FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘centralized database’ mean?
Previously, different pet identification (ID) information was stored on numerous databases. Now, with the BC Pet Registry, pet owners can store information in one spot. Updating your contact information and pet details is easy when your pet's microchip, tattoo, and license information is in one spot!
Who is responsible for operating the BC Pet Registry?
The BC Pet Registry is an initiative of The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), a Canadian non-profit that has been protecting animals for more than 120 years. The BC SPCA’s mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in BC. Programs such as the BC Pet Registry help us achieve this mission. Visit our website to learn more about the work of the BC SPCA.
How does the BC Pet Registry operate 24/7?
Our online database is available around the clock to ensure lost pets can find their way home, even if they are found outside of the normal operating hours of some veterinary clinics and shelters. Our call center and after-hours line is also available to help reunite you with your animal and connect veterinarians or shelters with the owners of a lost pet. You can reach our call center staff at: 1-855-622-7722. Our after hours line is also available to veterinarians and shelters in case of a lost pet emergency. You can reach this line at: 1-866-303-5950.
How do I register?
It’s easy! Create an account with us online or by calling our call centre at 1-855-622-7722. All you will need to get started is your pet’s microchip, tattoo and/or licence number.

If your pet is not already microchipped, they can be microchipped at your local veterinary office. Find a veterinarian in your area with our BC Pet Registry location finder.
My pet does not have a microchip. Can I still register?
Yes, you can add your pet’s tattoo and/or licence number to their account instead. While microchips are recommended as the most reliable form of permanent identification (ID), tattoos, when done correctly, are still a very dependable form of ID.

Please note: A licence is not a form of permanent ID. An additional form of ID, such as microchip or tattoo, is always recommended.
Learn more about microchipping your pet.
Why do you recommend microchips over tattoos?
Tattoos have been known to fade over time or be hard to read. They are also not an internationally traceable form of ID. Because of these reasons, the BC Pet Registry suggests microchipping as the best form of permanent identification for your pet. Learn more about microchipping!
Is updating my account free?
Yes, updates are free and unlimited to all registered users!

Should your pet ever be lost, your contact information is crucial in reuniting your pet with you and your family. Whenever you move, change your number, or change your email, it is crucial to log-on to your account and update your information.
Will my personal information be protected?
Yes, your information will be 100% secure. The BC Pet Registry will never sell your information to third parties.

Information will only be shared with other organizations for the purpose of contacting you in the case your pet is lost.
How do organizations sign-up to the BC Pet Registry?
Veterinarians, shelters, and animal control agencies across the country can register for a BC Pet Registry Community Account online. Community Account registration is free and allows veterinarians, shelters, and animal control agencies to search the ID of BC Pet Registry users in the case an animal is lost and then found.
If you have further questions about registering your organization, please contact us today.
Why is there a registration fee?
Registration fees cover the operating costs of the BC Pet Registry. All additional revenue generated goes directly to the life-saving work of the BC SPCA. Learn more about the BC SPCA’s animal welfare programs and initiatives across the province.
How often should I update my contact information?
We recommend you log on to your account once a year to check that all your information is up to date. A quick update could be the difference in reuniting you with a lost pet!

Your information should be updated if you:
  • Move to another address
  • Change your phone number or email address
  • Go on vacation

  • Or if your:
  • Emergency or alternate contact changes their information
  • Pet’s medical information changes
  • What is a microchip?
    A microchip is an electronic chip that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery — it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. The microchip itself is also called a transponder.

