Is Your Pet Microchipped? Don’t Forget – It’s the Law!

Microchips are a wonderful tool to help reunite pets with their families in case they get lost (we’ve talked about them before). This is especially important here on the coast given the unpredictability of hurricanes & tropical storms. Don’t forget how many dogs were turned into shelters to be rehomed after Hurricane Harvey simply because there was no way to identify them & reunite them with their families.

As of January 2022, the City of Houston/BARC requires that all dogs & cats over the age of 4 months be vaccinated for rabies AND microchipped. Previously they were only requiring the rabies vaccination. BARC had given everyone a year to comply with the new chip requirement & they have now started to reach out to pet owners that do not have a microchip number registered with the city.

Since we are located in the Houston city limits, our doctors are required by law to submit information to BARC regarding the rabies vaccines that they administer. The information we submit has always listed whether or not the pet has been spayed/neutered & if they have been microchipped.

“The owner or custodian of any dog or cat must register the animal by providing to BARC animal services the identification number of the implanted chip and a physical description of the animal before the animal attains four months of age, for an amount set in the city fee schedule.

It is the duty of the owner or custodian of the animal to ensure that the animal’s implanted microchip identification number is registered with the manufacturer of the microchip in addition to being registered with BARC animal services. If there is a change in contact information for the owner or custodian of the microchipped animal, the owner or custodian shall update the contact information with BARC animal services and the microchip manufacturer within 30 days after the date of the change in contact information.

If there is a change in ownership of a microchipped animal, the initial owner or custodian shall be responsible for notifying BARC animal services and the microchip manufacturer of the change within 30 days after the date of change in ownership. The new owner or custodian shall be responsible for providing BARC animal services with the new owner’s or custodian’s name, address and telephone number within 30 days after the change in ownership.”

To read the full details, click here: City of Houston Code Ordinances, Article IV Dogs and Cats

If you have registered your pet’s rabies vaccination with BARC previously, you can visit their website to ensure that they have your pet’s microchip number listed. Visit & click “Registration” to check your status. You can use this same link to register a new pet online as well.

Not sure if your pet is chipped? No problem!
Bring them by the clinic anytime we’re open & we can scan for a chip. We’ll make sure that the chip is on your pet’s record with us & reprint your pet’s rabies certificate to show this information. We can also look up to see what brand of chip they have & who you need to contact to make sure your information is up to date.

I need to get my pet chipped!
Call us at 281-282-9944 & we can set up an appointment to take care of this for you.

How do I update my information on the chip?
Most of this is done online now, so it’s a lot easier to keep up with. All you need to know is the microchip number & the manufacturer of the chip. With those two things you’ll be able to go to the manufacturer’s site to confirm/update your information.

Some examples: PetLink, 24PetWatch, HomeAgain, AKC Reunite
We use PetLink chips here at TLC Animal Hospital.

If you have your pet’s chip number, but are unsure of the manufacturer, there is a wonderful tool available online called the Universal Microchip Registry Lookup:

This will let you know if a chip number is registered with information on it & will give you the manufacturer’s information. No owner or pet information is listed on this site, it’s just a tool to point you in the right direction to update your info or to help get a pet back home. We use this here in the clinic whenever a lost/found pet comes in, it’s super easy to use & very helpful.

For more information from BARC about this requirement & reasoning behind it, visit

If you have any questions or need more information, let us know & we’re happy to help!

Why Pet Insurance? Because they are worth it!

Our pets are our family. We all want the absolute best care possible for them- that care, however, comes at a price. Just like with people, as pets age so does the cost of their regular care. Imagine having the freedom to say “YES” to whatever your pet needs- Insurance allows for more opportunities to diagnose illnesses and obtain treatment — even expensive treatments like surgeries and cancer care. Like most insurance, pet insurance gives you peace of mind.

Accidents happen

No matter how responsible we are, accidents and illnesses happen. Statistically speaking, 1 in every 3 pets will experience some kind of emergency during their lifetime. Dog bites, fractures, and object ingestion can cost thousands of dollars to treat. A ligament repair in dogs can cost $3,000 to $7,000, not including X-rays, anesthesia, and follow-up care (yes, physical therapy exists for pets!). For cats, a urinary obstruction (UO) often requires lab testing, antibiotics, and even surgery, which can cost up to $3,000. These events are unexpected and impossible to plan for. Pet insurance helps to alleviate some of the financial stress of these unexpected expenses.

The cost of medical care over the course of a pet’s life can really add up!

How does pet insurance work?

Like people insurance, pet policies come with a variety of deductibles, co-payments, and premiums. You can pick a plan that insures costs due to accidents (such as injuries caused by motor vehicles), or accidents and illness (including arthritis, cancer, and colitis). Some providers also offer wellness coverage for certain routine care, like annual exams, flea and tick treatments, and vaccinations.

Is pet insurance worth the money?

Yes. You can’t predict when or how your pets will get sick, or how much it will cost. Unexpected veterinary costs can add up to thousands of dollars.

Even if you try to save up money in advance, you could come up short. Pet insurance prevents you from having to take on lasting debt or forgo veterinary care.

What is the average cost of pet insurance per month?

The average monthly premium for a dog is about $47 while the average monthly premium for a cat is about $29. However, the costs of insurance vary depending on the pet and your choices. If needed, you could opt for less coverage or a lower reimbursement rate to get a lower monthly premium.

Does pet insurance make sense?

Pet insurance makes good sense from a risk perspective, and it can give you peace of mind. You can expect your pets to need medical care at some point, just as you can expect to need medical yourself in the future.

Do vets recommend pet insurance?

We do! Pet insurance helps ensure your pet will receive the care they need and won’t be euthanized (or abandoned) for economic reasons. It also allows us and pet parents to focus on care during their consultations rather than finances.

Who should consider pet insurance?

Every pet owner should consider pet insurance. Even if you believe you have enough money to cover veterinary costs, pet insurance could still save you thousands of dollars if your pet gets sick or injured. Especially if you have multiple pets, your out-of-pocket costs could add up considerably without insurance.

Questions? For more information about Pet Insurance- check out Pumpkin! You can visit their website here and see exactly what they have to offer- or give them a call! Their team of experts can get you a quote and answer any questions you may have!