The Inside Scoop on Registering Your Pet’s Microchip
Microchipping your pet is smart. Registering your pet’s microchip is brilliant. So, why don’t more people register?
It might be the one-time fee ($19.99 with Home Again, the company our clinic uses). It might be the “What else are they going to sell me” factor. It might be the “Registration form I got at the clinic is buried on my kitchen table and I can’t find it” factor.
Or that just could be what I tell myself you tell yourself.
Debunking the Registration Process
I’d like to share with you the process I went through, just like you would do when registering your pet’s microchip. I registered as a garden-variety pet owner and not as an employee of Den Herder Veterinary Hospital. I wanted to sign up online to save time and a stamp so my story is based on that. You are able to complete a paper copy of the registration form and send in a check if you prefer.
You start by creating an account at Homeagain.com. Fairly standard procedure and user friendly website. You can fill in all the wonderful info on your pet and even upload a picture. I liked that I could put notes on any medical conditions or unique things about my cats (e.g., one has no teeth).
I filled out the microchip ID number (if you don’t have that info, call your vet, they have it). You also assign a veterinary clinic. Assigning a clinic is helpful if you can’t be found. The microchip company can contact this clinic to help track you down. It is a good safeguard step.
What the Fee Does
I paid a one-time registration fee of $19.99. This fee permanently connects your info with the microchip number in your pet. Without registering your microchip and your pet is lost, the ID number will appear on a scanner, but no one will be able to put #123456789 with your information. Your pet is as good as gone.
Override the Auto-Renew
When I finalized the registration, they forced me to auto-renew my membership in order to pay. I despise when companies do this. I was disappointed, BUT the website has a choice for managing renewals after you pay. I immediately went in and disabled the auto-renewal.
You do NOT have to renew the membership each year to keep your contact information listed in their database. They, of course, want you to renew and they do offer some benefits if you do. Be assured, once you pay the $19.99 fee, you are in the system. Renewal is completely optional and up to you.
Free Pet ID Card
One fun perk, you can get a free Pet ID card. It is laminated, about the size of a driver’s license and has all your pet’s information and microchip number on it. I carry these in my wallet just in case. I don’t plan on losing our cats, but we have young boys who don’t close doors. But, they put the toilet seat down.
What Happens Over Time?
What happens after one year if you don’t renew? I did get a few emails that my cat’s membership was going to expire. I did let it lapse. All my contact information is still in their database even though I am not current on his membership with Home Again.
Tons of Emails or Not?
One final note, how much do they email and mail you? Overall, not much. Or at least not enough that I notice it. I did get an email or two from time to time, but it wasn’t anything clogging my inbox. I have not received any junk mail at home either.
The fee is just part of the process and is not much for a lifetime of security if my cats get lost. I didn’t have to buy services I didn’t want or need. I wasn’t spammed with email or junk mail. And registering online means I can stop digging for the form lost in the paper mountain on my kitchen table.
Please, please, please remember to register your pet’s microchip number with whatever company your clinic uses. Without this step, that microchip is as good as sitting in the box it came in.
Kirsten Linney has worked at Den Herder Veterinary Hospital since 2004. She started in the front office and now works behind the scenes educating clients and making them laugh through the clinic’s online presence. She grew up on a small farm north of Ames with dogs, cats, pigs, horses, sheep, and one cow. She and her husband have loved 6 different cats in their adult lives and currently are enamored with five microchipped cats. They also have three little boys, one of whom will hopefully become a veterinarian one day.