    Please note: A microchip is not a GPS and cannot trace your animal’s location.
    Is it safe for my pet to have a microchip, a foreign object, inside their body?
    Yes, microchips are completely safe when properly implanted by a veterinarian or trained professional. Microchips do not run on batteries and last the lifetime of the animal.
    While it is possible for microchips to travel, this migration is not harmful to the animal. Microchips are coated with an anti-migratory coating to prevent this from occurring.
    If you have any additional questions about the microchipping procedure, please get in touch with your local veterinarian.
    My pet is registered in another microchip registry. Can I still register with BC Pet Registry?
    We strongly encourage you to do just that! Registration can be done online or by calling our toll-free Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.
    It never hurts to have your pet’s microchip registered in more than one place and will only increase the chances of them being found, so long as your contact information is up-to-date.
    Where can I get my pet microchipped?
    Please visit our BC Pet Registry Location Finder to find a veterinarian in your area. The veterinarians listed will also register your pet with the BC Pet Registry at the time of implantation.
    Occasionally, the BC SPCA operates microchip clinics in your area. Contact your local BC SPCA branch to see if they are hosting an upcoming microchip clinic in your area!
    My dog always wears a collar and tags. Do I really need to microchip my dog?
    Yes. Pets can slip a collar, but they cannot slip a microchip. Pets are often lost without their collars and tags, which makes permanent identification (ID) such as a microchip so important!
    Learn more about the benefits of microchipping.
    I have a cat – should I microchip him/her?
    Absolutely! Cats that are microchipped are 20 times more likely to be returned home with permanent identification. Even indoor cats should be provided with permanent ID, as all it can take is an open window or door for a pet to lose their way.
    Prepare your feline friends for the unexpected. Microchip them at your local veterinarian today!
    How is a microchip implanted into an animal? Is it painful? Does it require surgery or anesthesia?
    Microchipping is a quick and painless procedure. The microchip is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. It is very similar to a regular injection.
    No surgery or anesthesia is required—a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit. If your pet is already under anesthesia for a procedure, such as neutering or spaying, the microchip can often be implanted while they're still under anesthesia.
    What kind of pets can be registered?
    At this time, the BC Pet Registry accepts registrations from dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and birds.
    How does BC Pet Registry work within my community?
    The BC Pet Registry, owned and operated by the BC SPCA, is the only provincial pet identification registry in British Columbia. In addition to our own network of 44 facilities across the province, the BC SPCA has partnered with other non SPCA shelters and veterinarians across the province to create the most comprehensive network ever to help stray/lost animals find their way home.
    Learn more about our story.
    What kinds of pet identification can registered with the BC Pet Registry?
    While we recommend a microchip, you can also register your pet’s tattoo or municipal licence.
    If I register, does my pet have to wear identification?
    We still recommend that your pet wear a collar as it is a visible form of identification (ID) for your pet. If your pet is found locally, you may be reunited quicker as a neighbor could contact you without the help of a veterinarian or shelter.
    How do I activate my registration post-adoption?
    If you have adopted an animal from the BC SPCA, you are automatically registered and will be provided with a certificate of registration. We strongly encourage that you, once home, simply login to confirm your information and add any additional information (cellphone number, work number, alternate email, etc.).
    When you log on for the first time after your adoption, you will be asked to create a password. This will allow you to easily log-on any time you are registered to update your contact information.
    What if I’m not available when you contact me to say that my pet is found?
    Multiple attempts will be made to contact the original owner. If the owner cannot be contacted, the co-owner and alternate contact listed on your profile will be contacted next.
    What happens if my microchipped pet is found and taken to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter?
    They will use a scanner to read the microchip, which will then provide them with your pet’s unique microchip number. Then they can then log on to our BC Pet Registry portal to see who the pet belongs to. Your contact information will come up on the search, and they can reunite you with your pet.
    I am planning an international trip with my pet. What do I need to do?
    Firstly, ensure that your information on the BC Pet Registry is up-to-date, complete with alternate contact information. Microchips registered with the BC Pet Registry are internationally traceable via the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Look-up tool. Health certificates or other documentation are usually required when taking your pet on an airplane or across borders.To learn more about what is required for travel, please visit the Government of Canada website.
    Does my pet have to be microchipped with a BC Pet Registry microchip in order to be registered?
    No! You can register any microchip with the BC Pet Registry. All you need is your pet's existing microchip number to get started.
    My pet is already microchipped but how do I know if they are registered?
    If you already have the pet’s microchip number, you can contact our call centre at: 1-855-622-7722 to see if they are already registered with the BC Pet Registry or another registry.
    If you do not have your pet’s microchip number, you can take them to your local BC SPCA, shelter, or veterinarian to have them scanned. Record the number for your reference.
    Please note: If the pet has been rehomed, a transfer of ownership form may be required. For pets already registered with the BC Pet Registry, please see our Ownership Transfer Form.
    I lost my pet. What do I do now?
    Steps to follow when you lose a pet
    1.) Search the neighbourhood
    Search the area in which your pet was lost: Walk or drive through your neighbourhood several times a day, especially early in the morning and at dusk when it is quieter. Call your pet’s name and try shaking a bag of their favourite treats.
    Ask around: Talk to neighbours, store owners, joggers, garbage collectors, mail carriers and others. Ask them to be on the lookout for your pet. Your pet may be nearby but too scared to come out, even for you. Ask neighbours if you can search in nearby bushes, garages or sheds.
    Try the power of scent: Place a recently worn piece of clothing or one of your pet’s favourite toys outside. Animals have a keen sense of smell and familiar smells can bring them home. For indoor cats, try placing their litter box outside.
    Put up posters: Create an eye-catching “lost pet” poster. You can make one for free when you create an account with the BC SPCA Pet Search. Include a photo, description of the animal, where they were lost and a contact phone number. Post these in as many places as possible near the area in which your pet was lost (grocery and corner stores; local parks; telephone poles, etc.)

