Pet microchips are not tracking devices in the traditional sense, but they can help locate a lost pet when certain conditions are met. Here’s how pet microchips work:
- Identification: A pet microchip is a tiny, passive RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) device implanted under the pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. It contains a unique identification number.
- Scanning: When a lost pet is found and brought to a shelter, veterinary clinic, or animal control facility, staff can scan the pet for a microchip using a handheld microchip scanner. The scanner reads the chip’s unique ID number.
- Database Lookup: The ID number is then used to look up the pet’s owner information in a pet microchip database. This database contains the contact details of the pet’s owner or the person responsible for the pet’s registration.
- Owner Notification: Once the owner’s information is retrieved, the pet owner can be contacted and informed about their lost pet’s whereabouts.
It’s important to note the following:
- Passive System: Pet microchips do not have GPS or tracking capabilities. They are passive devices that rely on someone finding the lost pet and taking it to a facility with a microchip scanner.
- Registration: Microchips are only effective if they are properly registered and the owner’s contact information is up to date in the microchip database. Neglecting to register or update the information can hinder the reunification process.
- Database Variations: There are various microchip databases, and it’s crucial to ensure your pet’s microchip is registered with a widely recognized and easily accessible database.
- Collaboration: Cooperation between animal control agencies, shelters, veterinarians, and rescue organizations is essential to ensure lost pets are scanned for microchips and their owners are promptly notified.
- Additional Tracking Devices: For real-time tracking of a pet’s location, separate GPS or tracking devices specifically designed for that purpose are available. These devices can be attached to a pet’s collar and provide location information via a mobile app or website.
In summary, pet microchips do not track a pet’s location but serve as a vital identification tool to help reunite lost pets with their owners when they are found and scanned at a shelter or veterinary facility. For real-time tracking, separate GPS or tracking devices are needed.