Datamars, ResQ, HomeAgain, AKC, 24PetWatch, Bayer, and 911 Pet Chip.

A universal scanner must pick up all three frequencies. This is where people tend to get confused. Some shelters and vets assume that if their scanner picks up three different brands of microchips, it is universal. However, as you can tell from the above, some brands are on the same chip frequency, and some make several different types of microchip. So unless the scanner picks up all three frequencies (the 125, 128, and 134.2), it is NOT universal. And unfortunately, many organizations are unknowingly still using non-universal scanners, which means they are missing chips and therefore unable to reunite lost pets with their families.

4. You can register any brand of microchip with any registry. AND you can register a microchip in multiple registries. For example, if your pet has an AVID microchip, you can register it with HomeAgain, AKC, and Found Animals. But here’s where this may cause a problem. Say your pet’s microchip is an AVID chip, and you register it with HomeAgain. If the shelter sees that your pet’s microchip is an AVID chip, they may call AVID  to see if it is registered, and if they stop their search there, the other registrations may never be found. So unless they use AAHA’s pet microchip lookup tool to expand their search, your pet might never make it home, even though you kept your registration up to date.

On top of that, registries in the United States are not required to speak to each other or share owner information, so shelters that don’t search microchips online would theoretically have to call every single microchip supplier one by one to determine where it may be registered. (See how this could get complicated and potentially deadly for your pet?) Most organizations do not have the time or resources available to wait on hold with all of the common microchip companies. Because there is no singular national database in the United States, some owners choose to register their pets in multiple registries as an added safety net. Some for-profit registries will charge a fee to register or update your pet’s info, but as long as all registrations are kept up-to-date, there is no harm in registering in multiple registries. The Found Animals Microchip Registry is a free non-profit service, and will never charge a fee to register pets or update your information.

dog reunited with owner

5. A microchip is NOT the way most pets get home. Yes, a microchip is your pet’s only form of permanent ID. Yes, it is a great way to protect your pet. Yes, every pet should have a microchip with current registration information. However, the quickest way for your lost pet to get home is with a collar and tag with your phone number on it. This tag should also have the pet’s name and microchip number on it. Never underestimate the power of an external ID tag – it’s visible and easy for people to understand, which means even a first-time pet finder should know how to contact you. Of course, external ID can still fall off or be damaged, but if you pair an external tag with permanent microchip ID, your pet will have two solid layers of protection to get him home. You can get customized tags at most pet supply stores. If you live near our Adopt & Shop location in Lakewood, CA, you can purchase an engraved pet id tag with your pets name and your phone number on it. All proceeds from Adopt & Shop go directly to Found Animals’ adoption program.

Still have questions, comments, or concerns about microchipping? Feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll be happy to help!

Related Links:

Microchip Monday:  The Case of the Missed Microchip

86 Responses

  1. rd says:

    My dog was supposed to be chipped when I got him out of the shelter and was charged for the implant by the shelter.
    Went to the vet for a check up old vet retired, new vet asked if I had a chip put in yes I did took out the won that would find the chip to verify implant nothing come up got another won and nothing came up put the won all over the dog head to toe
    and could not find the chip , my dog has been registered with lost and found animals in New Jersey since the day I got him.
    My question is what is the problem that the vet cannot find the chip

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi – It’s possible your vet is not using a Universal Scanner. Call your vet’s office and ask them specifically if they use a universal scanner. If they do and they cannot detect up a chip, it’s possible your pet was not actually implanted, or the chip was faulty. Call the shelter where you adopted him and ask them for your pet’s chip number – that will tell you with a higher degree of certainty whether or not your pet was actually chipped. If he was, and the chip is faulty, you may have to get him rechipped.

  2. Chris says:

    My micro chipped cat is lost but registered with Found Animals. Is there a lost alert that can be attached to the registration to alert whome ever scans this cat that he is indeed lost? San Diego

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Chris: Unfortunately, the lost pet alerts will only alert the owner that the lost pet has been found, not the finder that the pet is lost. However, I believe anyone who finds a pet without an owner would come to the conclusion that the pet is lost. If your cat is found and scanned, the finder will be able to alert you that the cat has been found, and you can then arrange to retrieve your lost pet. In the meantime, here are some tips to initiate your own search for your lost cat. http://www.foundanimals.org/resources/articles/what-to-do-when-you-lose-a-pet Good luck!