    2.) Use the web
    Post to social media: Use Facebook or Twitter to circulate photos of your pet. Include details such as the area in which they went missing, the day/time of the incident and your contact information. Encourage your friends to share the photo on their page.
    Search online: There are websites dedicated to helping lost and found animals return to their guardians. On sites such as the BC SPCA Pet Search, you can create a free account to post a listing or search Found Pet profiles posted by fellow users. You can also search pets brought in as strays to select BC SPCA locations.
  • BC SPCA Pet Search (search found animals at the BC SPCA, create a free poster and a “lost pet” post)
  • Missing Pets in BC (search found animals and create a “lost pet” post)
  • Craigslist (search found animals and create a “lost pet” post)
  • Petsearchers Canada (pet detective and tracking service)

  • 3.) Update your pet’s ID registration information
    If your pet’s microchip, tattoo or license is registered with the BC Pet Registry, our provincial ID database, you can update your information online or contact our call centre at 1-855-622-7722. If your pet’s microchip, tattoo or license is registered with a veterinary clinic or municipality, please contact them to make sure your information is up to date.

    4.) Visit BC SPCA shelters, animal control and veterinary clinics
    Often shelters have several animals matching your pet’s description. Visit the shelter every 24 hours rather than calling.
    Check BC SPCA shelters: Find out if your local BC SPCA takes in stray animals. All stray animals brought to BC SPCA shelters can be found online using our pet search.
    Check animal control (City Pounds): Visit your local city pound or call them to see if an animal matches your pet’s description.
    Check veterinary clinics and animal hospitals: If your pet was found injured, they may be at a nearby veterinary clinic or animal hospital.

    5.) Don’t give up searching for your pet!
    Continue to search for your pet even if you think there is little hope. Many animals who have been lost for months or years have been reunited with their guardians.

    Was your pet stolen?
    If you have evidence that leads you to believe your pet was stolen, contact the police on their non-emergency line. Permanent identification, such as tattoos or microchips, can help authorities track your animal.
    I have found a lost pet. What do I do?
    If you think you have found a lost animal, follow these steps to increase the chances of reuniting them with their family.

    5 steps to follow when you find a lost/stray pet

    1.) Look for identification (ID)
    Collar and/or ID tag: A collar or tag may have the animal’s home number or address. For dogs, some tags are municipal licenses and may not have the guardian’s contact information. In this case, call the BC SPCA or your local Animal Control who can help track down where the animal lives.
    Microchips: Microchips are a reliable form of electronic permanent ID inserted under the animal’s skin. If you do not see a visible form of ID, the animal may have a microchip. You can take the pet to your nearest veterinary clinic, Animal Control agency or BC SPCA shelter to have the animal scanned for a microchip at no charge.
    Ear tattoo: If the animal has an ear tattoo, contact the BC Pet Registry, a local veterinary clinic or animal control agency to trace it. If the tattoo is difficult to read, bring the animal to one of the above locations to read it at no charge. Some vet clinics also keep lost and found pet records and posters.
    Other tattoos: Some animals may have a breeder tattoo on their abdomen or inside leg. In this case, contact your local BC SPCA location or Animal Control shelter. Often these tattoos are only traceable through the original breeder.

    2.) Use the web
    Post to social media: Take a quality photo of the animal and circulate it on your Facebook or Twitter networks with the location in which it was found. Encourage your friends to share the photo on their page.
    Search online:There are websites dedicated to helping lost animals return to their guardians. These Canadian sites host searchable lost and found animal postings. On each of these websites, you can also publish a “found pet” post:
  • BC SPCA Pet Search (search lost animal posts and create a free “found pet” post)
  • Missing Pets in BC (search lost animal posts and create a “found pet” post)
  • Craigslist (search lost animal posts and create a “found pet” post)

  • 3) Search the neighbourhood
    Talk to people in the neighbourhood: Neighbours in the area, especially other pet guardians, may know the pet you found. Talking with people may help you find the guardian without the animal having to go to the shelter. If you found the animal in a yard or in front of a residence, knock on the door of that home and kindly ask if it’s their pet or if they know the guardian.

