Microchip FAQ

Everything you need to know about microchipping your pet for regulations and to ensure your pet can be relocated if missing.

Technical questions

  1. What is a microchip?
    A microchip is a tiny (grain of rice sized) glass cylinder with an embedded electronic chip that transmits an identification number. The chip is also referred to as a 'transponder.'   
  2. Can microchips be tracked from anywhere in the world?
    Microchips are not GPS devices and cannot be used for tracking pets. They only contain identification numbers and unfortunately, there are many different microchip databases and they are not often linked together. Also, pet owners and vets need to register the microchip number on a database and register the owner's and the pet's details. 
  3. Wait...if there are a lot of databases, how are pets identified?
    The American Animal Hospital Association created a microchip lookup tool to help identify pets across multiple registries. It is not a registry itself, but rather a search tool. 
  4. What is the "ISO standard"? 
    The International Standards Organization (ISO) established a global standard for microchip frequency to allow it be easily detected anywhere in the world. The ISO standard frequency is 134.2 kHz. 


Practical questions

  1. Do microchips really help return lost pets? 
    Yes! A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters found that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 22% of the time whereas microchipped dogs were returned 52% of the time (Lord et al., JAVMA, 2009). 

  2. If microchips are registered on local databases, how can I ensure my pet would be identified if we moved to a different region or country? 
    This is why we highly recommend purchasing a tag from Global Pet Register! Their registry works internationally, 24-7, and forever. Microchips are required for your pet's trip, but the GPR tag can really provide some extra peace of mind. Pets are far more likely to get lost in a new place and we always feel better when clients purchase a GPR collar tag. 
  3. Who can implant a microchip?
    A local vet. And since International Health Certificates require a USDA Accredited Vet, make sure the vet is accredited before you pay for the microchipping. 
  4. Do microchips run out of batteries or require upkeep?
    Microchips don't use batteries. They're activated by the microchip scanner when passed over the area. Microchips don't require upkeep, but make sure the number is registered and the registry information is up-to-date. It's also good to ask your Vet to scan the microchip at every office visit to ensure that it's working properly. In rare cases, microchips can migrate to other parts of the body or out of the body. This is why your vet should scan it at every visit and note if it's still readable or possibly moved to a different area.
  5. How much does it cost to microchip an animal?
    It usually costs around $50, which often includes registration in a database.