  3. leonardo reyes says:

    he has a micro = chip

  4. leonardo reyes says:

    yes my dog is lost how do i find him :)

  5. karen says:

    If I give my dog to a friend will I get a charge fee to update information on the microchip?

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Karen: Depending on which microchip brand your dog is implanted with, there might be a fee involved to update the info in that microchip brand’s registry. Registration and updates are always free at found.org, but you will want to research where your dog was originally registered and update there too so that all information is consistent. Fees for changing info are usually nominal – call the microchip brand’s registry for details.

  6. Mke Martin says:

    We recently rehomed through our existing breeder one of her imported dogs from South America that was already micro chipped by a south American affiliated registry. We are going to register her with AKCreunite, which we have already contacted them and can be done no problem. My build up to my question is this: We currently have two other dogs that years ago we adopted through rescue organizations, both dogs were supposingly directly registered with 24Pet Watch (we have the paperwork). What we would like to do is cross register them both with AKCreunite so that we have all three dogs with the same registry for our convience. AKCreunite will allow us to update info/ pictures , etc. online once registered where as 24PetWatch now wants us to reregister online and charge us for the changes and charge an additional annual fee for each dog ,where as we can pay one time ( at substantially less) for the same lifetime service with AKCreunite. Now the question: If we cross register these other two dogs with AKCreunite and they become lost and found and a shelter or vet scans their micro chip and looks the chip number up on the AAHA look up tool, will the resulting worded response from the AAHA tool show them as being registered with AKCreunite (which we want) or 24Petwatch based on the micro chip number pre fix 0A1?

    We want to ensure, if our dogs are lost, that we get notified if the dogs become lost and only AKCreunite gives us that confidence that 24Petwatch doesn’t. Nobody (vets, shelters or rescues) around our area microchips or registers with 24Petwatch now days. Plans are that we would also tag all the dogs with AKCreunite tags/phone number plus the dogs microchip number to start with. We just want to be safe in case the tags fall off..

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Mike: My understanding from just having experimented with the AAHA lookup tool with my own dogs’ microchip numbers, is that the latest company at which the microchip was registered will be the one that comes up. However, I do not know what 24PetWatch’s policy is on lapsed membership (you may want to call them and ask). What I do know is that you can register both of your dogs in our free-for-life registry at https://microchipregistry.foundanimals.org. This registry allows you to upload photos, medical information and contact information, as well as change any of the information you submit, at any time for free. You can register any microchip from any manufacturer, and when entered into the AAAHA lookup tool, the microchip should show up as registered with Found Animals. Hope this helps.

  7. Sarah says:

    We recently adopted a dog who is already microchipped and her number is registered. The lady we adopted her from gave us the information and chip number, so that we could change the information. I am trying to do that on the Home Again website, but it will not allow me to due to the fact that she is already registered. What do I do?

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Sarah: You may have to call Home Again so that they can verify you have permission to change the registration. I am not familiar with their policies, but I’m sure if you call Home Again they can help you out.

  8. karim says:

    I recently adopted a dog from an elderly women. The dog appeared at her house and she took it to the vet to get scanned! They scanned and found info on the owner. The ownert was contacted but did not want the dog. After a year and a half the elderly women was looking for someone to give the away because she couldnt care for it any more And thats where i come in. She doesnt remember previous owners info or address what can i do to get the dog registered to me?

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Karim: Thank you for being proactive in getting this pet registered in your name. What you will need to do is get the dog scanned at a vet or a shelter (they will do this for free). Ask them which provider the microchip is registered with (it may be Avid, Home Again, 24hr Petwatch or another). Have them write down the microchip number for you. Depending what company the chip is registered with, you can contact that company by phone or online and change the registry information to be under your name. After you do this, you may want to take the additional step of registering the microchip in our database as well, https://microchipregistry.foundanimals.org/, which is free, and it doesn’t matter what company manufactured the chip. It is just one more layer of protection for your pet. Don’t forget to get your dog an ID tag with your phone number on it, and make sure the dog wears it at all times. A collar with a current ID is the first place people look when they find a lost pet, and is the fastest way to get the pet home. Thank you for writing in!

  9. Sarah says:

    Can a pet microchip be wiped or deactivated if the pet was stolen leaving them free to insert another

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Sarah: Standard microchips cannot be “wiped” and they are not electronic devices so they cannot be deactivated. The closest scenario to what you are talking about would be if the pet was originally implanted with a re-writable microchip, which is sold by SmartTag. It stores the owner’s contact info (instead of just the standard chip# code) and that can be changed with a special type of scanner. Other than that, there is nothing we know of that would interfere with a standard chip on a permanent basis, short of physically removing it from the pet. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for writing in!

