What you need to know about microchips.


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has designated August 15th of each year as Check the Chip Day.  Dr. Anna Coffin will review the basic information about microchips and the importance of this day.

Microchips are electronic chips which have been enclosed in a glass cylinder and are about microchpsthe size of a grain of rice.  This electronic chip has a unique number that you must register online.  Microchips are not able to store any medical information and are not tracking devices.  They are injected under the skin by your veterinarian with a hypodermic needle.  No surgery or anesthesia is required and it is no more painful than getting vaccinations.


Commonly available microchips implanted in pets in the U.S. include the following:

125-kHz microchips:
FriendChip®,Avid (encrypted)microchips


134.2-kHz microchips:
Bayer ResQ®
HomeAgain®/Digital Angel

AKC Companion Animal Recovery® (AKC CAR®)


What to look for when choosing microchips:

  1. Does the microchip meet ISO standards?  This currently doesn’t matter in the United States, but if you plan on traveling overseas you will need a chip that is ISO standardized.  The 134.2-kHz microchips are the only chips that meet these requirements.  The AVMA and AAHA recommends ISO standard microchips.
  2. Cost:  How much does the chip cost?  Is there an additional fee for registering?  Is there an annual fee?  What other services are included with this fee?
  3. Does the microchip participate in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool?  This is an internet-based application that is linked to the registries of the majority of microchip manufacturers and allows a quick database search of any microchip made by these manufacturers. 

Manufacturers and databases that participate in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool:

Microchip manufacturers that do not participate in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool:

There are many databases that allow you to register your pet’s microchip, but the one that really counts – the one that animal shelters and veterinarians will search – is the database maintained by the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip.  However, you can resister the chip with multiple registries.

3 Things to do on National Check the Chip Day:

1.  Make an appointment with your veterinarian for microchipping, if your pet isn’t already microchipped, and then make sure that your pet’s chip is immediately registered.

2.  Ever year have your veterinarian scan your pet to make sure the microchip is functioning properly.

3. Check your already microchipped pet’s registration information in the microchip manufacturer’s database, and make sure it’s up-to-date.  The main reason lost pets are not reunited with their families is because their contact information is out of date or the information was not registered with the database.


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