Microchip, Rabies & Licensing




Letter from the County of San Diego

Department of Animal Services

5480 Gaines Street, San Diego CA 92110-2687



To Governor Animal Clinic, March 9, 2006

Revised County Dog License Application

As you know, dogs four months of age and older are required to be currently vaccinated against rabies and licensed. A dog's license tag, which must be securely fastened to the dog's collar or harness and worn by the dog at all times, provides a uniform system of external identification, as well as a visible means of ensuring that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

Along with the external identification provided by a dog license tag, the internal identification afforded by a microchip can enhance the safety and security of pets and peace of mind for their owners. To promote pet identification and facilitate our ability to quickly identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners, the revised County of San Diego Dog License Application now includes two new fields for the entry of a dog's"Microchip #" and the applicable microchip"Manufacturer".

Please encourage your clients to take advantage of this safe, simple and permanent form of pet identification, and let them know that the Department can note the microchip number in our records, and contact them promptly if their pet is ever brought to the animal shelter-with or without external identification.

The Department is in the process of providing every local veterinary facility with the newly revised County of San Diego Dog License Application forms. When you receive the new forms, we ask that you discard your remaining supply of applications, and begin using the revised forms immediately.

We appreciate your efforts in promoting animal health and safety.


Dawn Danielson, R.V.T.



Letter reprinted with permission by the County of San Diego, Animal Services




How to Obtain a License


  • The owner of every dog over the age of four months is required by law to ensure that his or her pet is currently vaccinated against rabies (SDCC Section 62.610) and licensed (SDCC Section 62.620[a]). (Dog owners who fail to comply with rabies vaccination or licensing requirements are subject to costly penalties.)

  • Rabies vaccination of dogs (a prerequisite for licensing) has been highly effective as an animal and public health measure, and is especially important in areas like ours where the potential threat of exposure to rabies from wildlife is a significant concern. The primary or first rabies vaccination is good for one year, and the second vaccination given one-year later, and subsequent (or booster) vaccinations are valid for three years.

  • A dog's license tag, which must be securely fastened to the dog's collar or harness and worn by the dog at all times (SDCC Section 62.620[e]), provides a uniform system of identification, as well as a visible means of ensuring that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

  • Finders of licensed dogs can access owner information 24 hours per day, 365 days per year by telephone and website. Lost dogs that are found wearing license tags can be quickly reunited with their owners, while dogs lost without external identification may be kept by their finder or brought to an animal shelter long after the owner may have given up searching for it.

  • If you've recently moved to San Diego County and your dog is currently licensed elsewhere, you may be able to transfer that license for a nominal fee for the duration of the rabies vaccine, if the vaccine has been approved for use in California.

To license your dog online, or to print out a license application form, go to;


Complete with instructions, and easy to do!



A license is not required for cats in San Diego, with the exception of the City of Coronado.

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA recommends microchip identification, having a collar and ID tag, and keeping cats indoors.

Indoor cats should receive rabies vaccinations every three years.





 Is your pet protected from running free?



Why would an owner want to microchip their pet?

A dog should always wear his or her license tag. However, collars or I.D. tags can become detached leaving the pet without any visible identification. A microchip is a permanent device that enables shelter personnel to locate a pet's owner should the pet become lost.

Why would an owner want to microchip their pet that never gets out of the house or yard?

Many animals that live exclusively in the house or yard can still become lost. A family member or visitor can inadvertently allow a pet to escape through an open door or gate. In other cases, pets may seek safety from the noise associated with fireworks or thunderstorms. The recent tragedy of Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example of why pets should be microchipped. Owners should be prepared and ensure their pets can be identified.

How long does the microchip last?

Microchips will remain active for the life of the animal.

Can an owner's address information be updated if he or she moves?

Yes. This is extremely important. The owner should contact the Department and Microchip Company to ensure that both databases contain current information.




Microchip For Safety


Since 1995 all the shelters and humane societies here in San Diego have been participating in a microchip program. That means that every pet adopted out comes with a microchip...... and every pet found and brought in gets scanned to quickly link up the lost pet with its owner.

We offer micro chipping and have on premise a universal scanner capable of identifying all microchips on the market. Over the years many pets loose and wandering the streets have been brought to our clinic, scanned, and successfully reunited with their owners!! (there is never a fee for scanning)

Please consider safeguarding against the loss of your family pets. A simple, painless injection means a lifetime of protection.

We will discount a microchip insertion in your pet when done in conjunction with any anesthetic procedure.


Microchip Q & A;


What is a microchip? A tiny computer chip, the size of a grain of rice, each with an identification number. The chip is encased in biocompatible glass and once an animal is injected with a chip, it can be identified throughout its life with this number. This is permanent and cannot be altered. There is no power supply, battery or moving parts. The microchip is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.


