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Microchip Registration Locator Tools Launched

New databases aspire to make it easier to track down microchip registration

News item written by Mary Straus, published in the Whole Dog Journal, November 2009

There are currently seven different pet identification microchip registries in the U.S., making it difficult to track down a found pet’s owner even when a scan finds a microchip number. Adding to the confusion, the chip’s manufacturer may not be the company that registered the chip. For example, I had a dog whose microchip was made by HomeAgain chip but registered with AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR). All the registries that exist in the U.S. will register their competitor’s chips as well as their own, but most charge a fee for doing so.

Two companies have emerged with Internet-based tools that make it easier for rescuers to quickly locate the owner of a dog with an implanted identification microchip: the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) launched its Universal Pet Microchip Lookup and Chloe Standard introduced ChecktheChip (UPDATE: ChecktheChip has since pulled the plug on their search tool). Each built a website with a searchable database of microchip numbers, and attempts to return information about where a microchip is (or is most likely to be) registered.

The AAHA's Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool relies on collaboration with microchip manufacturers and distributors, and so far supports four registries: AKC CAR (Companion Animal Recovery), HomeAgain, PetLink (resQ), and EIDAP. Three other registries -- Banfield, AVID and 24PetWatch -- are not currently supported, but AAHA hopes to expand its coverage in the future. (Update: as of 2014, AVID and 24PetWatch are still not covered, and Banfield is not mentioned and may no longer exist.)

When you enter a microchip number into the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool, it tells you where that microchip has been registered, the registration date (which may not be accurate at this time), the registry’s phone number, and a link to the registry’s web site. If a microchip number is not found in any of the supported registries, it gives you contact information for the most likely manufacturer and registries -- including ones not supported by the database.

Chloe Standard, a private start-up company in Mountain View, California, launched its website, ChecktheChip.com, in August 2009. The company hopes to finance its operation with advertising. (UPDATE: ChecktheChip went out of business a year after starting.)

According to a representative for Chloe Standard, the company asked various microchip registries for lists of their database numbers (minus owner information), but, the company says, the registries have been slow to respond. This means that in many cases Chloe Standard can identify only the chip’s distributor. When you enter a microchip number that is recognized, you are given the name of the registry, its phone number, and a link to the company's web site. In cases where a number is not recognized, ChecktheChip provides contact information for six registries: AKC CAR, HomeAgain, PetLink (resQ), 24PetWatch, AVID and Banfield. (Update: As of 2014, the following registries are covered: AKC Reunite, EIDAP, Found Animals, HomeAgain, HomewardBound, InfoPet, Microchip I.D. Solutions, Microchip ID Systems Inc., PetKey, PetLink, Save This Life, SmartTag Microchip and 911PetChip.)

To be certain that your dog's identification microchip is properly registered to you, and your contact information is current, enter his microchip number into both search tools. If the registration is found, you should check with the registries to confirm that the contact information they have is up to date. AAHA suggests that you contact the registry directly if your registration is not found in its database.

I tested several identification microchip numbers in both ChecktheChip.com and PetMicrochipLookup.org, with mixed results:

Both databases are still in an early stage of development, but as of this writing, AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool appears to be the more useful.

More information:

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