With the rise in the number of dogs and increased travelling, it is important that dogs can be easily identified so that they can be returned to their owner if they should get lost.

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Electronic tagging

While tattooing continues to be practised in some countries, the electronic tagging (microchipping) of companion animals for identification purposes has become increasingly widespread. The technique involves implanting a microchip the size of a grain of rice under the dog’s skin with a syringe. The microchip is implanted in the right or left side of the neck or between the shoulder blades, depending on the country and serves as a transponder that can be read by a scanner from a distance of 10-20cm (4-8 inches). The scanner sends a signal to the microchip which turns it into an electronic impulse corresponding to a specific numerical code, unique to the animal, which is then sent back to the reader. All these numbers are held in a national database – the national databases will be consolidated into a European or even a global database in time – making it possible to trace lost dogs more easily.

The system, which was initially pioneered at the major international sled dog races in 1989, is now used to store permanent ID records of millions of dogs around the world. Indelible, impossible to forge, painless and totally passive, it is governed by ISO 11784 and ISO 11785, which cover implanted microchips and readers respectively, enabling every dog to be assigned its own unique global ID number, which can be read in most countries and certainly the whole of Europe. Some countries, including the United States, have opted for a different standard, which entails owners having their own reader when they travel to countries that have introduced the ISO standards.

New generations of microchips allow the storage of information readable by the same technology to be used for vaccination records and records about treatments for chronic diseases.

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Electronic ID for dogs

Animals are tagged electronically by implanting a microchip (or transponder) with a unique numerical code under the animal’s skin.
The implanted transponder enables identification of the animal using a scanner.



A needle-like trocar is used to implant the transponder and an ejector pushes it under the skin.

Transponder (microchip)


An electronic device contained in a biocompatible capsule. It is able to store and release information on demand, due to a numerical code identifying the individual animal it is implanted in.



An electronic device which emits an electromagnetic wave to activate the internal components of the transponder and transforms the signals it receives back into readable format on a liquid crystal screen.

What is the role of transponders in dog identification?

A microchip transponder is no larger than a grain of rice. It is used in the electronic identification of pets, possible for animals of each race and at any age.

The implantation of the microchip transponder by the veterinary surgeon is generally pain-free and requires no anaesthesia.

The microchip transponder includes an electronic system, cast in in glass. It does not react with the body tissues and can be implanted by the means of an injection under the skin of the animal. The transponder is electrically inactive and emits no radiation. The stored number only becomes activated and legible via a hand-held reader. The stored number only becomes activated and legible via a hand-held reader.

Microchip numbers according to ISO-Norm have 15 digits, are unique worldwide and guarantee therefore a clear method of identification. The repatriation of a found animal to its owner in the case of loss or theft is only possible if the microchip number is registered in a publicly accessible data base which is available around the clock and tracking is open for everyone.

Online registration and online tracking guarantee immediate and world-wide security for registered pets with ANIMALDATA.COM. The linkage with more than 50 European microchip data bases by EUROPETNET and PETMAXX supports the search abroad.

Responsible pet-owners have their animals identified by microchips. Veterinary surgeons and shelters check found animals to see whether they are identified by microchip and find the owner of the pet directly by online tracking with ANIMALDATA.COM.

Online-tracking with ANIMALDATA.COM is available worldwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Herbert Mueller,
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, (Austria)

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