What is a dog’s microchip?
A microchip is a small inert chip, the size of a grain of rice, that is inserted under the skin of a puppy or kitten – like a large vaccination injection. This microchip sits under the skin permanently and allows a microchip scanner to read the unique microchip number, if the dog ever gets lost.
When a member of the public finds a lost dog or cat and takes them to a vet, pound or shelter, the organisation will read the microchip number using a handheld microchip scanner, that is waved over the dog's shoulders. Vets, pounds and council rangers all have access to microchip scanners.
The microchip does not track the dog automatically and they are not GPS enabled. (For more high-tech GPS capability, you need a GPS tracking collar, which are available online).
It is very important to have your puppy’s microchip transferred into your name as soon as possible, so that if your puppy escapes or gets lost, it is your contact details that come up on the database when authorities search the microchip number. This ensures it is you who is contacted, and not your breeder, who may be many kilometres away and unable to help.
Where does the microchip number need to be registered?
Your new puppy will be microchipped while they live with their breeder or rescue organisation, and they will give you a copy of this number when you pick up your dog.
Your breeder will already have registered the microchip number onto one of the 5 national databases:
Or for NSW breeders:
Or for SA breeders:
All microchips need to be registered with at least one database. In most jurisdictions, dog owners are also required to register the microchip with their local council, in addition to the database.
NSW & SA Dog Owners
NSW and SA each have their own state-specific microchip database, which is compulsory to register with if your dog lives in that State:
If you live in NSW or SA and your breeder is interstate, then you will be required to add your puppy’s microchip onto the local compulsory State database. Speak to your local council or vet about how to do this if your breeder has not done so already.
If your puppy is already registered in NSW or SA, it is still a good idea to also register with one of the national databases, in addition to the state database, just in case your dog goes missing whilst on holiday or is stolen and taken interstate. This means that if they are found and their chip is scanned interstate, authorities will still be able to find your contact details.
How do I transfer the microchip into my name and contact details?
The process of transferring your puppy's microchip number varies across different States and depends on which registry your breeder has chosen to use.
Most often, your breeder will either:
1. Give you signed transfer of ownership paperwork and ask you to send it off.
2. Ask for your signature on a transfer of ownership form that they will send off.
3. Tell you which website to use, to claim your puppy’s microchip and update your details.
Most breeders are experienced with this process and will help you through the transfer of ownership process or may even be able to handle the whole process for you.
If you and your breeder are not sure how to transfer your puppy’s details successfully into your name on the correct database, then speak to your local council for advice.
Keep your contact details up to date
It is very important to keep your contact details up to date on the database, every time you move house, get a new phone number or email address. If authorities cannot find an up-to-date contact associated with a lost dog, that dog may end up in the pound.
If your database allows you to list a secondary contact for your puppy, consider who the most practical option would be. If your puppy goes missing while you are on holiday for example, your immediate family are likely to be away with you. It would be sensible to list another friend or relative who is most likely to be contactable when you are not, and who can be authorised to give permission for emergency medical care, or to pick up your dog at short notice.
What should I do if my dog goes missing?
Check the website Pet Address, to search all the national databases for your pet’s microchip number and report them as missing.
Post on local social media pages that help raise the alarm for lost pets.
Ring around local vet clinics and pounds to leave a description of your pet and give them your pet’s microchip number to have on file.