Whole Dog Journal's Blog June 6, 2011

Keep Registration Up-to-Date for Identification Microchips

Posted at 09:20AM - Comments: (4)

Late last week I read a news story about a dog who was lost for more than six months – and then found on the streets of Salinas, California, more than 1,200 miles from his home in Boulder, Colorado. He never would have been identified and returned to his owner if not for his identification microchip. It’s the kind of story that warms the heart of every shelter worker and volunteer, and highlights the value of the tiny implanted chips.

Canine Identification Microchip

It’s not enough to make sure that your dog has an identification microchip implanted under his skin; the chip number should be registered with at least one registry, and perhaps several.

But one fact in the story was alarming: When the shelter staff scanned the seven-year-old dog, found the microchip, and looked up the chip’s registration information, they found several phone numbers for the dog’s owner – none of which were working numbers for that person. Folks, you have to make sure that any phone number you use for registering your dog’s microchip is current!

Fortunately, the shelter then sent a certified letter to the address they found on file for the owner. Nine days later, the owner received and opened the letter, and joyfully called the shelter to identify and claim her dog. It was a close call, because the shelter’s policy was to wait 10 days after sending such a letter before making the dog available for adoption. A day longer, and the dog could have been living in someone else’s home, instead of flying back to Colorado on a flight donated by Frontier Airlines – hey, kudos to you, Frontier!

If you’re certain that your phone number has not changed since you registered your dog’s microchip, good on you! If, however, you are not sure how or where your dog’s microchip is registered, or can’t remember whether you have changed your number since you adopted your dog (or had a microchip implanted in your dog), take the following steps:

If you know where your dog was originally implanted with a microchip (shelter or vet clinic), contact them and ask about the registry for the chips they use.  Follow up with the registry.

Or, call your vet and/or local shelter, and ask if they have a scanner you can use to scan your dog’s microchip. My veterinarian has a scanner in the lobby, enabling clients to scan their own dogs and confirm the registration number. Ask the vet or shelter staff for help in identifying the maker of the chip, and tracking down its registration. Then follow up with the registry.

For more information about microchip registration, and the best way to make sure your dog’s chip can lead as directly as possible to you, see the following article from WDJ’s November 2009 issue: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/12_11/features/Canine-Health-News-November_16173-1.html

Original story found here: http://www.montereyherald.com/news/ci_18197868?nclick_check=1

Comments (4)

Circa 1995, my boss had a JRT wander onto her property. She put up flyers in her small town but no one claimed him. This was before any of us had ever heard of microchipping. She couldn't keep him as she had too many animals already so her horse trainer took him. She had him for a month or so and loved him but he was terrorizing her Dobies lol so she had to find a new home for him. My boss then asked me if I wanted him. I had a young lonely dog at the time so I took him and he and my dog hit it off (the JRT could fit underneath my dog's abdomen and they'd play for hours like this). They had the best of times...for about a month anyway. I took him to the vet to get him checked out since I planned on keeping him, and the vet scanned him and he was chipped. Turns out, the owner had lost him 15 months prior!! Needless to say, we had to leave him at the clinic for her to retrieve. She lived about 60 or 70 miles away. We have no idea where that little guy had been the prior 13 months before my boss, her horse trainer, and I had him. It was bittersweet - we didn't want to give him up obviously, but were happy he got his family back and they him. I told my vet right then and there to chip my dog. I still have that dog, she's 16-1/2 yrs old, and has never gotten loose ever thankfully, but glad I had the chip implanted just in case. Our vet just scanned it recently and it still works!

Posted by: Unknown | June 13, 2011 3:34 AM    Report this comment

And, of course, don't forget to fill out the initial microchip paperwork to begin with! When we chipped our new puppy years ago, I somehow overlooked the initial paperwork (very unlike me!!). Two moves later, when I decided we better get the microchip updated, I took him to the vet who said he could tell there was a chip, but there was no information coming up. I later tore apart our filing cabinet and realized I never filled out the registration paperwork for the chip to begin with! I was **mortified** that my poor dog had gone the first five years of his life without any info at all on his microchip record. Thank goodness he was never lost during that time.

That was four years ago. Now that the chip is registered and I'm on auto-pay, I check the website at least once a year to make sure our information is correct.

Posted by: Kristen E | June 7, 2011 5:45 PM    Report this comment

My Standard Poodle's injection site where the micro chip is now shows signs of cancer. There has always been a small lump where she got it and now 7 years later it is the size of a quarter.
I will not get a micro chip done again to any of my dogs. I'm sure her registered tattoo/tags are enough.
Health is more of a concern for me.

Posted by: JEANNIE W | June 7, 2011 3:40 PM    Report this comment

A friend's Labrador chewed a hole through his fence, and during his escape, his collar snagged on the fence and came off. He might never have been identified and returned home without his microchip. He had moved across the country without his microchip information being updated - but luckily the contact on file (in Iowa) knew his owners (in California), so after the initial confusion, it ended up well.

Posted by: LINDA F | June 7, 2011 2:18 PM    Report this comment

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