In early January, an animal rescue contacted us via Facebook with a photo of a dog that had been found running loose in Federal Hill. He was healthy and had obviously been to a professional groomer, but he had no tags and no collar.
BSAH always recommends implantation of a microchip for pet identification purposes, but there’s one vital step that can render that microchip useless if you don’t complete it.
First, a pet microchip is a RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip used to provide ownership details. These chips are not a tracking device or GPS and can’t tell you exactly where the animal is at any given time. Instead, a scanner picks up the information when placed near the chip. HomeAgain chips, which BSAH uses, are about the size of a grain of rice. They are implanted underneath the skin, at the shoulder blades, using a large gauge needle. Each chip contains a unique ID number and it is a permanent form of identification. Each company maintains a database of numbers and each animal shelter and hospital has a scanner. Microchipping your pet significantly increases your chances of getting your pet back if he gets lost.
Here’s the important part: for HomeAgain or any other microchip manufacturer to use your pet’s chip to reunite you, you have to REGISTER YOUR CHIP and UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION REGULARLY.
The dog that was found in Federal Hill had a microchip but it wasn’t registered. He eventually went to the shelter, where he was hopefully adopted.
If your pet’s chip was implanted by BSAH, it’s registered. That’s part of the service we offer. But if your chip was implanted by a breeder or rescue or shelter, or at a microchip clinic, you probably need to register it yourself.
So what steps should you take to make sure your pet’s microchip is going to do it’s job?
1-If you aren’t sure if your pet has a chip, or you know he does but you don’t know the number or if it’s registered, stop by the office with your pet and we can scan him.
2-If you know the number but don’t know which kind of chip it is, enter the number at the AAHA microchip look up, Www.petmicrochiplookup.org. This will tell you the brand and then you can contact the company.
3-Once you know the registration status, go from there.
4-If your chip is NOT REGISTERED, you will need to work with the company that maintains the database to open an account and register that chip. There is a small fee to do so. Once your chip is registered, you can log in and add additional information about your pet, including photos.
5-If your pet’s chip is registered, take a few minutes to make sure your contact information is correct. If you have moved, changed phone numbers or want to add additional contact information, this is the time to do so. Try to do this yearly.
Microchips are a fantastic tool for reuniting lost pets with their worried owners. If you would like to have your pet implanted with a microchip, or you need help determining the status of an existing chip, call the office!