What Is A Dog Microchip, And How Does It Work?

Microchips are so important 💖

what is a dog microchip

You’ve had so many people — family members, vets, other pet parents — advising you to get your dog microchipped. But what exactly is a microchip for dogs?

It’s actually not a tracker, but instead a way for vets, rescue workers or anyone with a microchip scanner to identify you as your pup’s human if he ever goes missing.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and veterinary consultant for Five Barks, and Dr. Megan Conrad, a veterinary consultant for Hello Ralphie, to find out everything you need to know about microchips for dogs.

What is a dog microchip?

A dog microchip is an implantable device that goes under your pup’s skin and will help reunite you with your dog if he ever gets lost.

“It's a tiny RFID (radio frequency ID) transponder that contains an ID number unique to that chip,” Dr. Conrad told The Dodo.

That number can be linked to your contact information, like your phone number and your home address, when you register the microchip in a database.

“While some assume it is a GPS tracker, this is sadly not the case,” Dr. Simon told The Dodo. “Rather, the chip contains a unique number that shows up on the screen of a microchip scanner when read.”

Basically, a dog microchip’s like the ID tag on a collar except it’s beneath his skin and needs to be scanned to retrieve your information.

It’s about the size of a grain of rice and needs to be placed under your pup’s skin with a needle.

Your dog might not love getting stuck with a needle, but it won’t hurt too much. Plus, the pain should subside pretty quickly.

How do dog microchips work?

Dog microchips work when they’re scanned by a chip reader.

“Animal shelters and veterinarians will almost always have a scanner on hand,” Dr. Conrad said.

The scanner will identify your dog’s unique microchip number, and the person who scanned your pup can use the number to look up the microchip company, who they can then get in touch with for your contact information.

Microchips are incredibly helpful in the event your dog gets lost, since they can’t fall off the way an ID tag might.

How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

It won’t cost a ton for the microchip. According to Dr. Simon, the device should cost around $20.

However, the process can cost more depending on where it’s done.

“What will factor into the cost are the actual cost of the microchip, whether or not registration fees are included and what facility is implanting the chip (vet clinic, low-cost clinic or shelter),” Dr. Conrad said.

But the best part? It’s a one-and-done thing. You won’t have to worry about replacing it or scheduling follow-up appointments.

A dog microchip is definitely a must-have. While it may not work like a GPS, it is a super useful tool if your dog wanders off.

And nothing beats the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing everything you can to keep your pup safe.

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