SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

The benefits of microchipping your pet

Every day, animals go missing. Sadly, many are never reunited with their owners, simply because of a lack of identification. A microchip gives your pet the best chance of being reunited with you if they become lost or stolen.

Collars and tags alone are not effective at identifying your pet as these are easily removed or lost by your pet. A microchip gives your pet the best chance of being reunited with you if they become lost or stolen.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny chip with a unique ID number. About the size of a grain of rice, the chip is inserted under your pet’s skin by a vet. It only takes seconds to insert. The chip can be scanned at vet clinics and animal shelters to identify your pet. Since the 1st of July 2006, all newly registered dogs in New Zealand must be microchipped (with the exception of working farm dogs).

How will it help get my pet back?

If someone finds your pet and takes them to a vet clinic, SPCA or council, they will automatically scan for a microchip. When a microchip is found, they will look up the national database and contact you on the number you have supplied. It's ESSENTIAL to register your microchip on the national database and keep your details up-to-date.

How do I register the microchip?

You need to register your pet's microchip number alongside your name, address and contact details on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register, a national pet database.

When you have your pet microchipped at a vet clinic, ask the vet to place the chip details on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register, in addition to their own database. Most vets will do this for you but it's important to check.

If you adopt an animal from the SPCA, our centres will either register the microchip for you or advise you how to do it yourself.

Once your pet is registered with the NZ Companion Animal Register, please make sure to update your details if you move - there is no charge to do this. Simply visit www.animalregister.co.nz and update your information online.

If you have moved to New Zealand and your pet was microchipped overseas, please ensure to register them with our New Zealand Companion Animal Register, as many international databases are not available for our use in New Zealand.

Does my pet still need an identification tag?

Yes. Sometimes microchips can fail or you may forget to update your details. So you should also use a collar and ID tag with your phone number. This makes it easy for people to contact you if they find your pet. For cats, it's important to use a breakaway collar, so they can escape safely if they get tangled.

Microchipping facts

  • Microchipped animals are able to be reunited with their owners much quicker than those that aren’t. Following the Canterbury earthquake in 2010, well over 80% of microchipped animals were quickly reunited with their owners, whereas those that were without identification took longer.
  • If your animal is lost and taken into a vet clinic, SPCA or the council, it can be reunited with you within minutes or hours of being found if it has been microchipped.
  • Microchips are cheap and safe to insert by registered professionals. Check with your local vet, SPCA or council to see if this service can be done at a reduced cost.
  • The microchip lasts the lifetime of your pet, but you must keep your contact details up-to-date.
  • Microchipping can be used as legal identification if your pet's ownership is in dispute or if it is stolen.
  • Animal microchips don't include trackers or a GPS. Your contact details must be registered and up-to-date so you and your pet can be reunited

Talk to your vet today to ensure your pet is never lost again.

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