  10. Rob says:

    I recently adopted a pet from an animal rescue in TX. I wanted to add my information to the microchip as I travel often, but the Rescue told me that wasn’t allowed. Since I paid for my pet, do I not have the legal right to have the microchip in my name?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me on this matter.

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Rob: If you signed an adoption contract stipulating that the microchip stays in the rescue’s name, then unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. Many rescues have this policy because adopters sometimes change their minds about adopting and are too embarrassed to return the pet to the rescue so they dump it at the shelter. The shelter will scan the pet and alert the rescue, who can then retrieve it. If your adoption contact precludes you from registering the microchip in your name, you can still keep your info in the most important place – an external ID tag. A tag is the first place someone will look to identify the owner of your pet, so always keep your info current and your pet wearing it. Thank you for your question.

  11. Jane says:

    I found a dog walking on the highway we were able to get her into our car. I took her directly to the vet to be scanned to see if she had been micro chipped. It turns out she was chipped so the vet scanned her and when the person who came up as the owner on the chip was called she said ghat was not her dog and she never owned the dog. What can be done in a case like this ,was there possibly a mistake made during registration or adding the chip information to the data base .

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Jane: Well, first, thank you for being a good Samaritan and getting the dog out of harm’s way. The problem could be due to a couple different scenarios. First, as you said, it could have been operator error during the registration process, either by mistyping the phone number or the microchip number. Second, the person who called the number could have misdialed. Third, the person whom you reached about the dog was not truthful about owning the dog – maybe they didn’t want it back. If the phone number was the only piece of information associated with the microchip and was definitely a dead end, I’m afraid your only recourse to try to find the owner is through the usual channels of posting signs, reaching out via social media, etc. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you can rehome the dog through a rescue or by yourself, if you have the time and resources. Thank you again for caring for this poor dog. Let us know what happens.

  12. Kelly says:

    I have a friend who rescues in Los Angeles. She’s been hearing rumors that there is a device that will allow a person to edit or destroy a microchip without having to remove it. Since pet theft is actually commonplace there, we’d like to know if that is true.

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Kelly: I’ve consulted our microchip guru here at Found Animals, and here is what she said: “The closest thing I’ve heard of is a re-writable microchip, which is sold by SmartTag. It actually stores the owner’s contact info (instead of just the standard chip# code) and that can be changed with a special type of scanner. Other than that I don’t know of anything that would interfere with a chip permanently and not just during the scan (short of things that also harm the pet).”

  13. Tom says:

    Question: once a chip is planted and registered the information stays and can be read even if membership (HomeAgain) does not get renewed – correct?
    What are the pros and cons of renewing/not renewing Home Again membership?


    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Tom: Yes, once your chip is implanted and registered, the information stays with that chip regardless of whether you renew with HomeAgain. I’m not sure what the pros and cons are of renewing with HomeAgain (that would be something you could research on their website), however if you register your information in a free registry (such as Found Animals’ registry – https://microchipregistry.foundanimals.org/) that gives your pet an extra measure of protection that you don’t have to worry about renewing. No matter what registry you use, make sure you update your contact information any time you move, change your phone number, etc., so you can always be reached in the event your pet gets lost. Thank you for your question and thank you for protecting your pets!

  14. Sierra says:

    HomeAgain says that they always keep your information in their data base whether or not you pay an annual subscription fee; however I was curious if I don’t pay the annual fee will my dog’s microchip be of any use?

    • Natasha D says:

      HomeAgain’s annual fee is for “special features” and updates, and even if you do not pay it, your pet’s microchip will remain registered to you in their system. Thank you for protecting your pets!

  15. Melissa says:

    Good Morning,

    My dog ran away yesterday and she is micro chipped but thing is that she was given to me by my friend and it is in his name and he has no information on what the number is or even the name of her vet. Now she is gone and I don’t know what to do. Is there a way I can have someone look up the name of my friend to see if they can locate a number on file for her? Please help!!!

    • Natasha D says:

      We can try looking up the pet’s record by searching a microchip number, owner name, phone number, or email address. If you know which shelter or vet implanted the chip, we recommend that you contact them to see if they have a record of the microchip number in their system. Please contact customerservice@found.org and they can try looking up your pet’s record with the above info.

