So now I feel it’s really important to discuss what you can do to find your dog if he or she should become lost. One of the most common ways dogs go missing is they dart out of your vehicle after you park and open the door. And as I detailed in a recent blog about crash tested car transport crates, it is best to restrain your dog in your car so that he doesn’t get the chance to escape. But in the worse case scenario that your dog gets lost, a pet microchip can mean the difference between life and death for your dog, and is also how your beloved animal can be returned to you.
We all want to make sure our dog comes home as fast as possible if he gets lost!
What is Microchipping and how does it work?
But what is a microchip? How is it inserted into your dog’s body? And what’s involved with the entire process to ensure that your dog comes home?
I found a reliable source to explain the first two topics to you at the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.
You might wonder exactly how a microchip enables your pet to be reunited with you. First, your veterinarian or a pet adoption agency asks you to allow them to microchip your newly adopted dog or puppy in case he gets lost. So of course you agree for them to do this!
When someone finds your lost pet, assuming the person knows that dogs could be microchipped, they will bring the dog to a near-by veterinarian to be scanned. The scan hopefully will reveal to the animal professional the owner’s contact information.
Lack of a central registry for microchipped animals
Believe it or not, there is no central organization in Canada, U.S., or internationally! Because there is no central registry for microchipped animals, it can sometimes be a bit of a Sherlock Holmes endeavour for a veterinarian or a humane society to find the owner. However without a microchip, matching pets to their owners would be much more difficult!
Another issue raised by the lack of a central registry is when you wish to update your contact information. The first time I got a pet microchipped was in 1997 when there was only one company managing all of the data for microchipped pets in North America. But over time, dozens of companies came into the market. And recently, I set out to revise my contact information for my dog’s microchip. But I had no idea which company to contact. I share my story below to save you time and energy in your own search!
How to find the company with your pet’s microchip data
So I began by asking my vet clinic’s front desk for a printout of my dog’s and cat’s microchip numbers. They gave me copies of their rabies vaccination certificates (which have their microchip numbers on them). Then I asked my veterinarian, Dr. Steve Avery, owner of Davisville Park Animal Hospital in central Toronto, how to track down the company that maintains my contact information for these microchip numbers.
Where to start your search…..
Dr. Avery told me microchip numbers can be searched on petmicrochiplookup.org. He also explained that you should never have to pay to search for a pet’s microchip company. This means that wherever you got your dog microchipped, whether that’s at your veterinarian, shelter, or breeder, the company from which they purchased the microchip will provide your contact information tracking for free!
Once you are on petmicrochiplookup.org, scroll down to their search bar, enter the microchip number in that box and click on the search button. If the number is found, the company where your dog’s microchip is registered will appear. Then you can simply call that company and confirm or update the contact information.
But if your dog’s microchip number does not pull up one specific company, double check that you entered the correct number. If it is right, you will see list of companies that could possibly have your dog’s microchip registered. Then you will need to call every company listed to inquire.
I was lucky! I told Dr. Avery that my cat was microchipped by Toronto Animal Services when I adopted her. So he advised that Toronto Animal services’ microchips generally are registered with 24petwatch. But he also searched for my dog who had been microchipped by her breeder. This search result indicated no match found, but provided a list of about 15 companies.
Among the list of 15 possible companies for my dog was 24petwatch , (my cat’s likely company), so Dr. Avery recommended I call them first at 1-866-597-2424. My website search did not yield a phone number, so I’m including the Canadian direct line here for 24petwatch that is also verified on Yelp.ca
I called 24petwatch and voila! They not only found my cat’s information but then they asked if “Roxy” was also my pet!!! What a relief! One company had both my pets’ microchip information and I didn’t have to call 15 companies. But if I had to …you bet I would!
So take it from me. First of all, make sure your pet is microchipped. Retain a record of which company has the registration. If your pet was microchipped a while back, research which company has your dog’s microchip number registered and then check that your contact information is up to date. We always hope that our pets will never get lost, but is is imperative that we take steps like microchipping to ensure a happy reunion. I’m so fortunate it has never happened to my pets! And I hope it never happens to yours! However, it is wise to be prepared in case.
Yours in better dog care, Judy.