A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which has an identification number programmed into it.
The microchip is inert, has no battery and uses no energy, and will last for the life of the animal. The microchip is injected under the animal's skin between the shoulder blades and is a simple procedure, which causes no side effects.
To identify the animal, a scanner that reads microchip numbers is passed over the animal's skin. The scanned number can then be checked against a register, which provides details of the animal's ownership.
A microchip provides a permanent form of identification which can quickly reunite owners with lost or injured pets. This could literally save your pet's life. Sadly, many pets that end up in pounds and shelters are not identified and have to be euthanised because their owners cannot be located.
Microchips cannot be removed or fall off like the traditional collar and tag. Additionally, pet owners receive a discount on their registration fee if their cat or dog is microchipped.
Owners of newly microchipped animals will receive a certificate of identification from the licensed registry where information is kept. It is important to check the information on the certificate and make sure it is accurate. In future, if your residential or contact details change, it is vital that you update the information on the microchip registry.
There are a number of requirements in place to maximise the effectiveness of microchipping in returning identified lost pets to owners. Within 3 days of entering a pound or shelter, it is a requirement that cats and dogs are scanned to determine whether they are microchipped.
Information on the microchip registry can only be accessed by the authorised implanter, the owner of the animal, certain authorised government employees, and any other person providing the owner has given their consent, for the purpose of reuniting the owner with the animal.
State legislation changed so that all new pet registrations from 1 May 2007 must be microchipped. This requirement relates to all cats and dogs, kittens and puppies.
Our Domestic Animal Management Plan includes compulsory microchipping of all registered cats and dogs in the third year of the current plan.
Microchipping forms a permanent, but non-visible, form of identification only. Registration tags must still be worn by your pets to allow an opportunity for any person, or Council, that may find your pet to re-unite the animal with its owner.
According to the Detector Dog Program, all of their dogs are microchipped at 8 weeks. There are no exemptions for these dogs. As of 1 May 2007 this office has added the microchipping information onto their paperwork.
If you do not have the necessary microchipping paperwork, you will need to contact the Detector Dog Program to get it.
Implanting costs around $50 and is a one-off expense. Specially run microchipping days may even offer cheaper fees to microchip your pet.
Updating microchip data/information
There are two main organisations that keep the information on your pet's microchip up-to-date:
- Central Animal Records
- Australasian Animal Registry
Don't forget to notify these agencies in the event of a change of address or change of pet ownership.