  16. mike says:

    WE are getting a 2 year old boxer from a family. They said that he’s been chipped but that was when they were in CA and don’t have any info on it.

    What do I do to find out if he is and what I have to do to change the info for it?

  17. Michelle says:

    The microchip in my 6 lb. Yorkshire Terrier, broke!! and caused a large absess with a serious infection very quickly, please know this can happen and reconsider chipping your pet

  18. Roberta Maluenda says:

    I recently got a kitten in the UK. My husband is in the military, so we will eventually return back to the states. will she need a new chip? what will I need to do to get her registered state side before we leave the UK?

  19. Megan W says:

    I adopted my cats last week and have been trying to call and registrar their chips. I have called several times but no one answers. I want to register before the time is up.
    Also if they do not respond to registering calls to they respond to lost pets calls? Making me think twice about registering at all.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Megan, Our registry is web and email based (which is one of the ways we can offer it for free) but please send an email to customerservice@found.org if you are having trouble registering their microchips. Here is some more information on how our registry works = http://blog.adoptandshop.org/how-microchips-work/ Instead of phone calls we do something called “found pet alerts” which is an automated telephone call, text message and email message that reoccurs for up to four days. While it is a very good idea to register the chips as soon as possible, there is no deadline that you will miss making it so they cannot be registered. Hope that helps, thanks!

  20. Genevieve says:

    The other registries have tags with the chip number and the registry’s phone number so the pet doesn’t need to be scanned before notifying the registry. I know I can make a tag with the chip number and the registry number, but I don’t see a number anywhere on the Found Animals website. I’m concerned that my pet might be found by somebody without a computer or smartphone so having the microchip ID on a tag wouldn’t help.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Genevieve, I replied to your question on Facebook but I don’t think I fully understood what you meant. If your pet still had tags on when he was found why not just use an ID tag with your telephone number? ID tags are the number one way pets get home and we recommend microchips as an extra safeguard in case your pet loses his ID tag. Our registry is internet based which is how we keep our registry services free. We don’t recommend you put your microchip number on a tag (see reason 2) but if you want to, you could put your vet’s phone number in place of a registry number because they should have your microchip information in your pet’s file. I hope that helps, thanks!

  21. Denise says:

    Sadly my Brodie was never returned to me. He is micro-chipped and still no Brodie. I had him since he was 6 months old and he would of been 5 Feb 2014. However I think micro-chipping is good thing and hopefully whoever has my puppy will go to the vet and it gets scanned.

  22. lisa says:

    if a person aquired a cat from a friend that was still registered under their name on the microchip, and the cat got lost, and the new owner doesn’t know the microchip number, would there be a way to find out the number?

  23. Kelcey says:

    There’s a stray cat in my neighborhood and I want to see if he has a chip where should I take him and will it cost anything?

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Kelcey, You can take him to your local animal shelter or any veterinarian’s office and they should scan him for free. You can look up his microchip number here. Almost all the registries except for Avid and 24hourpetwatch participate in this lookup tool so you don’t have to search all the registries.

  24. Terry says:

    I want to register my dog microchip with a non profit organization who do you recommend or should I just settle with home again .com comments not for very good on them (nervous).

  25. Sarah says:

    Hi, what’s the difference between a dog microchip and a dog license???

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Sarah,

      A microchip is implanted under the skin of a dog (or cat or turtle, tree, all sorts of things are microchipped) where it remains permanently. The chip contains a unique number and is inactive until a scanner passes over it and reads the number. The number is linked with the dog owner’s name and phone in a registry. Basically a microchip is the only form of permanent identification (besides a tattoo which is not widely used in the US) it should be considered an owner’s last line of defense.

      A license is issued through your city’s animal shelter. It is your city’s way of keeping track of how many dogs live in the city, as well as distinguishing the amount of dogs able to be bred (with a special breeding license, which costs more money etc) as well as providing another way besides a microchip and pet id tag to get lost pets out of their shelter and back home. They use the license fee to help support the shelter as well. That is basically it, does that answer your question? I hope so, thanks!

  26. Tasha says:

    Thank you so much for this information! I did not know all this. We are all mislead when it comes to microchips.

