<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1725998324363317&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Your guide to pet microchips and how they work

A microchip is a crucial first step in the international pet transport process. Almost every country requires pets to be identified by a microchip before import. Experts recommend microchipping your pet even if you don’t plan to travel with your pet. Hundreds of pets are lost, stolen or run away every year, and microchips are a successful way to unite pets with their families. Dogs, cats, horses, ferrets and other animals can be implanted with a microchip. Here’s all you need to know about pet microchips and why they are essential for international pet travel.

What are microchips, and how do they work?

Microchips are tiny rice grain-sized transponders implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. It has an RFID (radio frequency identification) transponder that helps with pet identification. Every microchip is associated with a unique number, which can be read with a microchip scanner. The unique ID is used to obtain your pet’s medical and contact information from the national database that the microchip is registered.

The microchip is a permanent identification chip for your pet. They are inert and do not transmit any information actively until scanned by a microchip reader. The microchip has no battery or internal power source and is not harmful to your pet.

The microchip contains your pet’s unique identification number and the contact number of the registry where the chip is registered. When a handheld scanner is passed over the chip, the scanner picks up the radio frequency of the chip and displays the encoded information. Your vet will be able to retrieve your pet’s details using this information.

Microchips generally remain in place after implantation, and the chances of getting lost in your pet are very low. A microchip is not a pet tracker; you cannot use it to track your pet’s movements. It is your pet’s permanent identification card if lost or travelling.  

Are microchip frequencies important?

Microchips come in several frequencies that need different scanners to read them. However, the 134.2 Hz chip has been universally accepted in recent years. This microchip meets International Standards Organisation (ISO) specifications 1784 or Annex A of 11785. It has a 15-digit numeric code for identification, where the first three digits represent the manufacturer’s or country code. Microchip numbers starting with 999 are unacceptable for international travel because they are not unique.

How is the microchip implanted in my pet?

It is a simple process; your vet will implant the microchip quickly and painlessly. The microchip is inside a tiny capsule made of bio-glass. Before inserting the microchip, your vet will scan it with a handheld scanner to check if the microchip number matches the one on the packaging. Then, the microchip is loaded in a large bore syringe and inserted in the folds of the skin between the shoulder blades. The process is painless for your pet. After the microchip has been implanted, your vet will scan it to ensure the chip is reading correctly.

Most pets do not feel any pain during the procedure, and it takes the same time to give your pet an injection.

My pet is microchipped. What next?

After your pet is microchipped, the next step is to register the microchip number with an appropriate agency. Your vet will help you with the documents for the registration. Most vets in Australia will register your pet’s microchip for you. This is a very important step in the process; an unregistered microchip contains no information, making the whole procedure pointless. Some of Australia’s popular pet registries are:

  • Central Animal Records
  • Australasian Animal Registry
  • Petsafe
  • Global Micro Registry
  • Home Safe ID

After registering your pet at the animal registry, update your contact information every time you change it. Most registries allow you to update information online on their websites. It is important to update the registry if your pet dog or cat changes ownership.

How do microchips help find lost pets?

When a local vet or animal shelter finds a lost pet, the first step is to look for identification tags. Failing which, they will scan the pet to check for microchips. If the pet is microchipped, the pet owner’s contact details can be easily retrieved through the registry, thus restoring the pet to the rightful owners.

Why are microchips required for international travel?

Microchips play a prominent role in the relocation process since they are a tamper-proof permanent identification for your pet. When preparing your pet for travel, the vet will implant the microchip first and then proceed with the other import requirements. The vet will scan the microchip at every subsequent visit before collecting samples or performing additional tests and treatments and record the number correctly in all records. Failure to record the microchip number will lead to your pet being denied entry into the importing country, or you will have to redo the affected tests at your own expense.

If your pet has two microchips, make sure you include both microchip numbers in all the paperwork. If your pet’s microchip cannot be scanned properly on arrival in the destination country, they will not be allowed to enter the country in most cases.

After your pet has arrived at the destination, immigration officials will scan your pet’s microchip to ensure all the accompanying documentation is true and accurate.

International pet travel specialists

Petraveller is one of Australia’s leading pet transport specialists, committed to providing exceptional care to your pet during their travel. If you plan to relocate overseas with your pet and are confused about the import requirements of the destination country, get in touch with Petraveller for more information on preparing your pet for export and a free pet travel quote.