It is very important to ensure your pet cat or dog is microchipped because if your pet cat or dog becomes lost, you are far more likely to be reunited if they are microchipped.
What is a microchip? How does it work?
A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small – about the size of a grain of rice – and is implanted with a needle subcutaneously (just under the skin) between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet’s neck.
Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. The microchip number is recorded on a microchip database registry with details about the animal and owner. Pet owners need to ensure their contact details are recorded on the database against their pet’s microchip number. Should your pet wander or become lost, vets, animal shelters and local councils can scan your pet for a microchip and contact you via the database.
It is very important to keep your contact details up to date on the database so that if you move house or change your phone number you will still be contactable in the event of your pet becoming lost/straying.
If a pet is transferred to a new owner, the new owner must ensure their contact details are recorded on the database.
Who do I contact if I need to change my contact details with my pet’s microchip registry database?
The easiest way to change your contact details is to search http://www.petaddress.com.au using your pet’s microchip number. Petaddress will redirect you to the database that lists your pet’s microchip number so that you may contact them directly. Some registries provide Change of Address forms on their websites.
If you cannot find your pet’s registry by searching on petaddress please contact your vet or microchip implanter (if you are in NSW your local council may also be able to direct you) to find out which database your pet is listed in. Currently there are 5 private microchip registries and 2 state government registries:
- Australasian Animal Registry
- Central Animal Records
- Global Micro
- NSW Government registry – the NSW Companion Animal Registry
- SA Government registry – Dogs and Cats Online (DACO)
Is microchipping my pet cat or dog compulsory?
In most states and territories microchipping is mandatory for cats and dogs (please see the article below ‘Is microchipping mandatory for cats and dogs?’). Ideally your pet cat or dog should be microchipped prior to you purchasing or adopting your pet. This is the only way to effectively trace the origin of the cat/dog. However, if your pet is not yet microchipped then we recommend that you make an appointment with your vet to have your pet microchipped (even in the Northern Territory where microchipping is not yet compulsory). Some local councils and animal welfare organisations can also microchip pets.
Is microchipping painful?
Microchipping is a quick (only takes a few seconds), safe and simple procedure and causes little discomfort. Some puppies and kittens may flinch or yelp as the chip is implanted, but the pain is minimal and short-lived and most animals will forget about it very quickly. Microchipping is very important for re-uniting lost pets with their owners. Should your pet go missing you are far more likely to be reunited if he or she is microchipped. The benefits of microchipping in terms of identifying a lost animal and reuniting them with their owner far outweigh any minimal, momentary discomfort.
When should microchipping be done?
Ideally your pet cat or dog should be microchipped prior to you purchasing or adopting your pet. This is the only way to effectively trace the origin of a cat or dog. However, if your pet is not yet microchipped then we recommend that you make an appointment with your vet to have your pet microchipped (even in those states where microchipping is not yet compulsory). Some local councils and animal welfare organisations can also microchip pets.
Where can I microchip my pet?
Only authorised microchip implanters are permitted to microchip pets. Vets and animal welfare organisations can microchip pets. Some local councils also organise microchipping days.