    Something I want to add is that when the brand of microchip is Home Again, watch out. They will want to charge an annual fee of $17.99 for “value added benefits” of dubious value that you must go out of your way to opt out of. (They won’t tell you this annual fee is optional when you register, nor will your vet tell you any of this.) You only need to pay a one time fee.

    If you give Home Again your credit card number they will charge you annually, even if you opt out. This company is very deceptive.

  27. Samra says:

    Can my dog have 2 microchips implanted by 2 different vets from 2 different countries?

  28. Danny says:

    i gave away my cat that had a microchip. is it my responsibility to have its information changed over or the new owners?

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Danny, If your cat was registered to you, you can transfer ownership to the new owner by filling in their contact info in the registry. If the chip is not registered, the new owner can register it directly on our website at microchipregistry.foundanimals.org. Because each chip is a unique number, it cannot be registered to two different people in the same registry without an automatic flagging (ideally, that is how it should work) If you need any assistance you can contact the microchip team directly by email – microchipregistry@foundanimals.org.

  29. Chellie says:

    I am totally appalled at the deceptive practices of HomeAgain. I adopted a pet from a shelter and was told that a microchip was implanted but would not be registered until I registered it.

    I did not want to use HomeAgain because of all the bad stuff I heard so I registered through Found Animals.

    Well, HomeAgain keeps going in and updating their record to supercede my record. Why on earth would they do that?

    That could hamper me from finding my pet because they’d call HomeAgain first who would say that the pet owner was not responsible and didn’t register.

    They are, in my opinion, a HUGE scam.

    Check out http://www.homeagainmicrochipscam.com and see for yourself.

    After viewing the site, I bet most people will not want to use them ever again.

  30. Dave says:

    I read earlier in the year that a certain batch of HomeAgain chips had a failure rate, but I can’t find the batch numbers. Do you know them off hand?

  31. Shelley Crocker says:

    My sister found a cat. She has had it for 6 months. My sister is elderly, and she lives alone,the cat is great company.They have become very attached. When my brother was there he told my sister he “thought” the cat had a microchip.My sister is very attached to the cat and does not want to lose her. She is afraid if the cat gets sick, the vet will discoverer the microchip, and she will have to return the cat. My question is two fold. 1.) is my sister under any legal obligation to take the cat to a vet or ‘somewhere’ to be identified? 2. If identified does she have any rights to keep it? The cat is a pedigree Himalayan ,she looks full breed,very beautiful, declawed, and my sister takes excellent care of her.

    Thank you, if you can render any advice.

    Sincerely ,
    Shelley Crocker

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Shelley, I’m sorry we can’t really answer your questions. Laws vary greatly by municipality so every town governs differently, you would have to speak with your local animal control. The only people who can settle an animal ownership dispute are your local animal control officers, not a vet and not a microchip registry company. In a lot of places – a microchip is not considered proof of ownership, ACO’s want to see adoption papers, sterilization records etc. Your sister’s predicament is a tough one. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help.

  32. Jon L says:

    My wife and I had a stray kitten camp out in our garage over the weekend. It looks like she has been spay (blue dot on stomach). She only looks to be about 4-5 months old and very clean. I would love to find the owners (either that or she stumbled upon her forever home here (win/win)). Will a vet charge me to have a scan done to see if she is micro chipped?

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Jon, A vet should scan for free. If not, you can always go to an animal shelter and they can too. Not sure where you live but it also can’t hurt to ask/confirm that they are scanning with a universal scanner that picks up all 3 frequencies. If not, they could be missing chips. Hope that helps!

  33. Geetanjali says:

    I am moving from India to California in November an I have two cats. Will I need to get them microchipped and also which chip do I get done, the 10 digit or the 15 digit one? Do let me know, please, its urgent and I am unable to find information anywhere.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Geetanjali,
      It is a good idea to get them microchipped, you should definitely get the 15 digit ISO (International Standards Organization) chip. This will ensure that your cats can travel abroad without getting re-chipped. Make sure to ask your vet for this kind of microchip.
      Hope that helps!

  34. marybeth says:

    When we went through a rescue agency to adopt our 1 year old dog they told us to contact 24PetWatch to have the info on file for him to our own. The original owners had him microchipped, not the agency, so I inquired as to why they weren’t contacted instead of moving him several states away to adopt out. I was told that they either hadn’t updated their info or paid up to date. I had no way of finding out who they were either but felt bad if somebody were looking for him and he them. I have not renewed since it seems likely that anyone finding him could just change my info to theirs as easily as paying the fee.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Marybeth,

      Thanks for writing, this is why it is so important to keep registration up-to-date. The rescue or shelter who had your dog first tried to contact the previous owners I’m sure, but with no information anywhere to do so, they gave up. Another outcome that happens when they can’t contact the owner is the animal is euthanized.