    4) Put up posters
    Create your own eye-catching poster or make one for free with the BC SPCA Pet Search. Include a photo, description of the animal, where it was found, and a contact phone number. Post these in as many places as possible near where the animal was found (grocery and corner stores; local parks; telephone poles).

    5) Contact your local BC SPCA shelter or animal control
    Report the animal as found. Let them know if you are willing to hold onto the animal until the guardian comes forward. If you’re unable to hold on to the animal, please contact our Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for direction on where to take the animal.

    Found the pet’s guardian?
    If you find the guardian, please remember to contact the groups keeping records and let them know the animal is no longer lost.
    Does the microchip work like a global positioning device (GPS) and tell me my pet’s location?
    No, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track your animal's location. Microchips use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and are only activated when scanned, unlike GPS devices which are battery powered and always active.
    How much does microchipping cost?
    Microchipping your pet at a veterinary clinic or hospital can cost anywhere from $25 to $120. After your pet is microchipped, you can register them with the BC Pet Registry’s online database! There are two different pricing options for BC Pet Registry registration:

    Annual registration: $12
      An Annual registration provides you access to all features for one-year.
    Lifetime registration: $45
      A Lifetime registration provides you access to the BC Pet Registry account for the lifetime of your animal. No renewals required!
    Why would I renew my registration in the database if it’s already there?
    In order to update your information (for example, if you move) you need to be actively registered to BC Pet Registry. If you have an expired Annual account, you will have to renew before making any updates. If you have a Lifetime account, you can access your account at any time.

    Revenue generated from the Registry helps cover the operating cost of running the registry and our call centre. Any additional revenue goes directly to fund animal welfare programs and initiatives across the province.
    What if I travel frequently with my pet or I move away from British Columbia?
    All microchips registered with BC Pet Registry are traceable internationally via the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) universal pet microchip lookup, petmicrochiplookup.org. This partnership means that you can travel with your pet with confidence that you're protected!
    How much does BC Pet Registry enrollment cost?
    There are two types of registration plans: Annual and Lifetime. Annual registration is $12/year and provides a user access to all BC Pet Registry services for one-year. Lifetime registration is $45 and is valid for the lifetime of your pet (no renewals required). All registered users (both Annual and Lifetime) will receive: 24/7 access to their account, unlimited account updates with active registration, additional forms of ID registered free of charge, free pet picture upload, free call centre and after-hours service, no hidden fees, and registration discount (20% off) for multiple pets.
    What happens when my Annual account expires?
    Your pet’s information will remain on the BC Pet Registry’s secure database. However, if your account is expired, you will need to renew your pet’s registration before you are able to make any updates to your account. This includes updates to your address, phone number, email, or other account details.
    How do I change the email associated with my account?
    To change your email/username, please contact us at: info@bcpetregistry.ca or by phone at: 1-855-622-7722.
    How do I transfer a pet to a new owner?
    To start the transfer process, please download and fill out the BC Pet Registry Transfer form. Both the previous owner and new owner must fill and sign this form in order for a transfer to be completed. Completed forms must be scanned and sent to: info@bcpetregistry.ca.

    If the previous owner does not sign the transfer form, then the new owner will need to provide BC Pet Registry with one of the following documents as proof of ownership:

    - Bill of sale from the previous owner to the new owner that includes the microchip number of the pet
    - A letter from a licensed veterinarian (on their letterhead) indicating the microchip number and new owner of the pet
    - Adoption agreement for the pet in the new owner’s name
    - Previous owner’s death certificate orobituary notice if the previous owner is deceased
    How do I order microchips for my clinic/shelter?
    Clinics and shelters can now order microchips from the BC Pet Registry Shop! To get started, please create a Shopify account for your clinic or shelter. Once you have activated your account, select the appropriate product collection (veterinarian or shelter) here. Finally, select your BC Pet Registry products and add them to your cart!
    How are microchips sold?
    Microchips are sold in packages of 20 with either Annual or Lifetime registrations. For more details, please visit our Shopify product pages.
    What kind of payment do you take?
    We accept credit card payments only.
    Is this how I register my dog for their license?
    No, sorry! City licensing is different than a microchip or tattoo registration. City licensing must be done directly with your municipal animal control office (ex. City of Vancouver).
    Does the BC Pet Registry have a grant program?
    Yes! The BC Pet Registry Grant Program provides free microchip registrations to veterinary clinics, hospitals, shelters, and humane societies looking to assist low-income clients and communities. Learn more here.