POPP is gearing up for another microchip clinic and we’re getting lots of questions! Here’s a collection of information to help answer questions. Do you have another question that you don’t see the answer to here? Let us know!
Q. What is a microchip?
A. It’s a tiny little chip coated in glass. It’s about as big as a large grain of rice. It’s encoded with a number unique to that microchip, and thus unique to your animal. It’s implanted subcutaneously (that’s under the skin) with a needle, usually just above your pet’s shoulders. Yes, it hurts a bit when implanted, but overall is very unlikely to cause issues later on down the road.
Q. What do I need to do with a microchip?
A. After the initial implantation, you should confirm with the manufacturer’s registry that the chip has been registered with your information. A chip without attached information is worthless! After that, be sure to keep your information updated whenever your address or phone number changes. Have your veterinarian check annually to see that the chip is still functional and that it has not migrated.
Q. How do I know if my pet has a microchip?
A. Any vet clinic or shelter should be able to scan your pet for a microchip. They’ll use a handheld battery-operated device and pass it over your pet’s body in a serpentine pattern to ensure that they don’t miss a microchip.
Q. How do I know how to register my microchip?
A. Some scanners will give the name of the chip manufacturer. Once you have the name of the company, hop online to find information about registering the microchip. If their scanner is unable to give you that information, visit http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ and enter your pet’s chip number to see what company issued it and when it was last registered.
Q. Does it cost anything to register a microchip?
A. This varies from company to company. Some companies offer free initial registration, but future updates require payment. Some companies charge a small flat fee each time you’d like to update the information. Other companies charge a larger one-time fee to allow you to update the information for the life of your pet. POPP has opted to utilize microchips from Found Animals in order to allow our adopters to update their information for free!
Q. What’s this I’ve read about microchip “frequencies”?
A. Pet identification microchips have been manufactured in three different frequencies: 125 kiloHertz (kHz), 128 kHz, and 134.2 kHz. That last one, 134.2 kHz, has been established as the international standard, which means it’s the recommended frequency worldwide. Unfortunately, the USA does not require all chips used to operate at that frequency. Animals being moved out of the US are generally required to have an ISO compatible microchip. Several large organizations such as the AVMA and AAHA now recommend 134.2 kHz microchips as best practice.
Q. Can I track my animal with its microchip?
A. GPS units require a power source, so for obvious reasons, microchips cannot be used to track your pet. Microchips are effective only when someone finds your pet and brings it to a veterinarian’s office or an animal shelter to be scanned. Even then, that’s only effective if you keep your pet’s information up to date!
Q. What kind of microchips does POPP use?
A. We use microchips made by Found Animals. They’re 134.2 kHz and the company offers free registration and free information updates for the life of the animal!
Q. My microchip manufacturer charges too much to update the information! Can I microchip it again with another manufacturer?
A. You can, but there's no guarantee that a scanner will pick up your preferred microchip. You'll need to keep both microchips updated!
Q. Are there age restrictions for microchipping?
A. We reccomend that kittens and puppies be at least 2 pounds before getting microchipped. There's no upper limit though, and it's never too late to provide permanent ID for your beloved pet!
No one ever plans to lose their animal! It's not something anyone wants, but accidents happen. Doors get left open, a screen blows out of a window, children leave a door open a second too long. Accidents happen, and it only takes a moment for your sweet furry friend to head off on an adventure without you.
With a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can make sure you're reunited as quickly as possible!
1. Put a collar and tag on your pet! Custom tags are inexpensive and available from all major pet stores. If you'd rather make a statement, consider checking out the handmade tags available on Etsy. If you'd prefer to skip the jingling, consider an embroidered collar, or a tag that slides onto the collar. An easy-to-read tag makes it simple for someone in your neighborhood to return your dog or cat straight to your house, without having to jump through any hoops. If you're concerned about safety, consider using a safety collar or breakaway collar.
2. Microchip your pet! Most organizations are now microchipping animals before adopting them out. Ask your veterinarian to scan your pet for a microchip if you're not sure your pet has one. Be sure to keep your pet's microchip information updated with your current address and phone number! If your pet were to get lost, any vet clinic or animal shelter can scan your pet and use the associated information to contact you. You'll have Fido or Fluffy home in no time!
Did you know that POPP has a microchip clinic coming up? See more details here.
3. Have current photos of your pet! We all have a multitude of photos of our dogs and cats being adorable, but it's important to make sure that you have well-lit, clear photos that accurately show your pet's markings. This will allow you to easily post photos to craigslist and online groups for lost pets, as well as quickly make up flyers to post in your neighborhood. There's nothing more frustrating than staring at a dark and fuzzy image and trying to decide if that photo is of the cat we've just found!
4. Teach your pet to come when you call for it! This sounds easier said then done, especially when it comes to cats, but keep reading! It doesn't have to involve you standing upright, crisply issuing a command, with a prompt response, As long as you have some sort of cue that you're reliably reinforcing, you've got another tool to help you keep from losing your pet. It can be a treat bag crinkling, asking your pooch "Want to go for a car ride?", or just making ridiculous kissy noises. Take the time to reinforce that response now! That way when your pet has slipped out the door, you have one more tool at your disposal to help get them home safely.
5. Know who to call! Time can be of the essence when your pet has disappeared! Your local animal control should be your first phone call. File a "Lost Report," so that if your pet is brought to animal control, they know someone is missing it. Next, call your vet, along with any other veterinarians in the area your pet was lost. Most people will bring a found animal to the nearest vet to be scanned for a microchip. Next up: your local humane societies, animal shelters, and pet rescues. By covering all of your bases, you're more likely to be successfully reunited with your fuzzy friend.