MICROCHIP COMPANIES COMPARISON
Feb. 2021


LONG STORY SHORT:

Having several dogs microchipped with different companies, I wanted to know what would happen should one of my dogs be found by a stranger. So I enlisted a friend who also had microchipped pets: one of us (the Finder) pretended she found a dog while the other (the Owner) was the pet owner registered with a microchip company.

(How about using a pet tracker? This maybe the best way to find your pet! Read about it!)

 

Of the 5 microchip companies we tested,

  • PetLink did great
  • Avid and HomeAgain did a good job
  • SaveThisLife works well for people who know texting.
  • 24PetWatch did a HORRIBLE job. If your pet has a 24Petwatch microchip, please read what happened below: an eye opener!!!!

Whichever microchip company you used, I would strongly suggest you test their services: Have someone who is not listed in their records call and say they found your pet, and see what happens (feel free to share this info with me.)

Below are the results of the tests we conducted, 24PetWatch being listed last... as they deserve to be. PLEASE READ!

Also these two (older, but still accurate) articles explains why you want to stick to a well-known, established microchip brand:

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Microchip Company: PetLink

Rating: Great

What they say they will do:

There is no charge to update your contact info with PetLink.

When your pet has been found, you will receive an email/phone call immediately with details of the finder/rescue organization holding the pet.

Petlink will not share the Owner's info with Finder unless Finder is an animal professional.

PetLink will make repeated attempts for up to 72 hours to contact an owner or alternative contact in the case of a lost pet.


What they did:

Finder called Petlink to report a found dog. PetLink asked if she agreed to have her contact info shared with the dog's Owner (agreed)

PetLink called Owner and connected her over the phone with Finder.

Owner got an e-mail with Finder's first name and phone #.

Owner also received a text message saying to contact Petlink about lost pet.

The first Alternate contact also received an e-mail.

The second alternate contact also received an e-mail.

Owner received e-mail asking to confirm that pet and owner were reunited.

 

Conclusion: PetLink services worked great!

They connected Owner with Finder (over the phone.)

They also sent an e-mail to Owner and they sent text messages to Owner and both Alternate contacts.

 

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Microchip Company: AVID

Rating: Good

What they say they will do:

 

2 types of membership: standard and premium.

We did not test the premium subcription.

 

With the standard membership:

With the standard membership, there is a $6 fee to update the contact info, but it is currently waived.

If your pet is found:

  • A PERSON will call the phone #s down the line and leave a message with a reference # to call back: home phone, cell phone, etc...,
  • If all the phone #s are outdated they will contact the alternate person, and if that does not work, they will contact the veterinarian.
  • They will send an e-mail.
  • In all cases, they will contact the owner.
  • Animal control and police witll get all the owner's info (name, phone #s, adress, etc...)
  • Veterinarians will get your name and phone #
  • Rescue groups and good samaritans will NOT get any contact info.

 

What they did:

Finder called AVID to report a found dog.

AVID gave Finder the dog's name but did not share Owner's info.

Finder gave her phone # and AVID put her on hold while they were calling Owner and gave Finder's first name and phone # to Owner.

AVID then told Finder that Owner would call her shortly, and told her Owner's area code (but not the full phone #)

 

Conclusion: AVID services worked well.

The fact that they would go down the list of all the telephone #s and contacts is a plus.

They could improve their services by directly connecting the finder and the owner over the phone and by giving the option, during registration, to give them permission to share the owner's contact info with the finder.

 

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Microchip Company: HomeAgain

Rating: Good

What they say they will do:

With the standard membership, even "expired", If a pet is found, A PERSON will call the phone #s down the line and leave a message: home phone, cell phone, etc..., if all the phone #s are outdated they will contact the alternate person.

They will send an e-mail,

In all cases, they will contact the owner.

Animal control, police, shelters and vets witll get the owner's info (name, phone #s, adress, etc...)

Good samaritans will not get any contact info.

 

What they did:

Finder called HomeAgain to report a found dog. They told her the name of the dog and asked where she found the dog: the city, state and zip code.

HomeAgain told Finder that they would call Owner but they did not put her on hold while they did.

HomeAgain called Owner and gave Finder's phone #. Also said to call them back if there was any problem.

Someone else with HomeAgain then called Finder and told them that Owner was going to call her.

 

Conclusion: HomeAgain services worked well.

The fact that they would go down the list of all the telephone #s and contacts is a plus.

They could improve their services by directly connecting the finder and the owner over the phone and by giving the option, during registration, to give them permission to share the owner's contact info with the finder.

 

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Microchip Company: SaveThisLife

Rating: Great, IF you are texting-savvy

What they say they will do:

This system works great for people who are comfortable with texting. For those who are not, you can speak to a human but reaching one is not as easy.

They will send the Finder's info to the owner via e-mail or text. And if the Owner does not respond within 24 hours, they will call the owner. They will also try to reach an Alternate contact.

