Before any dog can be sold, adopted or given away in Victoria, it must be microchipped. A microchip allows dogs to be reunited with their families if separated or lost.
Microchips are about the size of a grain of sand. Implanted in the back of the neck, microchips are safe, small and barely noticeable. They last the life of your pet, safely and inertly sitting under the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. They neither absorb nor emit any energy — they are inert, detectable only using a special microchip scanner.
Microchips contain a special fifteen-digit code unique to your pet. Should your dog arrive at a shelter or veterinary clinic, a staff member will scan the back of its neck to find the microchip. A special scanner will read the microchip through your pet’s skin, a bit like a barcode. This code corresponds to a file stored on one of Australia’s microchip databases. These databases include your name, home address and telephone number. By law, all animals that arrive at pounds, shelters or veterinary clinics must be scanned within three days. If your microchip registry details are up to date, the shelter or vet that has scanned your dog will be in contact with you.
Because all dogs in Victoria have to be microchipped before given away, sold or adopted, most microchips are inserted at a very early age. Using a special implanter device, a qualified vet will insert the microchip in the fleshy part of your dog’s neck between the shoulder blades. The procedure is quick with no side effects and very minimal pain. Getting microchipped is just like having an injection — at most, your dog will feel a minor, very temporary, sting.
The Victorian Department of Agriculture has licensed six companies as microchip registries. By law, all must communicate with one another, so pet owners need only register with one. When we microchip a dog at Karingal Veterinary Hospital or Ballam Park Clinic, we register the animal with Central Animal Records unless the owner requests otherwise.
Once microchipped, the pet owner will be given a Certificate of Identification, which should accompany the animal when they move home. This certificate will record the registry and the details with which the animal is listed. With this information, owners will also be told how to update these details should anything (e.g. address or phone number) change.
For more information about microchipping, visit our Pet Microchipping page.