A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice (12mm) and is implanted beneath your pet’s skin, between the shoulder blades. The procedure is similar to a vaccination shot and takes a few seconds. The microchip contains a number unique to your pet and is used as an identifier when scanned by a shelter or vet.
It’s important to register and store your contact information in a registry (database) and keep it up to date so you can be contacted should your pet be lost and then found. The microchip is only as powerful as the registration, as it is not a tracking device. Learn more about how microchips work here.
The use of microchips significantly increases the chance that a lost pet will be returned to its family, reducing euthanasia of unclaimed pets. But leaving your pet chipped but unregistered defeats the very purpose of the chip.
Many registries claim to be free, but often charge for updates and other hidden fees. Learn more from Michelson Found Animals Foundation founder Dr. Gary Michelson’s USA Today op-ed.
Here is a list of places where you can register your pet’s microchip for free.
Michelson Found Animals started the first free microchip registry in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Pethealth purchased the Found.org microchip registry in 2021 and launched a new registration portal called 24PetWatch.
You can register your pet’s microchip and your contact details into 911PetChip’s free pet chip registry database so your information can be found in the event you are separated from your pet. It is free for the life of your pet and can be used by anyone with any brand of microchip. There are no fees for registration, maintenance, or updating your contact information.
Enrollment is only “free” for those who received chips with prepaid enrollment. Lifetime enrollment is $19.50 online. There are no annual fees. Enrollment will help ensure the safe return of your pet when they are found.
Offers free registration of SmartTag chips but not for other brands. The SmartTag microchip is a permanent pet ID with a one-time lifetime registration that also comes with a visible metal SmartTag pet ID. The SmartTag microchip also has an anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique ID code. This is the number used by SmartTag to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet.
Do you have questions about these registries or about microchipping your pet in general? Reach out to us here.