Last Updated on December, 2022
The sight of a lost pet wandering off the roads is heartbreaking. Your dog, cat, rabbit, goat, or any other pet has every right to come back to you safely if it happens to get lost due to an accident.
The microchip inserted inside the pet recovers its identity and aids in reuniting it with its owner. But how to check whether a pet is chipped, are there smartphone apps which come handy for these purposes? Or must you visit the vet anyhow?
The short answer to the question, “Is there a phone app to check if a pet’s chipped” is “No”. You must buy a separate scanner for this purpose, or you should visit the vet.
Keep reading, and you’ll have a clear idea of micro-chipping and its follow-ups.
A microchip is a tiny, unique, radioactive material injected under a pet’s skin that stores an identity number which can be read by a pet scanner.
Microchipping is only useful if the pet is registered in a database with the pet owner’s name and contact info, which a phone app cannot do.
GPS trackers are an alternative to microchips that can be used to track a pet’s location in real-time, but they require charging and changing batteries.
Table of Contents
- What is a Microchip?
- The Registration Process at Micro Chipping
- Why Check Through an App, If it isn’t Possible?
- What is a Pet Scanner?
- How to Scan a Pet for a Microchip?
- Alternatives to Microchipping
- Final Verdict
What is a Microchip?
A microchip is a unique radioactive material having an identity number.
It is tiny, about the size of a rice grain. It is placed under your pet’s loose skin, generally between the shoulder blades. It is sometimes said to migrate to other parts of the pet’s body, but it usually stays where it was placed.
The microchip is injected into your pet’s skin through a hypodermic needle. The process takes a much shorter time, say a few seconds. But the paperwork or the registration process consumes some time.
Microchipping can be done at a veterinarian or larger pet stalls.
How Does a Microchip Work?
A microchip works with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology. As the name suggests, RFID uses radio waves as a medium to transmit information.
The microchip or RFID tag stores data or the identification number, and the number can be interpreted with a pet scanner.
A microchip has no power source like a GPS tracking system. It has no batteries, so charging and changing batteries become unessential. Due to this reason, a phone app cannot be developed to detect a microchip.
Typically a microchip works as long as the lifespan of your pet. That is, it can stay active for up to 25 years.
Related article: Can You Read Pet Microchip With a Phone?
The Registration Process at Micro Chipping
Microchipping becomes useless or invalid without registration. It is merely a unique number. That number should be associated with the databases having more details on that identity. You must register your microchipped pet with the companies involved in the registration process.
Registration could be done online or at the veterinarian’s office.
Why Check Through an App, If it isn’t Possible?
Advances in technology make the life of a pet and its owner smoother. Even though many smartphone applications are used to track a pet such as health and fitness applications, pet training applications, pet product applications, the applications to detect a microchip are yet to improve.
Fortunately, some phone apps detect the identification of a chipped pet with the aid of a pet scanner. There is no phone app alone that can read a pet’s microchip.
What is a Pet Scanner?
A pet scanner or a microchip scanner becomes essential in confirming the location of the pet’s microchip.
Microchip scanners primarily function on three frequencies; 125kHz, 128kHz and 134.2kHz. Depending on the type of scanner, detectability differs. Some are designed to detect only one of these frequencies. While others, commonly called ‘universal scanners’, can read or detect all three frequencies.
The digits a microchip scanner can read vary between brands. Generally, pet scanners come with 9, 10 and 15 digits readability.
A pet scanner can store up to 2000-3000 numbers. You can test different pets multiple times with a single pet scanner or the interrogator.
You can connect a pet scanner to a PC with a USB. Then the data can be interpreted, and the pet’s identification can be verified. Some pet scanners are Bluetooth-compatible.
How to Scan a Pet for a Microchip?
Follow these seven steps to detect the microchip and identify the pet.
- Test the scanner: Have a test microchip nearby and ensure that the scanner is working correctly.
- Place the scanner in the correct alignment: Position the scanner parallel to the pet. Place it with a light touch or keep a gap of one inch.
- Slightly move the scanner. Move the scanner in a pattern; that is in an ‘S’ shape. It will help detect microchips in all orientations.
- Spend some time scanning: Spend between 10-20 seconds scanning. Wait to move the scanner at most six inches per second. It can take up to two minutes to detect a microchip.
- Begin scanning with the shoulder blades of the pet: Since shoulder blades are where the pet’s microchip is generally implemented, start from there. Then move to both shoulders and from head to tail.
- Find out the microchip.
- After detecting the microchip, check where it is enrolled on the registry or the pets’ database.
Worth reading: How Can I Find a Lost Dog With a Microchip?
Alternatives to Microchipping
Traditional Collar Tag
In the olden days, a tag containing the details of the pet’s owner, such as the owner’s name, contact no and address, was written on a card and tied around the pet’s neck.
A GPS tracker is a tracking device that conveys your pet’s location through a mobile app.
Its size is similar to a matchbox. It is worn on the pet’s collar. Its weight is around 35g, a lightweight material which even a small-sized pet can carry.
A GPS tracker’s price starts from $50.
Want to know what is the difference between Dog microchips and GPS trackers? Checkout this guide!
Unfortunately, even though there is no phone app to check whether a pet’s chipped, you can check it through a pet scanner or by visiting the vet.
If you want to find out your pet’s movements and want to track its location, you might try using a GPS tracker, In addition to a microchip.
Checkout the best GPS trackers for your dog here.
Pet safety matters a lot. Value it by microchipping. But don’t limit it to that only.
Just as you have your ID, Let your pet have one.
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