microchip information facts

They cannot be removed like a collar and tags.

Legally establish ownership when properly registered. (You should register your chip, no one else)

Can easily be scanned for FREE by any shelter or vet clinic without an appointment in the lobby.

Animals should be scanned over the entire body; head to tail, down the legs. TWICE, minimum.

Animal Shelter's should all scan animals upon intake as standard practice.

Not all Animal Control officers or Law Enforcement officers have microchip scanners, even if they do it may not be a universal scanner and they probably won't know as much about them as your local shelter.

Not all microchip scanners are created equal. Some places still have old scanners which are not "universal microchip scanners" and will not pick up all brands of microchips.

 Microchips do not have to be registered to that microchip's registration company, but they should be or your pet's microchip registration may not be found if your missing pet is scanned. Most people only know to contact the registration associated with that microchip brand's related registry. If the microchip is AVID, they will likely not contact HomeAgain, and so forth.

A microchip can be registered to more than one company. We do not recommend this because it can become confusing if your information becomes outdated and you need to update the registrations. This is good to know if you have found an animal and are trying to locate registration information on your own.

Do not microchip your animal more than once, it is not needed almost ever. If your animal has more than one microchip and is scanned for a microchip. The scanning person normally stops when they pick up a microchip number with the scanner. If you have more than one chip in your animal - which one do you think they picked up with the scanner? There is no way to know which microchip they will find first and this is very dangerous for you and your animal. If you have a much older animal with an older microchip, before anti-migration technology was introduced and it has traveled to a leg or somewhere other than the normal microchip body region (rare) you may want to re-microchip. If you do this you will need to make sure the old microchip and the new microchip numbers are both referenced in the old registration as well as the registration for the old chip so they are linked in the event the leg one is picked up.

Animal Shelters offering lost and found services will be your best source of microchip information BY FAR. This is because they scan and locate more owners of microchipped animals than any vet clinic, rescue, or private party. They are one of the few resources that can tell you what you really need to do to keep your animal tied to you. Many also offer microchip implantation services.

More Information on Microchips >>

Keep in mind that owners of Camano's missing pets know CASA is where stray animals are housed and do come looking for them. By law animals are personal property and citizens who choose to house found pets need to obey laws regarding the harboring of stray animals. Please contact the shelter on what you can do to help find a found animal's owner. Lets help these animals find their way back home!



Q: Would it be better for my vet to do it? Wouldn't they know more about this?
That is always an option, but rest assured that shelter staff are highly trained and we don't know anyone who has microchipped more animals than those working within stray-contracted animal shelters - scanning for microchips is a main part of their job every single day. If you want someone experienced, animal shelters are your place for the people who know microchips and microchip information! We implant hundreds (thousands at other shelters) of pets each year, we scan more animals than any other profession, and it is our job each day to track down owners – and we are quite good at it even with the tiniest bit of information.

Q: Does it hurt.
Sure, so does the poke of a vaccine. Yes this needle is a little larger, but it is quick and most animals don't even notice. The hardest part for some animals is when they are briefly restrained and just before the microchip is implanted. This is just like when you anticipate a vaccine poke yourself.

Q: Are your personal pets microchipped?
Every single one! We can say that every cat and dog owned by our shelter staff is microchipped. That is how strongly we believe in microchipping and how important it is.

Q: I heard microchips migrate and then they are hard to find when scanning and often missed.
Actually this is incredibly old information from when microchips were first being put into pets. Microchips themselves have long since been perfected and “anti-migration technology” was implemented with all major companies many many years ago. As a shelter we have only seen a couple about 10-12 years ago which had migrated and these animals were all seniors (with old style microchips) and overweight which was known to aid in that issue originally. Any migration issues today is more likely to have happened from being implanted in the wrong area of the body initially.

Q: What brand of microchips do you use?
We use 24 PetWatch microchips which have a 15 digit ID number that begins with 98 and which meet international standards for travel outside the US.

Q: What does it cost to register the microchip to myself?
The initial registration of a 24 PetWatch microchip is completed by our shelter staff for you and it is free. With our initial clinics we gave instructions for owners to register them easily online for free and we only registered the ones from owners who were not computer savvy or did not have access to a computer. After later finding that many people still did not register the microchips we implanted - we decided to do that legwork ourselves through our own computer system. This also puts the information into our secure shelter system along side of animals that come and go in the shelter so you have us as an added resource if your pet goes missing. All microchips we implanted at clinics prior to this change were also retroactively added to our system in the same fashion. Although we use a handheld scanner to scan the microchip barcodes when staff enter the registrations, we are human and computers can also have errors - so we still ask owners to double check these registrations personally after the fact.

Q: How old does my cat or dog have to be in order to be microchipped?
The rule for our clinics is 2 months and 2 pounds. If you have an animal that is 2 months old and less than 2 pounds please contact the shelter so we can talk to you about your situation and how or when we can get your pet microchipped.

Q: I don’t want a microchip because I don’t want it to be tracked.
Microchips are not GPS, they are not a tracking mechanism, they are a tiny RFID chip the shape of a grain of rice which only relays a single string of digets to a specific type of code scanner. The only stored “information” is only the microchip number itself. That is it.

Q: Do microchips cause cancer?
This question is the strongest reason for some people who have chosen to not microchip their pets. The articles we have seen informing people about this issue all have similar issues with the articles. They usually do not have a named author and either do not site any sources for this information or their single source is outdated and in another country – and still they randomly found this on the internet. Ultimately these articles are written to scare people - and sometimes it works. When testing like this is performed it is usually with animals in labs, like mice. Many feel that the scanning process itself is the issue (which is very likely to be far less in your pet's lifetime than that of a lab test subject) because otherwise the chip is simply a sterile foreign item within the animal just like a plate they would put in when your animal gets a radial fracture - or what they use for a knee replacement, or even internal stitches for that matter. These microchips are not transmitters; they are not some form of GPS, they are simply something that harbors encoding which relays a number to the scanner only when scanned. Although we have persinally never seen or heard of a case where a microchip caused a localized cancer, let’s say it is possible for a moment.. even if this is a risk it is so low it’s probably something like one in a million, or one in a trillion, or even less likely than that.  If this sca res you please take the time to read the side effects for medications you have given your pet. Your pet is much more likely to actually get lost and need that microchip, They are more likely to be struck by a car, they are more likely of getting a different form of cancer completely, they are more likely to become ill from a pet food recall, or end up with a life-threatening bowel obstruction from something they should not have been chewing on. Every pet owner should be weighing risks, but there are things with much greater risks which are ignored each day. Why are microchips still a target when there are so many more things which pose a much greater risk and much more of a real risk to our pets? All in all we feel very strongly that any tiny risk their might be of a small localized cancer scare is nothing in comparison to losing your animal and not having the vital resources be available to vets, shelters, and/or rescues which might find them – sometimes very far from where they went missing.

Have another question? Feel free to ask us!