 

What they did:

  • Finder called the SaveThisLife phone #, pressed 1 (Found a pet), had to type in the microchip # and got an automated voice message saying that this microchip was registered in their platform and that they would text Finder a link to a form to contact the pet parent.
  • Finder can also Google the microchip # and get to the same point.

Either way, Finder got a picture of the dog with the pet details (name, microchip #, gender, color and breed) and a button to "Contact pet parent"... A new form "Notify pet parent now" asked for Finder's e-mail address (optional) and phone # .

It also asked Finder to enable location services in her browser settings, so that Finder's location would be sent to the Owner.

Owner got a text message right away with Finder's e-mail address and phone #. She would also have received a map if the location services on Finder's phone had been enabled.

.........................

Finder later called again and this time pressed 3 (Everything else) and spoke to a person while pretending to be an older person who did not understand texting.

SaveThisLife asked for the microchip # and said she would send a text message to the Owner... And Owner did get a text message with Finder's phone #.

 

Conclusion: SaveThisLife services work great if both the Owner and the Finder are text-savvy. If you, as a pet owner, do not have a smart phone or do not understand texting, SaveThisLife is probably NOT for you!

You can speak to a human if after dialing SaveThisLife's number, you press 3 “Everything else” instead of 1 “You found a pet”.

 

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Microchip Company: 24PetWatch

Rating: F-

What they say they will do:

2 types of registration: basic and full

Full can be by year ($29.95 for the first year, and $19.95/year thereafter), or for life ($95.95). We did not test that type of subcription.

 

With the basic registration: Only one owner, one phone # and one e-mail address will be contacted. No other phone #s or e-mail addresses will, no emergency/alternate contacts will be contacted. They won't let you update your contact info unless you upgrade your subscription (i.e. at least $19.95)

If your pet is found, 24PetWatch will make one AUTOMATED phone call and send ONE e-mail. If the phone # or e-mail address are outdated, NO FURTHER attempt is made to contact the owner.

24PetWach will provide the info (owner's name, phone # and work phone #, and e-mail address) to the good samaritan or facility who has the pet.

If your pet is missing, you can connect online and enter the pet as missing (but they won't do anything about it)

 

With full registration, the phone call is made by a human.

There can be more than one person and phone # entered in the system and also emergency/alternate phone #. You can update the contact info.

We did not test this.

 

What they did:

Our dog was microchipped in September and I (emphasis on I) filled out the info (dog info and contact info) with 24PetWatch for a basic subscription.

A friend called in January, saying she found our dog: 24PetWatch did a terrible job.

Another friend tried again 3 weeks later: again, 24PetWatch, did a terrible job.


The first test (Jan. 19, 2021):

  • They did share outdated contact info with the finder.
  • We were not contacted at all: we received zero phone call, and zero e-mail.

I did call 24PetWatch to complain.

 

I had given them correct contact information when I registered this dog, in September but instead, they gave outdated phone # and e-mail address to the finder and used these to contact us (they had been entered for a different dog, on a different account, years earlier)

 

This was a test. Had it been real, I would never have found my dog!!!!!
After I complained, they fixed their records.

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The second test (Feb. 04, 2021):

  • They did share our current contact info with the finder.
  • We received one 32-second automated phone call, almost 2 HOURS AFTER the pet was reported found, with no option to repeat the message (if you did not understand it... too bad) It said that they would keep calling unless I pressed 9. I did not press 9 yet this is the ONLY phone call we got.
  • We did receive an e-mail, 2 DAYS LATER

 

I called 24PetWatch to complain.

    • After I explained my case, I was supposed to be connected to a supervisor... but it did NOT happen and I had to call again the next day to speak to the manager of the Lost and Found Pets department.
    • Both she and the first person tried to turn the table around, saying I should have logged in and filed a Lost Pet report. What if I didn't know my pet was missing?
    • They said that they placed a call to me on Feb. 04, which was answered (yes, the automated call, see above) then called again on Feb. 05, Feb. 06, Feb. 07, Feb. 08 and Feb. 09 (I did not get ANY of these calls) and that every time, they got an error message from the carrier, which meant that my phone was either blocked or the number was invalid. My phone was working just fine and I got several other calls on these days!!!!!! Either way, since THEIR phone system was at fault, they could have tried the work phone # listed for the pet's owner. But they did not.
    • The manager also tried to talk over me, about their other types of subscriptions: I DO NOT CARE! They took money to perform a crucial service and they failed terribly, TWICE!

    The ONLY good thing about the 24PetWatch basic subscription is that they share your contact info with the finder IF you gave them permission to do so when you entered the info. So make sure you do that because If you don't and their services do not improve, you may never get your pet back.

    (Keep in mind, though, that the finder may fail to contact you.)

     

    Conclusion: In these 2 tests, the services provided with the 24PetWatch basic subcription were terrible, basically inexistant, TWICE. Your pet being microchipped with them gives you a false sense of security. CHOOSE ANOTHER MICROCHIP COMPANY!