The Microchip Hunters had 606 requests in 2018 from shelters, individuals, and animal rescues to trace untraceable microchips. We located owners in 42% of our cases. Although not every owner reclaimed his animal, we consider this a highly effective way to get animals home and increase shelter Return to Owner rates. This is a free service to trace so-called dead-end microchips offered by nonprofit organizations allied with Lost Dogs America & HelpingLostPets.com. This service is only possible due to our clever hard working volunteers and the agreements we have with microchip companies. Thanks also to the shelters in Chicago and San Antonio who use our service every day.
Home Again, 24 PetWatch, AVID, and PetLink provided the majority of cases, and in that order. It is gratifying to see their commitment to getting lost dogs and cats home.
Other companies can be split into two groups, responsible companies and bad actors. The other five responsible companies counted for 59 cases.
Unfortunately, the irresponsible companies, the bad actors, accounted for 43 cases. We did not find any owner information for these cases and none of the animals were reunited. The chips were worthless for getting animals home. Their purpose is to market microchips at a price to undercut their responsible competitors. No effort is made to register owners or even keep track of who the chips are sold to for implanting. With other companies, we often get animals with unregistered chips home, because we know who implanted the chip.
To dismiss these companies as nano or 900 chips, as is sometimes done, is an error. Nano refers to the size and there are some reputable companies using these smaller chips. In addition, not all 900 chips are bad actors and some irresponsible companies are using chips that start with other numbers. You can’t tell from the series number.
The bad actors make zero effort to gather or keep owner information. We could not even determine which company made a dozen of these chips, which is the ultimate in not providing information. You don’t even know who to call to find out there is no owner information. If you are undecided about which microchip to implant, ask your veterinarian, and remember, the lowest cost option is not always the best option to get your animal home. Keeping and maintaining owner information and sales information in a database is not cheap. Less expensive chips make a cost-cutting choice not to do that.
There were 6 overseas microchips and none were successfully traced to an owner in 2018, but we have succeeded with overseas chips in the past. We suggest that if your animal has an overseas chip, that you use the free registry, Found.org.
What can owners do? Have your veterinarian scan your animals annually and call to check your registration is correct. You may not have moved or changed your information, but it could have been entered incorrectly or corrupted in any number of ways. If you do not have a microchip from a reputable company, register it with Found.org.
What can shelters and rescues do? Use our short form to request us to trace chips that have you stumped. It is at MicrochipHelp.com We also have a comprehensive microchip format list that is yours for the asking at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will help you find the correct chip company when PetMicrochipLookup gives you a list of possible companies.
What can Good Sams do? Thank you for caring for found animals and helping them go home. Most lost animals don’t need a home, they need to go home! Hold that animal a few more day and see MicrochipHelp.com to submit a request for us to trace a chip.