Around 8 million pets end up in shelters every year. And of those 8 million pets, only 20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are claimed by the real owners.
The use of microchips to identify lost pets has become increasingly popular. If you’re looking for an app to check if a pet has a chip, you could be in one of two circumstances:
- You have found a lost or abandoned pet, and the chip will help you find the owners.
- You just got yourself a pet and want to get them chipped for more security.
So is there an app to check a microchip?
Unfortunately, there is no single app to download to your android or iOS device to detect or scan a microchip. The reason is that microchips do not have a power source of their own. Therefore, you need a chip reader to scan RFID chips at present.
Microchips in animals communicate via NFC. Most phones cant read these RFID chips without an external scanner attached. In that case, you first need to find out if your phone is compatible with a scanner. The scanner will have an application to track the microchip number and get the owner’s details.
The thought of losing a pet can be a scary situation. While microchips do not offer real-time tracking, pets with microchips are often reunited with their owners, making it an important investment.
Some apps may, however, help you find out if a pet has a microchip. But you may still need to check up on the online registry or with a vet to get the pet ID and further details. In addition, these apps are not designed for NFC communication but may detect magnetic elements, so you know if the animal has a chip.
Pet safety is much more than just about microchips.
Here’s more information to help you understand the importance of chipping and what option you have for increasing your pet’s safety. Keep reading.
Detecting a Chipped Pet – Is It Possible with a Phone App?
The only way you can detect microchips in animals is by using specific scanners or chip readers. These devices should be in close range to the chip for easy detection.
A microchip is a tiny electronic chip sealed within a glass cylinder. It is no larger than the size of a grain of rice and is injected under the animal’s skin with the help of a hypodermic needle. As mentioned earlier, the microchip is an NFC device, which stands for Near-Field Communication.
Therefore, it is not possible to detect a microchip with a regular mobile phone. While there are apps you can find in the PlayStore or Apple Store, you cannot scan the type of RFID chips used in pets.
So how do you find out if a pet has a chip?
The best way is to take the animal to a veterinarian’s office and get it scanned with the right device for a potential chip. You can also take the animal to a nearby animal welfare center for a free-of-charge service. Once detected, the scanner reads the pet’s identity number making it easier to find the pet’s owners using the animal’s registered information.
Usually, the information includes the pet owner’s name, a phone number, or the details of the service that placed the chip in the pet. You can use this information to trace the real owners to return the pet.
It is important to learn about the limitations of a microchip. While it will help you find the real owners once you get your hands on the information, microchips aren’t GPS devices and will not trace the animal in real-time. So if this is why you want to microchip your pet, don’t do it.
With that said, you can get a GPS tracker for your pet as well. There are many amazing options that you can find online. The best part is that a GPS tracker is worn and not injected. The device is waterproof, and many have a surprising range. You can get a GPS tracker on your own without any assistance from the vet.
Tracking Your Pet – What Other Options Do You Have
As stated earlier, microchips cannot locate your pet in real-time. A microchip is not a tracking device that can locate your pet with the push of a button. And if that’s what you’re looking for to keep your pet more secure, here are some options you may want to consider.
You can consult your vet if you also want to add a GPS tracker for your pet. Unlike the microchip, a GPS tracker is worn, not injected inside the animal.
While there are no phone apps to see if a pet is microchipped – there are apps available that you can use to locate your pet if you’re using a GPS tracker.
So if that’s your main concern, maybe just getting a GPS tracker would work for you.
There are many options available that are appropriate for cats, dogs, and other pet animals. You can find them at your veterinarians, pet shops, and online shopping websites.
If you’re getting a GPS device for your pet, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- It should be appropriate for your animal in terms of size and weight. Make sure it is lightweight enough to keep your pet comfortable.
- A GPS collar is a simple, wearable device. The only thing you need to make sure of is that your pet wears the collar all the time.
- The GPS collar has a specific app associated with the device. Download it and follow the instructions to track your pet.
- The maker will provide you with the name of the app or a QR code for downloading it.
- The app can help you locate your pet and tell you the exact position of your pet along with the history of where it’s been.
- You get a notification if the battery on the GPS collar is low so that you can recharge it.
Unfortunately, a GPS can come off your pet, or the battery can run out while your pet is lost. So even that’s not the absolute best way to guarantee your pet’s safety. Therefore, it is best to speak to your vet and discuss a better option to keep your pets safe.
Everything You Need to Know About Microchipping Your Pet
The best part about chipping your pet is that it is not too expensive. And while the cost of chipping can vary from place to place, the peace of mind you get is worth it.
I will address a few important questions in this section to help you learn more about microchipping your pet.
Q. What exactly is microchipping and can it be done to any pet?
Microchipping is the process of placing a chip under the animal’s skin. The chip is normally injected between the shoulder blades, and each chip has a unique identification number read by the scanner.
Microchipping is more common in dogs and cats, but other animals are chipped, including ferrets, horses, and other mammals.
Q. Do I need a veterinarian’s assistance with microchipping? How long is the process?
Since the process is just like any regular injection, it will take only a few seconds to do the job. Completing the paperwork for the microchip takes much longer than implanting the microchip itself. And while it is not necessary to get it done by a veterinarian, I recommend a vet do it.
Q. Will microchipping hurt my pet?
Since the chip implantation uses a large needle, it would hurt about as much as a blood draw. Your animal would feel a pinch. Most people get the process done when their pets are being neutered or stayed.
Q. What about microchipping cost?
If you’re taking your pet to a veterinarian, it shouldn’t cost you more than $50. But you can reduce the cost if you’re getting the microchip while also getting other things done, such as a regular checkup, so you don’t incur the cost of a separate office visit.
Other than that, you can save on the cost by checking with local rescue groups or animal shelters.
Q. Can microchipping be dangerous?
There are reports of some cases with complications during the microchipping process. Even though it is extremely rare, it can happen. And that’s why I highly recommend that you take your beloved pet to a veterinarian even though there’s no law.
Q. Can a microchip really help me get my pet if they’re lost?
The microchip can help find your pet if someone picks it up and takes them to a vet or a shelter and get them scanned for a microchip. It is a common misconception that microchips work like a GPS device or a tracker. Unfortunately, you cannot locate your pet with a microchip. It will only work if someone finds your pet and get them scanned for the chip.
Once the chip number is identified, the person can then get in touch with the company to find the owner’s details. Another important thing to remember is that the chip is only as good as the registration. In simple words, just injecting that tiny piece under your pet’s skin isn’t enough. You need to get it registered and complete the paperwork to ensure it includes all the relevant information such as your name, phone number, etc.
It is also important to keep this information updated at all times so that it is easier to reach out to you in case of a lost pet.
So how does a microchip work? Check out this video for a more elaborate explanation:
There are advantages and disadvantages to microchipping and GPS tracking for your pet. I recommend that you do your research, speak to a vet, and weigh the pros and cons of each.
If you have just found an animal that looks like a lost pet, it is best to get them scanned at a vet or a local rescue so you can notify the owner. If you’re learning more about these options to keep your pet safe, I’d suggest you get them chipped and purchase a GPS tracker for the best of both worlds.
Lastly, I pray and hope you never lose your pet.