For travel with pets, most countries require a pet microchip. This is where a Veterinarian records your Pet’s vaccination and identification information including regular vaccinations, Rabies, Titer test results, name and description. Although the US has no law requiring microchips for identification, it is mandatory for most travel.
What is a Microchip for Pets?
A microchip is a transponder that emits information by radio-frequency. It carries a unique identification number and is roughly the size of two grains of rice. When the microchip is scanned by a veterinarian, shelter or anyone with a scanner, it transmits the ID number. There’s no battery, no power required, and no moving parts. The microchip is injected under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades and can be implanted by a Veterinarian including Pet Supply stores.
Why Does my Dog/Cat need a Microchip for Travel?
Microchipping is voluntary but Mandatory for International Travel. Dogs, Cats and Ferrets are currently covered under the PETS travel scheme, along with cats and dogs. This means they can travel within Europe once they have a Pet Passport, which can be issued by your veterinarian.
You may be interested in: Guides to Get a Pet Passport or Import Permit for many countries in our Pet Passports page.
What Information is stored in My Pet’s Microchip?
A Veterinarian will record your pet’s vaccinations including Rabies vaccinations, booster and Titer test results.
Note for Rabies Vaccinations: if the vaccination is older than the microchip, your pet must be re-vaccinated to enter most countries. Pets must be vaccinated for Rabies More than 21 days before entry to most countries and 30 for some.
This information is included in the pet’s microchip. If your pet was vaccinated for rabies before the microchip was implanted, you pet must be revaccinated. The Rabies vaccine MUST occur the same day or after the microchip implant.
What Kind of Microchip Should I have to Travel with my Pet?
We recommend your pet have a microchip in the standard ISO compliant microchip format. Most country inspection services; veterinarians and animal shelters word-wide use the ISO standard.
ISO Standard Microchip?
ISO compliant (11784 and 11785) microchips are 15 digits long. The pet’s microchip ISO compatibility can be confirmed with the microchip manufacturer.
Not an ISO Standard Microchip?
If the pet does not have an ISO compliant microchip:
The pet will need to travel with a microchip reader that can read the microchip OR contact the Veterinary Officials at the intended port of arrival to verify that they have a reader capable of reading the pet’s microchip.
If a non-ISO compatible microchip was previously implanted and can still be read, then the Veterinarian can implant an ISO-compatible microchip in addition to the non-ISO one the pet currently has.
Rabies Vaccine For Pet Travel
Your Pet’s Microchip must be implanted on or before the vaccination for Rabies.
If your pet was vaccinated for rabies before the microchip was implanted, you pet must be revaccinated.
Because the information the USDA/APHIS Veterinarian needs to complete the Pet Health Certificate must be stored on the microchip. When your Pet is vaccinated (or a booster is given) the information is recorded on the implanted microchip.
Rabies Vaccination are given to your Pet in 3 Types of Dates (Validity): 1 Year, 2 Year and 3 Year.
Some countries only recognize the vaccination that was given to your Pet within the FIRST year before travel.
For Example, let’s look at entering England/UK with a Pet.
Pet Travel to England UK Rabies Vaccination
For example: England/UK accepts ONLY vaccinations less than 1 year between the injection and your Pet’s Travel.
So, if your Pet was given a 2 or 3 year Rabies vaccination within the last 365 days before travel, your Pet can enter England/UK.
If your Pet was given a 2 or 3 year Rabies Vaccination and it has been more than 365 days since the injection, your Pet will need a booster Rabies vaccination.
Valid 1 year Rabies Vaccination is acceptable
2 year Rabies Vaccination is acceptable if you are traveling within the first year since injection.
3 year Rabies Vaccination is acceptable if you are traveling within the first year since injection.
So, you need:
- A microchip implanted before the vaccination. I recommend the Standard ISO Compliant 15- digit microchip.
- A Rabies vaccination administered within 365 days of entry to England/UK.
Another example is Pet Travel to France.
Pet Rabies Vaccination is Mandatory in France
- Pets must be vaccinated for Rabies More than 21 days before entry to France. This information is included in the pet’s microchip. If your pet was vaccinated for rabies before the microchip was implanted, you pet must be revaccinated. The Rabies vaccine MUST occur the same day or after the microchip implant.
2. The Rabies vaccination valid for 1, 2, or 3 years are all acceptable. The vaccination must be valid at the time of entry to France.
3. Some EU countries have exceptions for pets younger than 15 weeks. France is not one of those countries. Unvaccinated pets younger than 15 weeks will NOT be allowed entry into France.
What does a Pet Microchip look like?
A Pet’s Microchip is about the Size of a Grain of Rice
Can I Microchip Other Animals for Travel?
Yes, almost all pets can have a microchip, including Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Tortoises, Birds, Ferrets and even Snakes. Microchips offer a more permanent way of making sure your pet is always identifiable and that you can always be contacted in the event of them being found.
What does a Pet Microchip Cost? Where Can I have a Microchip Implanted?
- Animal Rescue and Animal Shelters often have the most reasonable prices of between $10 and $25usd.
- Pet Supply stores such as PetSmart and Petco also implant microchips at a cost of about $25usd.
- Veterinarians and Breeders often charge between $20 and $50usd.
How Do Pet Microchip Registries Work?
Many different registries offer pet microchips, and each registry keeps its own database. Most registries charge a small up-front cost for a lifetime membership.
Some shelters will microchip all the pets they place and include the registration cost in the pet’s adoption fee. In those cases, the paperwork you’ll receive as part of your adoption should include the information on your pet’s microchip, including the microchip ID number and the microchip’s registry.
Fortunately, although different microchips transmit their information on different radio frequencies, most shelters, vet offices and animal control offices possess scanners that can read any type of microchip.
AHAA (American Animal Hospital Association) is the most widely used by Veterinarians, Shelters and Animal Hospitals.
My Pet’s Microchip Cannot be Found on a Registry.
If you do not get a match on AHAA, search other Registries. Most allow a search online for free.
Who Can Check if a Pet has a Microchip?
- Anyone with a microchip scanner.
- Animal Hospitals
How to Update My Pet’s Microchip Information?
- Determine the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip. This should be on any microchip paperwork you hold. Your Veterinarian can locate this for you.
- Determine which database holds your contact details. From your Pet’s microchip paperwork, or from the microchip company’s website, find out which database your pet’s microchip is registered on. Each microchip manufacturer contracts with a specific database.
- Fill out the change of details form. Each database will have a form you can fill out which will allow you to change your details. This may incur a small cost.
Are There Alternative Ways to ID a Pet?
A few countries allow a Tattoo as an alternative to a microchip but, for those that do allow a tattoo, usually it must be over 10 years old and clearly identifiable.
Want to Know How Old Your Adopted Pet Is?
any vaccination records on the microchip can tell you when it had its first vaccinations. If that was as a juvenile, you can get a better idea of how old your pet is.
Pet Microchips do more than help you find a lost pet, they are mandatory for travel to most countries because Veterinarians use them to store your pet’s vaccination and identification information including name, contact information, regular vaccinations, Rabies, Titer Test results and boosters.