I checked my dogs’ microchips and discovered they had bad information!
Microchips and Worst Case Scenarios
One dog-travel Worst Case Scenario that haunts me is:
I somehow get incapacitated while far from home, separated from my dogs who lose their tags and get sent to a kill-shelter and … the unspeakable happens.
The scenario sends shivers down my spine.
I feel better knowing my dogs are microchipped.
(What are microchips? Ask Dr. Anna has a great article explaining microchips. Click here to read it.)
Check the Chip Day
August 15th was Check the Chip Day. I celebrated by adding “Check Our Chips” to my ever-increasing list of Important-Stuff-To-Do.
Recently, “Check Our Chips” finally bubbled near the top of my list so I took action.
I’m glad I checked those microchips! Zack’s microchip has never even been registered! His microchip number was linked to some organization in Albuquerque (I live in Washington state). Yikes!
Also, there was no alternate contact listed for Zoe. An alternate contact is imperative, especially in the Worst Case Scenario where I am not able to respond during an emergency.
I fixed both registration issues right away.
This was my microchip check adventure …
My Check the Chip Experience
Before I had the microchips checked, I listed the information I wanted to know:
- Microchip number and manufacturer
- Information associated with each chip
- Instructions for updating the information, for whenever I needed to make updates
- Called the vet. Checking microchips should not require a vet appointment, but it saved time and dog anxiety when I explained ahead of time on the phone what I needed. And they told me when was a good time to drop by.
- Checked the chips. The vet’s technician simply waved the microchip scanner over the back of my dogs’ necks and found both Zack and Zoe’s chip manufacturer and number. Both were made by Avid.
- Checked the chip database. The chip scanner displays chip numbers, not contact information. To verify my contact information I needed to get the phone number of my chip manufacturer. I went on the internet to www.petmicrochiplookup.org to find that number, but you can get a phone number for your chip manufacturer from your vet as well.
- Called the Manufacturer. When I called Avid, the manufacturer, I found that Zoe was registered correctly with my contact information, but needed an alternate contact and my new cell phone number. I also discovered that Zack’s registration had never been completed! I was told I could register on-line or have Avid send me a registration form.
- Registered On-Line. I used Avid’s online registration form to fill in my contact information for Zack’s microchip, then followed instructions to print and mail a paper copy to the manufacturer.
Now the microchips (and the contact information linked to them) are verified to be in good order. Phew!
Avid representatives said if I ever need to update my contact information I have to call them. Information is never updated or displayed on their website (for security reasons.) And my veterinarian is not responsible for microchip contact information.
More about Microchips
Be sure to read Ask Dr. Anna’s microchip post, especially if you are shopping around for a microchip or want to understand more about the ones you have.
If you plan to travel outside the USA, be sure that your chips meet ISO standards!
Universal microchip look-up tool, provided by AAHA: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org
AAHA – American Animal Hosplital Association: https://www.aaha.org
Avid Microchips: http://www.avidid.org/pet-owners/microchipping101