Microchips: Fast, tiny, effective, and the answer to your prayers if you ever become separated from your furry friend. Dogs, cats, even bunnies and turtles, are implanted with a tiny chip scannable by almost every animal center in the country...okay, modern areas. But the chip is just about useless is you do not register it with your contact information. So if your dog or cat is not microchipped, get on this asap. If your dog or cat IS chipped, make sure it is registered to you and make sure all your information is updated, all of it, right down to your email. You can even provide them with a photograph!
- Dogs with microchips have a 65-78% return rate, dog's without them, 40-58%.
- Cats with chips have a return rate of 56% vs. a scant 3% of unchipped cats.
- About HALF! of implanted chips are not correctly registered, usually because the dog or cat left the rescue or vet with a chip and owners either forgot or were not aware they needed to register the chip with their information.
NOTE: No matter what manufacterer made the chip your pet has you can now choose to register that chip with a different registrar/database. So if you have a HomeAlone chip, you can register that with the AKC program, register your AVID chip with HomeAlone, etc, etc, etc.
There's not too much difference between the different registry companies, they range from $16-$21 for a lifetime registration (often pre-paid by the vet who implanted it), some offer additional services for yearly fees. Here is a list of chip registries that will register any manufacturers chip. All offer physical tags with your dog's microchip number as well as their phone number.
HomeAgain: The largest pet registry boasting registrations of over 6 million pets, and having recovered over 600,000 pets (what? oh come on). They have 2 programs. The one that is a simple registry, $16.99 for a lifetime. And then the proactive recovery service, full Home Alone Membership for $16.99 a year. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SUBSCRIBE to for fee service. The service includes faxes sent to shelters and vets within a 10 mile radius of your home if your dog/cat goes missing, printable posters, that type of thing. Which is great, but not sure how many faxes they would really send in a very highly populated area. All registrations can receive free photo dog i.d. cards for your wallet and keychain, order online (free, free s/h). I have the I.D's, they are so cute. 1-888-466-3242.
AKC: AKCCAR: Probably one of the larger registry/databases. No yearly fee. $17.50 online, $19.99 by paper methods for the lifetime enrollment for their "companion animal recovery" program. $10 each additional animal. No fees to update information. Text updates if you've lost your animal. (They also have a poison hotline enrollment program, a one time $19.99 fee means free calls to the poison hotline for life, usually $35/call). 800-252-7894.
AVID: No online registration. Price is $19.99 for lifetime registration, and $6 fee to update any information. 800-336-2843.
Petlink: $17 one time registration fee (free if your dog's microchip is a ResQ chip). Free poster emailed to you with the image of your animal if your pet is lost. 1-877-738-5465.
Microchip database: Register any maker's microchip here. $21 lifetime registration / No change fee. Will contact your closeby vets and shelters if your pet goes missing. They are not a chip manufacturer, and they don't have an 'about us' section on their website which I find annoying. :P. Only accepts paypal online, no credit cards. or mail in a ...check. lol.
Petwatch 24/7: I had a hard time finding the price of their service on their website. Not too comforting. Update: After your initial registration with your personal information if you would like to update your information at any time there will be a charge of $14.99! OR, you can pay $39.99 for free lifetime changes. lol. yeah, ok.
I use Home Again because it's what the vet implanted and whose registration form came with it. I like them a lot but I think it's shady to make it appear that you need to subscribe to their yearly membership for $16.99/year, and that's exactly what they do. It took me lots of scouring on their website to find out that the yearly membership is optional. And all the money they're fooling many to pay them is not used to enhance their services, because it doesn't take $16.99/year from millions of people to manage a database, but for a huge marketing campaign to ensure they have the largest share of the market. Fair enough, but if I ever lose my dog, they'd better use alllllll those resources damnit!
*quick note, if your animal does get lost, and you haven't registered the information, just find the chip number immediately and call the place who sold the chip to the vet/shelter and update right then (you'll want to call them regardless if your pet goes missing). Personally, I put my dog's chip number and registrar in my phone, JUST IN CASE!