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What is a microchip?

A microchip is a device about the size of a grain of rice. It uses passive RFID (radio frequency identification) technology and contains a unique serial number that can be read by a portable, hand-held scanner. The microchip does not contain any moving parts or any power source and remains inactive until it is powered by the scanner. It is not, however, a tracking device and does not work with GPS.

How do you implant a microchip?

The microchip is injected with the use of a syringe into the scruff area located below the animal's neck and between the shoulder blades. The microchip "floats" just under the layer of skin, and thin layers of connective tissue form around the microchip and hold it in place.

How do you check if an animal is microchipped?

When a stray animal is found and brought into a shelter or a vet office, a technician waves the scanner on top of the animal's body. If an animal has a microchip, the scanner will pick up the serial number and display it on the LCD screen.

Can I have the microchip show my name, address, and phone number? No, the microchip does not contain any personal information. The microchip manufacturer embeds each microchip with a unique set of numbers and/or letters.

What happens after a microchip number is found?

The shelter or vet office will contact the appropriate microchip registration company with the serial number, and this company will search its database to find out who the microchip is registered to. The microchip company provides the shelter or the vet office with your contact information so that the shelter or vet office can call you. Thus, it is VERY important to register the microchip with your contact information, alternate contacts, animal description, and veterinarian information

How many brands of microchip are there?

There are several brands of microchip, including Home Again, AVID, ResQ, Banfield, and 24PetWatch. Most importantly, all microchips work the same way, no matter the brand of microchip

How do I register my microchip?

You can register the microchip with the appropriate microchip brand either by phone or online or with a registration form. You can also register with the microchip manufacturer, distributor, or an independent registration company. Each registry is nationwide and can be contacted 24 hours a day.

How do you know which microchip registration company to contact?

Animal care staff is trained to identify the microchip brand according to the first digit in the serial number, or by the number of digits in the serial number, or by the sequence of numbers and letters. You can also identify the microchip registration at an online microchip search tool.

Does it matter which brand of microchip I get for my pet?

No, because all microchips work the same way. However, if you travel with your pet outside of the United States, you will want to get an ISO-compliant microchip. ISO-compliant microchips are based on an international standard and contain a 15-digit serial number.

Does it hurt to implant a microchip?

Inserting the microchip is as quick and simple as giving a vaccination and is done without the use of anesthesia. While the syringe is a large-gauge needle, most animals tolerate this quick needle prick. It will also depend on your animal's tolerance and reaction to a needle injection.

Is a microchip harmful to my pet?

A microchip is encased in biocompatible soda lime glass and is hermetically sealed. Barring rare complications, dogs and cats are unaffected by them.

Can the microchip move around the animal's body?

In most cases, the microchip will remain in the area of the injection. However, it is possible for the microchip to migrate further down the animal's back or to the side. That is why the entire animal's body is scanned in case the microchip has migrated.

What is the youngest age that an animal can be microchipped?

Dogs and cats can be microchipped at any age.

How long does the microchip last?

Microchips will operate for the life of the animal, and there is no "on/off" switch.

If I move or change phone numbers, how can I update my contact information?

You can contact the microchip registration company by phone or online. If the microchip company offers online registration, you can simply log into your online account and make the necessary changes.

Do you still have to license your dog or cat even though I have a microchip?

Yes. According to City of Sacramento animal ordinance, all dogs and cats must be licensed. A microchip is optional and is a “back-up” identification in case your pet is not wearing its collar and license tag.

Why would an owner want to microchip their pet? Isn't a license or a personalized tag enough?

Often, there are times when the pet is at home and the owner does not place the collar on his/her pet. If the pet happens to slip out of the home or the backyard, then the microchip becomes your “insurance policy” and is always with your pet because the microchip is a permanent device that cannot be removed or fall out.