Microchipping Your Pet

We’ve all seen those heartbreaking flyers with pictures of lost pets and wonder whether or not they were ever reunited with their owners. Most pet owners worry about their pet becoming lost and what they would be able to do to find them. Hopefully you’ll never be faced with that situation but there are measures to consider taking in case you are. Microchipping your pet is one way to help ensure that you will be reunited with your pet in the unfortunate event they are ever lost.

A microchip is a small electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted just underneath the pet’s skin. This chip carries a unique identification number that cannot be altered or duplicated. When a scanner is passed over the chip, the chip is activated by the radiowaves from the scanner. When the microchip is activated by the scanner the identification number can be read and is displayed on the screen of the scanner. Once an animal is microchipped, the owner and pet information is registered with a database. Once the scanner reads the microchip number the owner contact information can be obtained from the database. The owner can then be contacted and the pet returned to the owner. It is very important this contact information be kept current.

Ideally all microchips would conform to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) global standard for microchipping, but historically this has not been the case. The ISO standard for microchip frequency is 134.2 kHz. There are microchips, as well as scanners, that do not follow these standards. The concern is that a microchip in a lost pet may not be detected because not all scanners read all microchips. There are forward-and-backward compatible, or universal scanners, now available that can read any frequency microchip. Most shelters and veterinary practices have these universal scanners.


Microchipping is not meant to replace collars or tags. Your pet should have a collar with identification tags that are legible and have accurate contact information. Tags and collars can however be lost so microchipping is a permanent identification system that increases your chances of finding your lost pet.