August 15 is Check the Chip Day, a designation co-created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to remind pet parents to microchip, register, and keep their pet’s chip info up to date. Since there is so much confusion surrounding microchips, and microchip registration, we’re going to break it down for you in six easy to follow steps.
Check to see if your pet is already microchipped. You can do this for free at a veterinary office or animal shelter. Make sure the person scanning your pet is using a universal scanner (one that reads all chip frequencies), so the chip isn’t missed.
If a chip is detected, copy down the number and look it up at petmicrochiplookup.org to get contact info for the chip’s registry. Don’t worry – no matter which company sold the chip, you can always register it for free at www.found.org.
If a chip is not detected, go ahead and get your pet microchipped. You can do this at your veterinary office and some pet supply retailers for a small fee. Make sure to get a copy of your pet’s microchip paperwork, which contains your pet’s unique microchip number. Think of this number like a social security number. Keep it in a safe place so you can find it again if you need it.
MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Register your pet’s microchip number as soon as possible at www.found.org. Registration is free for the life of your pet. Remember, your pet’s microchip number is very similar to your social security number – it has to correlate with information in a database to be useful. The database in this instance is a chip registry, where you will enter your contact information under your pet’s unique microchip number. This way, if your pet is lost without external ID, he can be scanned at a vet clinic or shelter and traced back to you as guardian.
Remember to update your contact information in the chip registry every time you move or change your phone number. (This is why you should keep your pet’s microchip paperwork in a safe place you’ll remember.)
Having your pet microchipped is just one step in keeping your pet safe if he’s ever lost. The other equally important step is keeping an external ID on your pet at all times. If your pet escapes your care, the first place a Good Samaritan will look is on your pet’s collar. Make sure your pet’s tag is up to date with your current phone number. Make sure if you move you update it right away. You don’t even have to get fancy with this. A fabric collar with your phone number written on it in Sharpie will do in a pinch.
Are you local to the Angeles Area? Culver City Adopt & Shop is running a limited time offer for Check the Chip Day. Come by and get your pet scanned for free, register your pet for free, and get a 15% off coupon good for anything in the store (excluding adoption fees). We hope to see you there!