Some Common Misconceptions About Microchipping

07.08.14 | WAIF

One of the worst feelings we can have is when one of our pets becomes lost. Without proper identification, there’s a possibility you may not be reunited with your pet.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are 2.5 times more likely and cats are almost 22 times more likely to be returned to their home from a shelter if they have a registered microchip. However, you might greatly increase the opportunity of return by simply having an ID tag on the collar with your pet’s name and phone number. That can be the quickest way to have your pet returned to you while a microchip provides a secondary means of protection. provides an immense amount of information about microchipping. In addition to having an ID tag with your phone number and pet’s name, consider including the microchip number as well. also shares some common misconceptions about microchips:

1. A microchip does NOT store any of your information. It only contains a unique 9, 10, or 15-digit number. In order for the microchip to work, it needs to be registered with an online registry such as the free Found Animals Microchip Registry. Be sure to check with your vet where you had the microchip procedure done to register properly. They’ll guide you on how to proceed with registering. By not registering your microchip, it could prove to be a useless tool by having the microchip procedure done at all!

2. A microchip is NOT a GPS. You cannot locate or “track” your pet with its microchip. GPS collars do exist but can be pricey, run out of battery life (will need recharging), can be taken off the animal, and most companies charge a monthly fee. A new company ( offers the smallest GPS collar and could provide a reasonable alternative.

3. You can register any brand of microchip with any registry…and you can register a microchip in multiple registries. If your pet has an AVID microchip, you can register it with HomeAgain, AKC, and Found Animals. The Found Animals Microchip Registry is a free nonprofit service and won’t charge a fee to register pets or update your information.

4. A microchip is NOT the way most pets get home. In fact, a collar with a tag (with a phone number at the minimum) can be the quickest way to get your lost pet home. It may sound simple but it’s visible and typically the first thing people look for on a lost pet. With this and the addition of a microchip, you’ll increase your chances of having your lost pet returned to you where they belong! Be sure to contact your veterinarian for more information.

WAIF does scan for microchips if a lost or stray pet comes to our shelter facilities. However, if you have lost your pet on Whidbey, we highly recommend contacting our shelter directly by calling (360) 678-8900 ext. 1100 to file a lost report. If you live on the south end of the island, you can call (360) 321-WAIF (9243) ext. 1100.

UPDATE: If you’re a pet owner with a smartphone, ASPCA now provides an app that is a must-have and it’s free! It shows you what to do in case your pet goes missing. It also allows you to store your pet’s medical records and information on life-saving decisions should a natural disaster occur. Learn more here: ASPCA Smartphone App.

Source(s):, AVMA, ASPCA

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