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Michael Hamilton By Michael Hamilton • April 29, 2020

Do I need to pay for this?

I recently came across a post on medium.com that makes the argument that microchip companies are greedy and you should never pay to register your pet’s microchip. This is just really bad advice.

A microchip simply will not work unless it’s registered in a database that is actively searched.

Microchip registration is NOT FREE. I repeat, NOT FREE.

Microchip registration is NOT FREE. There is no trickery or deception involved with this. They are providing a service to you. It costs millions of dollars to develop software, people to maintain it, inventories etc… All the paperwork and all the information on the microchip company web site is also transparent about pricing.

Nevertheless, there are many “free” registries out there that are simply vehicles to collect pet owner data that is sold to online retailers. For more information please see reasons not to register your pet’s microchip with a free registry.

It is your responsibility to register your pet's microchip.

Microchips are becoming more and more common every day. If you adopt a pet from a breeder, the pet will usually have a microchip already implanted. It is your responsibility to register it. If you adopt a pet at a rescue organization, microchips, vaccines, and sterilization are standard services that are all bundeld into the overall cost of the adoption fee. It is up to you to register the pet with the primary registry the chip belongs to for a nominal fee. (Click here to learn how to locate the primary registry associated with your pet's microchip).

In both use cases, the microchip number will either be handwritten on a post it or typed out on sticker that is adhered to a brochure with instructions on how and where register it. Unfortuantely, we have learned many breeders fail to inform the new pet owner to register the pet’s chip due to the potential push back from the pet owner not wanting to pay an additional fee on top of what they just paid to adopt the pet.

Microchips are not already registered

It cannot be assumed that the the facility (vet, shelter, rescue, or breeder) that implanted the microchip in your pet registered it for you or to themselves. This can often go awry when that happens. Further, it cannot be assumed that the microchip company registered the microchip to the said facility. At best, the microchip company (depending on the microchip company) may have a record of where the microchip was sent (depending on how well they keep track of their inventory), but this places way too much trust in the receiving facility keeping track of the pet that the microchip could have been implanted in and the person that adopted the pet. 

Further, it is up to you as a responsible pet owner to make sure your contact information is up to date and your pet’s photo is current. Are you going to contact the breeder or rescue whenever you get a new email, move, or get a new cell phone number? Probably not. 


Further reading:

Free microchip regitries and reasons why to NOT register your pets microchip with them

Updated Microchip Guide