Sunday, 29 June 2014

Why Microchips Do NOT Find Missing Pets

It is a popular misconception that microchips are used to find missing pets.  While they are incredibly useful tools, unfortunately microchips do not have GPS capability so they cannot be used to determine where a pet is located.  In fact, for a microchip to be picked up, you must be within three to twelve inches of the pet.

So, what does a microchip actually do?

Microchips are not used to find missing pets.  What they do is help to IDENTIFY a pet once it has been found.  In order for this to occur, someone needs to notice the pet is missing, pick it up and take it to a vet or rescue centre.  The vet or rescue organisation will first check the pet for a collar and ID disc that carries the owner’s contact details.  If the pet is not wearing a tag, they will then scan the pet for a microchip.

If microchips don’t help find missing pets, why do vets recommend them?

Microchips are recommended because they provide a useful way of IDENTIFYING a pet and linking them to their owner.  They are recommended because they enable a vet or rescue centre to identify pets in situations where they have lost their collar and ID tag or simply do not wear a collar and tag.

Does my pet’s microchip store my contact details?

No.  Your pet’s microchip holds an identification number that is read by a scanner.  This ID number is then loaded into an online database to bring up the pet’s file.  Your details are stored on that database, providing you have filled in and sent back the form that was supplied at the time your pet was microchipped.

Does my pet need both an ID tag AND a microchip?

Yes!  Inspector Spot recommends you do both.  An ID tag makes it easier for someone to get hold of you quickly – they just need to check your pet’s tag for your contact details.  A microchip is a great backup tool if your pet loses its collar.  BUT it requires a lot more work to find you.  Someone needs to recognise your pet is missing, pick them up, take them to a vet or rescue centre, get them scanned, check the microchip number and plug this number into a database to get your contact details.  That is a lot of steps to go through!

How do I get my pet microchipped?

Take your pet to your local vet or a major rescue centre.  They will arrange for a microchip to be inserted into your pet’s neck and help you register your details with your local microchip registry.

1 in 3 pets go missing.  Inspector Spot tracks them down.  If your pets are not registered with him yet, visit

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