Check the Chip Day

Scanning lost pet for microchip

Scanning lost pet for microchip

Please note on your calendar that Friday, August 15th is “Check the Chip Day”. The “chip” refers to your pet’s microchip, and checking it means verifying that the contact information you have on file with the microchip registry is current.

In honor of “Check the Chip Day” here are three ways to ensure a happy ending should you and your pet be separated:

  • If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip registry to verify that all of your contact information there is current and accurate.
  • If your pet has a microchip that was never registered, get the paperwork squared away right away.
  • If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or local humane society or animal shelter to have one placed just as soon as possible.

There are many databases that allow you to register your pet’s microchip, but the one that is most important – the one that animal shelters and veterinarians will search – is the database maintained by the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip. The American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool is an Internet-based application that is linked to the registries of the majority of microchip manufacturers. You can use it to quickly access your pet’s microchip data.

In honor of “Check the Chip Day” I am rerunning a blog post from a couple years back.

Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?

Other than hanging identification tags on collars, I’ve always advised my clients that microchipping their dogs and cats is the best way to ensure that they will be reunited should circumstances cause their separation. As it turns out, microchipping isn’t nearly as foolproof as I’d once believed- not because the chips are defective, rather because of human error. Have a look at the following excerpt from an article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

In the study titled, “Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters,” shelters contacted microchip registries regarding 1,943 animals but found registrations for only 58.1 percent. The registries were unable to find any information on the owner or the person who implanted the microchip for 9.8 percent of the animals. Among other recommendations, the study’s authors suggested that veterinarians and shelter personnel should not only register pet microchips at the time of implantation, but also remind the pets’ owners to update information in the registry.

Here’s the bottom line in terms of achieving the intended purpose of your pet’s microchip. At the time your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to complete the registration materials and have them processed with the appropriate microchip registry. Ask your veterinarian, or whoever implants the microchip, to do the same. Additionally, update your microchip registry data (telephone number, email address, street address) whenever it changes. I moved to western North Carolina just over a year ago. This prompted me to change my contact information for all of my pets’ registry information, so we are in good shape. How about you and yours? If the unthinkable happens and your dog or cat goes missing, will his microchip enable him to find his way back home? If you know your contact information is not current, or you are unsure, pick up the phone or go online today. It could make all the difference.

If you have a microchip story that brought a four-legged family member home, I would love to hear it.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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9 Comments on “Check the Chip Day

  1. Dear Dr. Nancy,
    Two years ago my husband and I adopted a purebred Black andTan American coonhound from our local shelter of choice.
    He was checked several times and found to be chip-less.
    When we took him home we were very surprised by his actions.

    This dog was amazing. He walked into the living room and laid down on the dog bed in front of the fireplace. He was very accustomed to being in a house. He joined in with the rest of the dog family as if he had been born here. At meal time he knew to strike a “waiting” posture until told it was ok to eat. This dog is well-behaved…A really good boy.

    The gist of this tale is that for lack of a micro-chip, someone lost an amazing member of their family, and we added one to ours.

    We currently have four rescue dogs: Rudy, GreTa, Walker and MayBea
    …all of which are micro-chipped.

    Sadie Anne

  2. This is such an important post. Thank you for pointing out that there’s an official day dedicated to checking microchips. I’ll be sure to put it on my calendar and spread the word next year in my community!

  3. My puppies are chipped and I always keep the information current. When I bred my litter of golden puppies 7 years ago, by contract, the new owners have to keep me as a contact on the dog — so he/she can always return to me!

  4. Two comments. First to the person above who referred to “guardians”. We own our animals and the point of microchips is to prove that ownership. If people are guardians then that guardianship can be revoked by another. And in the case of microchips rescues are often ignoring them on the belief that the owners don’t deserve the dog and they can resell it. The concept of guardianship enables this behavior. There is a lawsuit at present in Ohio about a Sheltie whose ownership was proven by microchip yet the rescue refuses to return the dog.

  5. I used to work at a shelter in Santa Cruz, California. One day two dogs were brought to the shelter by a person who found them stray. A quick microchip check lead us to the registered guardians in central Oregon, hundreds of miles away. Turns out the dogs were in the family car when it was stolen. Apparently, the thieves drove all the way to central California with the dogs and dumped them in Santa Cruz, without their collars. The very relieved guardians drove all night to be reunited with their beloved companions. Without the chip, they would never have seen other again. Collars and ID tags are not enough. Microchips are a must to keep your animal companions identified.

  6. Hi Patricia. It sounds like you have encountered a very frustrating situation. Have you spoken directly with the shelter manager? If not, this is where I recommend starting. If your request remains unsatisfied, I’m wondering if you might consider placement of a second microchip. I hope this helps. Best of luck with this.

  7. We adopted our dog from a shelter 3 years ago. She was chipped and my vet checked it was working and the number on my paperwork was correct. Unfortunately, the chip was registered to the shelter. I let some time pass and recently contacted the microchip company to have the contact info changed. They contacted the shelter and they refused to allow the changeover to my name to happen. I contacted the shelter several times – no answer. So at this point, my dog’s chip has the contact info of the shelter. What, if anything, can I do?

  8. I punched in Esmé’s chip number in the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool you provided and yep, it found her. Very reassuring. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for the helpful reminder to keep the microchip registry updated. Even if you don’t move, phone numbers can change especially for alternate contacts.