      Many registries will request adoption paperwork or other documentation in order to change the name on a registration. It sounds like the reason they are allowing you to change the registration is because the old contact information is a dead end.

      You can always register in our registry as well. It’s free and there are no hidden fees ever.

      You should register the chip and keep it up to date. If the previous owners had kept the info up to date, they would have been successfully contacted.

      I hope that answers your question. It is a very good idea to register that chip, otherwise the same thing could happen to you.

  35. al says:

    hi, we have just had a letter telling us that our pet was found and the new owners want to have the chip put in their name, we have asked for the address and the chipping company wont tell us because of data protection etc, so whats the point in paying for chip if this happens, to me it is major case of deception and fraud by chipping companies, they take your money yet when the pet is found wont tell you who or where it is

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Al, You should get in touch with you local Animal Control right away. While a microchip Registry may not release personal information to you, they may release it to animal control. Animal Control is like the pet police and you want to have them involved if you think someone is trying to steal your pet. A microchip is not proof of ownership but generally, when a person finds a lost pet, they use the chip to locate the owners, not to contact them to say hi, we’re keeping your pet. Animal Control should be able to get the information from the registry, we wish you the best of luck!

  36. Jamie Ranae says:

    My family dog of 7yrs has recently been missing for 10days …I have contacted every shelter…vet ..groomers and passed out flyers in our community. I found a lil guy that looks similar that was sent to shelter after being attacked by other dogs…. he is in very bad shape..injuries..he is dirty and malnourished from lack of food…this lil guy looks just like my dog….I brought him home from shelter and asked vet if he can see him it was already closing time but he agreed…when he scanned him he could not find a chip …my dog has a Avid chip but for some reason the vets cannot find it..when I called Avid they say he is registered to have one from the shelter we rescued him from I brought him home last night since vet stated his condition was not urgent and to bring him back in when open today….this lil guy has not moved until he came to my home …he began to move drink and eat he even walked around and walked up to me and put his head on my leg…. he looks so much like my dog…but I don’t know if it is because I want him to be so bad…does anyone know if chips can be defective or if they can be damaged….I have looked for this information but cannot find it. I know I will be able to tell if it is my baby when he is healed….he is very swollen right now and is so dirty and injured it breaks my heart to not truly know if it is..due to the fact that he has no chip… I look at his face and see my dog…any advice is greatly appreciated. Either way this lil guy is getting cared for and if he is not my kramer he will be found a loving home. Sincerely …Jamie

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Jamie, It is possible that your vet may have missed the chip if he is not using a universal microchip scanner. Read more about universal scanners here. It’s also possible that the chip may have migrated, your vet should scan the dog’s entire body, several times with a universal scanner to be sure. It is very rare for a microchip to fail. In a study conducted by BSAVA (British Small Animal Vet Association) out of 3.7 million chips over a 10 year period, only 36 were found to have “died” after implantation. So the chances of a dud chip are about 1 in a million.

      Please let us know if you have any more questions, I’m hoping for the best outcome for you guys and hugs to you for taking care of this shelter dog, whether he is Kramer or not, it sounds like he really, really needed to find you.

      Take care Jamie!

  37. Sherry says:

    I would like to know if there has ever been any reports of the microchip causing any sores? I am bringing home an Eclectus parrot this weekend and I am debating weather to chip her or not.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Sherry, Here is an article published by the AVMA that shares microchip adverse reaction data. It is very rare but we encourage you to talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. Since microchips are inert and bio-compatible, the risk is no higher for a dog, cat, bird or horse. Hope that helps, thanks!

  38. Sara says:

    For those of you wanting to update with 24PetWatch, I was told by my shelter that I adopted my cat from if I wanted to update information to call the shelter and do so since the company would charge me-but the shelter advised they could do it for me for free.

    Hope that helps. I will be calling my shelter first for any updates!

  39. kate says:

    I also have 24PetWatch and like you, do not pay any fees. I was and still am able to update my contact info when I move. Although they’d like you to pay, they’ve never enforced that. I just log in with my name and password and then update my info when I move.