How does microchip id work? A special scanner is used to send a radio signal to the chip to read the id number. The number is then displayed on the scanner screen. The national registry can be notified, and the pet can be reunited with it's owner. It is now standard practice for animal shelters to scan all incoming pets.


How early can puppies and kittens be microchipped? Young pets can be microchipped as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. Mice, baby birds and even fish are microchipped, using the same size microchip and needle.


Does my pet have to be sedated to get microchipped? No. This is a quick and painless procedure. Injecting a microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination.


Could my pet be allergic to the microchip? The microchip is inert, smooth, nontoxic, and non-allergenic.

How do I update information in the registration? After your pet is chipped, you will be given information about how to contact the national registry to update your information. Remember to do this whenever you change your address or phone number.





Tips on helping to bring your lost pet home


1. Start your search immediately.

Search your neighborhood, both on foot and by car, knocking on doors for a two block radius of where you last saw your pet. Ask neighbors to keep watch for your dog, and post "lost" notices in your neighborhood.

. Be sure to check all the shelters in your area IN PERSON at least once every 72 hours. Call the shelters in-between visits.

Check the "Found" ads in all local newspapers.

Run a "Lost" animal ad in your local paper.

Remember, pets with tags may lose them.

Microchipping your pets is an inexpensive way to permanently keep information available to shelters and veterinarians who may have your pet in their care.
Citizens who find lost pets may hold them a few days before turning them in. Above all, don't give up hope, be sure to keep checking.
License your dog and keep your address and phone number current with the licensing agency. Keep name tags with phone number and address on all pets, at all times.
A current photo of your animal is a valuable aid in recovering lost pets. San Diego County Shelters service all of San Diego County with the exception of some incorporated cities.

South County Shelter; 619-263-7741

Central County Shelter; 619-236-4250 (City of San Diego and Beach areas)

North County Shelter 760-438-2312



San Diego Humane Society and SPCA; 619-299-7012



Rancho Coastal Humane Society; 760-753-6413



North County Humane Society & SPCA; 760-757-4357



Escondido Humane Society; 760-888-2275





"Why is it that my heart is so touched whenever I meet a dog lost in our noisy streets? Why do I feel such anguished pity

when I see one of these creatures coming and going, sniffing everyone, frightened, despairing of ever finding its master"? Emil Zola


 The Home Again microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and minimal, if any, discomfort to your pet when implanted.












FAQs for AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool


Why was this tool created?


Combined with a collar and current name tag, a microchip increases the likelihood of a lost pet being safely reunited with its owner. However, even with a microchip scanner, identifying the correct pet recovery registry to contact can be challenging because microchip manufacturers and pet recovery services use different microchip technology and databases.

To alleviate the guesswork for veterinary hospitals, animal control facilities and shelter staff members, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) created the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. The tool is possible through an unprecedented collaboration between the participating microchipping and pet recovery companies. Although the launch of this tool represents a ground-breaking achievement for those working to reunite lost pets with their owners, AAHA acknowledges that the tool is a work in progress and will periodically review its functionality.


How does it work?


The AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool works by checking the databases of participating pet recovery services to determine which has registration information available for a microchip. Once a microchip identification number is entered into the tool, within seconds a list of all the registries with microchip registration information available, along with the registries' contact information, will appear in chronological order; the registry with the most recent update appears first. If the microchip has not been registered with any participating pet recovery service, the result returned will default to the microchip's manufacturer or distributor. While the tool will not return the pet owner information contained in the registries' databases, it will identify which registries should be contacted when a lost pet is scanned and a microchip is found.



If I am a pet owner and don't see my pet's microchip information, whom should I contact?


Since the tool works by checking the databases of participating pet recovery services to determine which has registration information available for a microchip, pet owners should contact their pet recovery service. The American Animal Hospital Association will be unable to assist pet owners with their microchip registration and/or problems.


Why doesn't the tool show the pet owner's information?


To protect the privacy of pet owners, the tool will display all the registries with microchip registration information available, along with the registries' contact information. The information will appear in chronological order; the registry with the most recent update appears first. Additionally, the pet recovery services have trained experts, resources and infrastructure to efficiently and effectively contact the owners of lost pet.


Which countries does this tool serve?


Microchip technology and regulations can vary by countries. The AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool was created to primarily serve chips distributed in the United States.

Once at the website, enter the microchip ID and click "Submit". The results are returned with the most recent entry displaying first. Therefore, start by calling the company listed first in the "enrolled with" box. If you are unable to get the correct information from the top record, work your way down the list.







 Don't let this happen to your pet........Microchip today for a lifetime of security.