4 Key Things Every Pet Parent Should Know About Microchipping

March 2, 2023

Did you know: one in three pets goes missing at least once in their life? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), microchipped dogs are 20% more likely to be reunited with their human companions. If your dog goes missing, it’s important to get them home as soon as possible for their health and safety — on top of your peace of mind. Microchipping your pup can help you locate them more quickly. We've got you covered with everything you need to know about it here!

1. What Is a Microchip for Dogs?

A microchip is a small, rice-sized capsule that works via radio frequency. It is embedded under the skin on your dog’s neck area. It’s completely painless for them and doesn’t get in the way of your pup’s daily life. The microchip carries a unique identification number that, when scanned by a vet or shelter, links your dog’s ID to crucial information about yourself. 

Microchips are simply injected into your dog and don't require any power, battery, or other moving parts. Unlike a tracking device, the microchip doesn’t hold any personal data. Instead, the unique number associated with your dog will link up to a database with further information about the pet and how to contact their human parents.

2. How Will a Microchip Help Me Find My Lost Pet?

If a pet is found without its parent, a trained vet or shelter employee will use a microchip-reading device to determine whether or not it has a microchip. If it does, they will be able to contact the pet parent using the details inputted into the microchip provider’s registry.

For this reason, it’s essential that pet parents keep their contact details up to date. Plus, you also need to register your dog and their microchip number to the national pet recovery database. It’s a good idea to also include emergency contact details for a friend or family member who lives close by. That way, it'll make it faster and easier to reunite you with your dog in case any issues arise with your primary contact information.

3. Are Microchips for Dogs Safe?

Any caring pet parent wants to know: is microchipping a dog safe? Yes, microchips are completely safe for dogs of any age and many vets recommend microchipping your pups from eight weeks of age. The sooner you microchip your pup, the sooner they’ll be protected from going missing for an extended period of time. 

The procedure is quick and doesn’t include any recovery downtime or overnight stays at the vet. The microchip is inserted using a pre-loaded syringe and will last your dog’s entire lifetime.

4. What Are Other Benefits of Microchipping Your Dog?

If you’re wondering, “should I microchip my dog?” there are plenty of reasons to do so. Microchips make it faster and easier to reunite pet parents and their furry family members.

A Shiba Inu being cared for by its owners.

Other benefits include:

  • Your contact details will be on a national database. When you register your pet's microchip, you add your physical address, email address, phone number, and emergency contact details to a shared database. These remain on a national database and will only be used if your dog is found. Every vet and shelter provider has access to this database, making it easier for lost pups and their families to be brought back together again. 
  • It’s permanent and safe. Collars can be broken and tags can either be lost or the information on them can fade. Microchips, on the other hand, are a safe way to protect your canine — and they’re permanent too. They can’t be lost or broken, and in most cases can only be removed by a trained vet. Just remember to keep your contact details up to date.
  • You can prove ownership. Dog theft — also known as “dognapping” — is a rising issue in many countries. When your pup has a microchip inserted, proving ownership becomes far more straightforward. With a quick scan of the dog, the real owner’s details can easily be retrieved to ensure the pet is returned to its rightful parent.
  • It’s quick and affordable. As previously mentioned, microchipping a dog is a simple and quick process that feels like a normal injection. It’s not painful and doesn’t require any downtime for your dog. The cost of microchipping your dog can range from $10 to $75 at most local vets.

Microchip FAQs

From microchips needing maintenance to their use as tracking devices, there are a few urban myths surrounding pet microchipping that we’re going to debunk below. 

Should I be concerned about my privacy if my dog has a microchip?

No, your pet’s microchip ID number will be linked to your name and contact details, but this will only be used if your pet is found. Rest assured that your contact information won’t be shown to anyone. When the microchip is scanned, it brings up a unique registration number, which pulls up your contact information when entered into the database. 

Is there any sort of maintenance involved after microchipping my dog?

Once you’ve microchipped your pet, the only “maintenance” you need to do is keep your contact details up-to-date on the database. 

How can I find out if my dog is microchipped if I adopt them from a shelter?

Simply take your pup to a local vet and ask them to scan for a microchip. They’ll be able to confirm whether your doggo is chipped and, if so, what the individual microchip number is. You can then update any details yourself as and when you need to.

If you take your pup abroad, is there a different microchip you need?

If you’re taking your dog abroad, it’s important to be aware of the microchipping laws in the respective country — so be sure to always check the official government website of any international destination you’re visiting well in advance. For example:

  • In the UK, the law states that every dog over the age of eight weeks must be microchipped, including dogs traveling to the UK. You need to ensure that the microchip meets the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785.
  • All pets entering Australia must also be microchipped — again ensuring the microchip is ISO 11784/11785 compliant.
  • If you’re traveling to Canada with your dog, you won’t need to show evidence of your pet’s microchip but you do need to present the relevant vaccination card.

Researching this information three to six months ahead of your trip will allow you to schedule any appointments accordingly and planning ahead will save you any additional stress.


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