  40. Jackie says:

    My oh my I am just delighted to have opened the foundanimals.org webpage. I do believe that my whole 4 legged family is set now. Blessings to all of you for your work.

  41. Jackie says:

    I am so glad that I found this blog post. I also rescued an animal with a 24petwatch chip. I called 24petwatch to let them know that I use Avid for my 2 other pets and was told that the 24petwatch chip could not be registered with any other company. I was told that my rescue cat would need to have an additional chip to utilize another chip registration company.
    Now that I have read that both Avid and 24petwatch use the same chip frequency I am thinking about speaking with Avid rather than 24petwatch.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Jackie, You can definitely register any brand/frequency chip in any registry. They may have told you that because they are a for-profit company and any company will want to keep your “business” instead of sending you elsewhere. We are working on a new blog right now that addresses the subject of multiple microchips so stay tuned. You can also register all of your pet’s microchips for free in our registry. Hope that helps! Thanks for sharing your story.

  42. Debbie says:

    I wanted to add something to the reply on Teresa’s question (#5). I worked at a veterinary clinic for many years. I know that with Avid microchips, every box of chips shipped to clinics and shelters have a lot number printed on the box. If an Avid microchip is never registered by the owner, Avid does have the capability to find out where the chip was sold to. Then that clinic can be contacted. When a clinic implants a microchip, they keep a record of the chip number in the patient’s record. Just give them the chip number and they can search their records and locate who the chip belongs to. Definitely more leg work than having the chip number registered, but not impossible. We’ve had to do this before. I’m sure there may be some who don’t take the time. Also, to answer Will (#3): Some companies let you update your phone # for free, but charge a small fee to update the address. Since it’s more likely that the vet’s office or shelter will try to call you if your pet is found — it’s the most important to keep it up to date! They will still provide your info to a clinic that calls about your lost pet, even if it’s expired. Hope that helps!

  43. Suzanne says:

    I have external tags with name address and phone number, as well as external tag with microchip info, and dog license with my current info. I have microchip registered with HomeAgain and FoundAnimals. He never goes out without a leash but we are going camping at the end of the month and wont be in this County. Is there anything else I can do to keep him safe, God forbid he get loose?

  44. Teresa Enterkin says:

    Recently found a lost dog that we had scanned for a microchip. Dog DID have chip (Avid), however when we contacted Avid, we found the chip was not registered. Is it possible this chip could be registered with another microchip maker? How do we check?

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Teresa,
      Any animal care professional that scans a lost pet should search the microchip number on http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org. This will direct them to the most current registration for that microchip. All microchip registries accept any brand/manufacturer of chip, so if professionals are not checking the pet microchip lookup tool, they could be missing registrations. If you have the microchip number written down, you can go right to that website and search. Hope that helps, Thanks!

  45. Will says:

    I got my cat at a humane society shelter and they put a 24petwatch microchip in her. That company wants me to pay $50 to register, etc. On their website they already have my information. The address is old, but the phone number is still my current number. My question is if my cat is lost and found and her chip is scanned, will 24petwatch NOT give my phone number to the party that found my cat?

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Will,

      Our understanding is that most paid registries (like 24PetWatch) will still provide whatever contact information they have on file when a paid registration “expires.” The problem is that pet owners who don’t pay the annual fees are not able to update their information so if the shelter finds your cat and attempts to contact you via mail, that letter will be delivered to an incorrect address. Sometimes, outdated registration information can actually be worse than no registration at all, because it wastes shelter employee time and resources without getting the pet home. Because paid registries’ policies are subject to change, it is worth reaching out to 24 directly to confirm that they will still provide your information to shelters.

      You can always create & update for free in the Found Animals Registry! The more places you register your cat’s microchip, the more likely she will be to make it home if she is ever lost: http://www.found.org

      Let us know if you have any other questions, thanks!

  46. Heather says:

    I have a 14 yr. old dog (I think). She was a rescue dog from a shelter. How do I find a “free” scanning with a universal scanner to make sure that I can re-register her with my new married name and contact info? I live in the DFW area (Ft. Worth, TX) if that helps. Thanks so much for this very informative website.

    • Annie M says:

      Hi Heather, you can take her to your local animal shelter or veterinarian’s office and they should scan her for free. Write down her microchip number and register it in our registry. http://microchipregistry.foundanimals.org/ Our registry is completely free and you never have to pay to maintain or update your account. Thank you for protecting your pet and stopping by the Water Bowl :)