Many species can be microchipped: cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, horses, etc. There are no age limitations.
Kittens and puppies in shelters can be microchipped as young as 2 days old. I have had to implant microchips in litters of shelter kittens at that age before sending them out to foster homes.
A microchip is a tiny device the size of a grain of rice that is placed in the subcutaneous space between the skin and muscle usually between the shoulder blades.
The chip itself is only associated with a number. A microchip scanner will read this number.
Note that these are NOT tracking devices, nor are they associated with any medical information.
In order to have your contact information associated with your pet, you must register this number with a company (see list below) and remember to update your information if you move by contacting the company it is registered with.
Save all papers or forms you receive when your pet is microchipped.
If your pet already had one implanted before you acquired it, save all adoption papers/sale contracts and medical records from the previous caretaker as the number will probably be documented on those.
When found/stray pets are brought to a shelter or veterinary clinic, they will be scanned to see if there is a microchip.
Also, before a chip is implanted the pet should be scanned to make sure it does not already have one. Never assume.
Below is a list of the companies that manufacture and/or register microchips:
- Avid 1-800-336-2843
- Destron (Home Again) 1-866-738-4324
- AKC Reunite 1-800-252-7894
- Banfield 1-877-567-8738
- 24 Hour Pet Watch 1-866-594-2424
- Trovan (Info Pet) 1-800-463-6738
- Pet Link 1-877-738-5465
- Crystal Tag Corp. 1-877-PETLINK
AKC Reunite also has an online records system here.
Different microchip brands
There are now several brands of chips currently being sold and implanted in pets. The number displayed on the scanner may vary depending on what type of microchip and what frequency of microchip is implanted in the pet.
The display may include a 9, 10 or 15 digit sequence. Some transponder numbers also include letters.
Below are a few examples of different microchips and how the display will appear:
Home Again 125 kHz
(10 digits, usually start with 0A)
Home Again 134 kHz Worldchip
(15 digits, usually all numbers)
AVID 125 kHz
(9 digits, usually all numbers)
24PetWatch 125 kHz
(10 digits, includes letters and numbers)
24PetWatch 134 kHz
(15 digits-3 first line, 12 second line)
Banfield Recoverychip 134 kHz
(15 digits- 3 first line, 12 second line, bottom line displays Banfield Recovery Center phone number)
(10 digits, usually starts with “00”, includes letters and numbers)
CrystalTag 134 kHz
(15 digits, usually all numbers)
125 kHz and 135 kHz refers to the transponder frequency. 125 kHz are most commonly sold & implanted in pets in the United States.
In the last few years, a 134 kHz ISO microchip has also come on the market in an effort to comply with worldwide standardization and provide a microchip that can be implanted and scanned in any country.
An ISO microchip may be required for animals entering foreign countries outside of the US.
Understanding that shelters may be challenged to interpret the brand of chip and which registry to contact, Crystal Tag Corp. operates a recovery hotline that will assist in the recovery process regardless of brand or registry.
The number is 1-877-PETLINK. Their operators can tell you what kind of microchip and refer you to the appropriate registry.