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ISO Compatible Microchips

Published on: September 6, 2023  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel


Microchips serve as a valuable tool for pet identification in the unfortunate event that they go missing. Whether you're embarking on an international journey or simply traveling within your own country, microchips are a necessary requirement for international destinations and are highly recommended for domestic travel.

What are ISO Compatible Microchips?

An ISO-compatible microchip for pets is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) that is usually injected into the pet's scruff (top of the neck) beneath the skin. The microchip can then be scanned by a microchip reader to show a unique microchip number. 

There are a variety of microchips that are on the market, but most countries require pets to have one that is ISO-compatible. This means that the microchip complies with the ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards, which are international standards for animal identification using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. The microchip contains a unique identification number (usually 15 digits long) that is used to identify the pet when the microchip is scanned. Because this is an international standard, pets with ISO-compatible microchips can be identified and traced across borders when the microchip is scanned.

Why Are Microchips Required For Pet Travel?

Microchips are required for pet travel for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they serve as a reliable form of identification that ties your pet's paperwork and health records to the correct animal. By having an ISO-compatible microchip implanted in your pet, they can be easily identified and traced across international borders when the microchip is scanned. This is particularly important for international travel where different countries may have varying requirements for pet identification. Additionally, microchips provide peace of mind for pet owners, knowing that their furry companions can be easily identified and returned to them if they become lost.

How Do I Choose the Right ISO-Compatible Microchip?

When it comes to choosing the right ISO-compatible microchip for your pet, there are several brands that are commonly recommended. One of the most popular brands is HomeAgain, which offers ISO-compliant microchips that can be easily scanned and identified. Another well-known brand is AVID, which also provides ISO-compatible microchips that meet international standards. Additionally, the brand Datamars is recognized for its ISO-compliant microchips that offer reliable identification for pets. These brands all prioritize the safety and well-being of your furry friends, ensuring that they can be easily traced and returned to you if they ever go missing. Remember, it's important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best microchip brand for your pet's specific needs.

What if My Pet Has a Non-ISO Compatible Microchip?

If your pet has a microchip that is not compatible with the ISO standards, the next steps will depend on the destination of your pet's travel. While some countries strictly require an ISO compatible microchip, others may be more lenient with non-ISO compatible chips. However, it could potentially cause complications if the customs officials at the destination do not have a microchip scanner specifically designed to read your pet's chip. In such cases, it is advisable to send the appropriate microchip scanner along with your pet to avoid any delays with customs.

Can My Pet Have More Than One Microchip?

It's not uncommon for pets to have more than one microchip, and that's perfectly alright! If your pet's current microchip doesn't meet the ISO standards, it might be necessary to have them implanted with a new microchip. There are rare instances where the existing microchip may break, become unreadable, or even migrate to different areas of the body. In these cases, a new chip may be required. It's crucial to inform your veterinarian and pet relocation company if your pet has multiple microchips since all the readable microchip numbers must be recorded on their paperwork.

Other Considerations

It is crucial to note that each country has its own specific requirements for importing pets. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly verify the microchip requirements well in advance as you prepare your beloved pet for their journey. While microchips used for pet travel do not function as live tracking devices, they play a vital role in reuniting lost pets with their owners. When a microchip is scanned using a specialized microchip reader, it reveals a unique microchip number. This number can then be entered into a microchip database to locate the contact details of the pet owner. To ensure a successful reunion in the unfortunate event that your pet goes missing, it is of utmost importance to register your pet's microchip and keep your contact information updated. By doing so, you can rest assured knowing that you can be easily reached in case someone finds your precious companion.

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.