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Microchip Tracking: How Not To Lose Your Pet!

Microchip Tracking: How Not To Lose Your Pet!

Pet Search - 1300 309 004
As published in The Pet Directory VIC, SA & TAS Edition

Losing a beloved four legged family member can be heartbreaking and end in tragedy. Pets can be lost during a family outing or holiday, jump from the car, escape from the yard or worse still, be a victim of animal theft. Pet owners therefore would benefit from the advice offered by Lee Jefferies from Pet Search on how to make your pet more ‘findable’ should you somehow lose contact. There are various ways to make your pet ‘trackable’ should the worst happen.


Microchipping is becoming a widely accepted way of identifying dogs, cats, and some other pets. Various dog tag systems are also available. As yet however we don’t have a complete Australia wide system.

Microchipping is highly recommended but not a complete solution. Currently microchipping is not compulsory Australia wide, and therefore not every animal is microchipped, in fact even in NSW where it is compulsory, there are still a huge amount of animals not microchipped. It is not compulsory for vets or other animal agencies to scan animals who are taken into their facilities. We are quite a way yet from a centralised system of hardware and processes that would guarantee a pet’s return to their rightful owner.

There are still a number of animal agencies across Australia that do not have a microchip scanner, the reason for this is because a microchip scanner does not directly bring in an income for the organisation and they cost between $400-$800 to buy, so it is not normally high on the list of essential equipment to purchase. Some animal organisations and small vets are just not financial enough to consider such an outlay with their limited funds going to feeding, housing and medical expenses for the dogs and cats in their care.

Besides this, there are also different types of microchips, which means that not every scanner picks up every microchip, which has led to the development of a series of “multi readers”, so there are an even bigger number of vets out there that originally purchased a scanner which picks up a certain type of microchip, but are not able or willing to purchase a multi reader. To confuse things even more, there are 2 types of multi readers, those that detect and read all types of chips, and those that just detect all microchips, but can’t actually read them all. Eg it can say a message saying “yes there is a microchip in this animal, but I can’t read what it is”.

Here is a real life example of what can happen to a lost dog .... a dog escapes from its home, someone picks it up and takes it in and decides to keep it as their own pet. In a year’s time, they take it to the vet for a checkup and vaccination and the vet creates a new record for this person and the animal and gives it treatment.

There are no checks done on the microchip and no proof of registration needed. If the vet had been able to scan the dog and checked the registry for the owners details, they would find that the dog had been reported missing and did not belong to this person. This one microchip check may have gotten this little dog home to his rightful owners......

There are some good services running that help people to locate their lost pets run by animal welfare and private agencies. If your dog is lost contact vets in your area immediately. Let them know that your dog or cat is lost just in case someone brings him/her in for treatment. Contacting vets via email may not be the best option. Vets spend most of their time in consultations, not at a desk, so we have found that they only check their email’s at night and very often only a couple of times a week, so we find that sending or dropping off a printed poster of a missing pet which they can put directly onto their noticeboard is much more successful and makes helping you easier for the vet.

1. Ensure your pet’s microchips work (by having them regularly scanned).
2. Record in your paperwork where the microchip is located in their body (e.g one of my dogs microchips is now in the base of her leg and doesn’t appear using the normal scanning technique at the vet).
3. Ensure you check and update the details on the microchip with phone numbers, addresses, and make use of the secondary contact space that is available on the microchip, eg put a person’s phone number and address on there that you know is unlikely to move or change (eg grandma, retired parents).
4. Have your pets wear a collar and ID tag.
5. Get your vets to record your animal’s microchip details on their records.
6. Take regular photos of your pets, so you always have an up to date photo of what they look like.
7. Desex your animals, as this can reduce their likelihood to stray and also reduce the likelihood that someone will try to keep them if they do stray. (The most common reason animals are stolen is due to using them for breeding).

Fingers crossed that you never find yourself in the tragic situation of losing your pet but do consider a microchip and an ID tag as well as the other advice above to give you and your pet a much better chance should the worst happen.


Don't hesitate to contact us at anytime on: 1300 309 004. Our pet detectives are available 24hrs a day / 7 days a week to help you find your lost pet and help you reunite any stray animals you take into your home. Ask us about how we can distribute posters to help find your missing pet and how just by contacting Pet Search, we can help you search for your lost pet across Australia! Search our missing pets database on our website if you have lost or found a pet.

Pet Search exists to help locate lost pets across Australia. We collect information from all of the places that accept stray animals, as well as members of the public, who often sight or pick up stray animals, and when someone contacts us about their missing pet, we can search through this information and match up the missing pets with the found pets and get them home. We also distribute posters to vets, pounds, the RSPCA, animal welfare shelters, police, pet businesses etc with details on their missing pet. We don’t rely on a microchip, to us, it is just another form of identification, just like a collar and a tag. All of our reuniting comes from matching descriptions of animals that are being held anywhere in Australia.


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