Maybe you have a new pet and are thinking of getting them microchipped. Or it could be that you’re mulling over having your current pet microchipped for added safety and security. Whatever the case, it's normal for pet owners to have several questions regarding microchips, how it works, and the procedure involved.

While it can be prevented, pets can get lost despite us taking precautions. And if they are wearing identification and rabies tags, this will help us get them back. However, what if their collars and tags come off? Many pet owners are now turning to microchipping for enhanced pet safety and security.

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  1. What Is a Microchip
  2. What Does a Microchip Look Like
  3. How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog
  4. Reasons Not to Microchip Your Dog
  5. Can You Track a Dog with a Microchip
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion

What Is a Microchip

Microchip: Defined

A microchip is a small electronic chip or transponder that can be implanted beneath the skin of pets by many veterinarians as well as animal shelters, and upon being registered, serves as a unique identifier that can be scanned when a pet gets lost. Once the microchip is inserted and remains underneath a pet’s skin, it will continue to work without the need for extra care or maintenance.

How It Works

A microchip doesn’t include batteries. Rather, it operates via low-power radiofrequency waves which can be picked up by scanning devices. When activated, the chip then transmits information about the pet, including a unique identification number and the pet owner’s contact details in an online database. That way, when our pet is found, we can be contacted.

Added Protection

Note that microchips shouldn’t replace pet collars or tags. For one thing, a special scanner (which only animal control officers, shelters, vet clinics, etc. may have access to) is needed for chips to be activated. So private citizens, who are likely to be the first ones to encounter a lost dog or cat, may not have access to such scanners. Microchips are also not foolproof. Having collars and tags on our pets makes it easier and quicker for those who find our pets to contact us.

On the other hand, microchips can give an added level of safety and security if your pet’s collar or tag gets lost. In fact, in a study of 7,700 stray animals from animal shelters across 23 states, results showed that microchipped animals were more likely to be returned to their owners than those without. In the said study, stray dogs that were microchipped were returned to their owners at more than two times the overall rate encompassing all stray dogs. Meanwhile, the return rates for stray cats even exceeded that of dogs.

Best Microchip for Dogs

While there are various microchip manufacturers, the International Standards Organization (ISO) approved and recommended a microchip global standard, to have a consistent system of identification worldwide. For example, if a cat with an ISO-standard microchip travels from the US to Australia along with their owner and gets lost during the trip, ISO-standard scanners in Australia will be able to scan the cat’s microchip. 134.2 kHz is the ISO standard frequency.

What Does a Microchip Look Like

A microchip is a tiny electronic chip that is embedded inside a class cylinder around the same size as one grain of rice. After it is implanted, you cannot see it since it is placed under the skin of the animal.

How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog

You might be wondering — How much is it to microchip a dog? Dr. Bethany Hsia, D.V.M. and a co-founder of Codapet shares that the typical costs of microchipping fall around $50. The price depends on factors such as:

  • Your location
    If you live in a big city, it is likely to cost more than other smoller cities

  • Where you have it done
    Having it done at a private vet clinic would cost more than non-profit clinics (who often offer it at a low cost or for free)

  • Who registers the microchip
    If you register the chip online by yourself, it will cost less than when have it registered at the vet clinic

In addition, having a reliable pet tracker such as the Petcube GPS Tracker can go hand in hand with a microchip in protecting your dog. While a microchip helps when someone finds your dog and contacts you, the Petcube GPS tracker locates your dog’s whereabouts, which is especially helpful when no one is around the area where your dog is. While this adds to the costs, it gives peace of mind knowing that your pet is given the safety and security that they need if they get lost.

Reasons Not to Microchip Your Dog

As dog owners, some of us may have qualms about microchipping our dogs because it involves implanting something that isn’t natural under our dog’s skin. So can a microchip in a dog have side effects? Issues and adverse reactions associated with microchips are rare, but it can happen. The most common issue is when the microchip moves from the original site of implantation. Other issues include infection, swelling, hair loss, and tumor formation, but these are less common.

On the other hand, serious issues (which can be life-threatening) may arise when the microchip isn’t implanted well. With this, it is crucial for the microchipping to be conducted or overseen by a veterinarian to avoid such problems.

Generally, the benefits of microchipping outweigh the risks, but at the end of the day, it’s still at the discretion of the dog owner to determine what is best for their dog.

Can You Track a Dog with a Microchip

You might be wondering - Does a dog microchip have a tracker as well? A microchip may prove useful when your dog gets lost, but note that it doesn’t have the tracking abilities that a GPS tracker provides. Rather, a microchip is a unique identifier that can be scanned to reveal your dog’s identity and the dog owner’s contact information.

On the other hand, if you want a device that can track your dog for added protection, the Petcube GPS Tracker may be what you’re looking for. With the tracker, you can get real-time location updates, escape alerts, and set virtual fences. That way, you can bring your dog back to safety when they get lost or wander somewhere that they shouldn’t be.


Can you feel a microchip in a dog?

Usually, a microchip cannot be felt when stroking your dog. Occasionally, however, a tiny bump may be felt in between their shoulder blades or along the scruff of their neck. The chip may be easier to feel if your dog is a small breed or if they have short fur.

What age can you microchip a puppy?

The ideal age for microchipping your dog would depend on their size and breed. In general, you may have your dog microchipped starting 8 weeks from birth - when they have been weaned and have received their first round of vaccinations.

Can a microchip be removed from a dog?

While it is possible to remove a microchip from your dog, it might be complicated and expensive. This is because surgery is needed to remove the microchip.

How to register my dog's microchip?

When your dog has been microchipped, it’s time to register it with the national pet recovery database. First, you have to obtain the microchip number, choose a registry, and then complete the registration process with your accurate contact information.


As dog owners, we want to ensure our dog’s safety and protection. One of the ways we can achieve this is by microchipping our dogs. By microchipping, we can ensure that our dogs can be returned to us if they get lost or stolen.

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