Can You Track Your Dog With A Microchip? (5 Ways to Track)

Can You Track Your Dog With A Microchip? Photo of a dog being microchipped.

Tracking systems for dogs are becoming increasingly popular with people wanting to know more about their dog’s habits and whereabouts. A GPS tracking device can also help you find your pet if they ever get lost. But most dog owners still wonder: can you track your dog with a microchip?

No, you cannot track your dog through its microchip. A dog microchip is a tiny Near Field Communication (NFC) technology transponder inserted under a dog’s skin to give a permanent ID. Microchips can’t provide real-time tracking as a radio frequency identification device; they are ideal for pet identification. However, there are other tools to provide real-time tracking for you to find your missing pet.

How Does A Dog’s Microchip Work?

As mentioned earlier, a microchip is an RFID technology device. It contains information such as the registry’s contact information, an ID number, and sometimes the brand that manufactures the microchip. The chip is often implanted between the shoulder blades so that you can see the information therein and identify the pet when scanned. 

Microchips are easy to insert and the insertion under the pets’ skin can be done within a few seconds/minutes. Its size is so small (size of a grain) that it’s hardly detectable. You can have your veterinarian do it, and it also doesn’t require an anesthetic to implant. A microchip can last 25 years and will typically last a pet’s lifetime.   

According to Web.MD, about 8 million dogs end up in a shelter each year. If you have a missing pet, having a microchip inserted can improve the chances of finding your dog.

Anyone who finds the pet and scans can easily retrieve the contact information to the microchip’s registry, confirm the ID number, contact number the registry and ask for the dog’s owner information.

However, contrary to popular opinion, microchips don’t emit any signal since no power source is attached to them. They only communicate through NFC; this means you’ll need microchip scanners to get the information it contains.

You’ll also need to update your contact information if it changes at the microchip’s registry so that the registry can always reach you when they need to contact you.

If A Dog Is Chipped, Can You Track It?

This is a common question among pet owners. Well, chipping your dog can’t provide you with real-time tracking, but it can help you reunite with your furry friend if they get missing, something deeply valued by pet owners.

In such cases, the person who found the pet will have to take it to an animal shelter or a veterinarian, where they have the proper scanners, to get the chip scanned with a microchip scanner.

How To Find A Lost Dog With A Microchip

If you’ve implanted a microchip for your dog before it got lost, the chances are that you can find the pet again. In fact, a study shows that out of 7,700 stray pets, 52.2% of dogs who had microchips were reunited with their owners. Microchipped dogs that couldn’t be reunited in most cases were due to incorrect or lack of information on the microchip. Here is how to find a lost dog with a microchip.

Log In To the Microchip Registry

Microchips brands usually have their own registry, so log in to the online registry or contact the registry and officially lodge a complaint that your pet is missing.

Enter the microchip ID Number

The microchip registry will most likely tell you to enter your pet’s chip registration number into the registry if you contact them. You can also enter it directly if you log in to the chip’s registry. If you’ve lost the microchip or ID number, the clinic or vet who installed the chip should be able to provide the information.

Wait for a Call

Once you’ve entered the chip’s number, all you have to do is wait to see if your dog will turn up somewhere they will be scanned. Once scanned, the registry will be contacted, and they will notify you on how to retrieve your pet.

Can I Read A Microchip With My Phone?

No, you can’t read microchips with your mobile phone. This is because a phone isn’t designed to scan pet microchips. Besides, pet microchips don’t have any power source, so you’ll need a pet microchip scanner to read your pet’s chip.

However, thanks to technology, you may get an app on your phone that helps you check if your pet has a microchip or not. Even so, you’ll still have to check with the registry, the microchip database, to get the contact information associated with that same microchip, such as the identification number.

Alternatively, you can attach a scanner that is compatible with mobile phones to read the chip.

5 Ways To Track A Lost Dog

Asides from using microchips, there are several other alternatives that you can use to track a lost dog and which differ from the microchip technology. They include: 

1. GPS Tracker

A GPS tracking device is one of the most efficient tools and the fastest way to track a lost pet. As long as the GPS tracker is in the dog, you can get real-time location and reading. Although GPS tracking devices can be expensive, they are totally worth the investment. A GPS tracking device usually comes pre-inserted in a dog’s collar. You can also insert it into the pet’s current collar, which is also very convenient. Every dog wears a collar after all. Most GPS trackers use batteries, so don’t forget to change the battery when it’s low.

2. Motion Detector

It is possible to track a pet from a distance with a small device called a motion detector. This detects movement above a certain level and sounds an alarm. It is handy in large and busy areas where many pets are walking around.

3. Cameras

You can also use hidden cameras around your home to track a lost pet within your immediate surroundings. With home security cameras, the pet owner can see the dog’s movements around the house, yard, and, depending on the coverage, the immediate surroundings. The footage can give insight into how the pet left home, likely areas to look for, and the next step.

4. Call or Check Local Animal Shelters and Vets

If you are lucky, your pet might turn up at a local shelter or vet clinic, but they won’t be able to reach you if they don’t have your contact information. So it’s always helpful to call or visit these centers to describe your pet or give them a flyer with a picture of the do. That way, they can easily contact you if someone brings your pet. 

5. Check Online

There are several websites online that offer services in finding a lost pet. Aside from the tracking system that they offer, these websites will also give you a lot of other helpful information on what next to do and when.

Difference between a Microchip and a Dog Tracker

Although many people think a microchip and a tracker are basically the same things, there are key differences between them. These differences are highlighted in the table below.

MicrochipDog Tracker
1.A microchip provides a permanent ID for your dog. It helps identify a missing dog when scanned.A dog tracker provides real time tracking for your dog and allows you to monitor the dog’s movements.
2.Microchips are implanted and hence not removable except under special circumstances under the guidance of a vet.A dog tracker is not an implant. It is usually inserted in the dog’s collar and therefore easily removable.
3.A microchip is a tiny device, not bigger than a grain of rice.Dog trackers are much bigger and weigh about 30 grams.
4. The hardware for a microchip is simple. It only contain the ID no and registry’s contact info.Trackers have a more elaborate hardware that allows them to provide multiple functions like barking detection, circle fence, lighting, and stimulation impulse.


Knowing how and if you can track your dog with a microchip implant is great information to have if your pet ever gets lost. While a microchip can’t provide real-time tracking, it can increase the chances of reuniting with your furry friend, thus be a great help.

Reading the information above will tell all you need to know about finding a lost pet with a microchip and other options you can explore to find a missing pet. Depending on the type of tracking you wish to have available on your pet, there are several ways to help you keep track of your dogs. Don’t forget to share with your friends once you’re done reading; avoiding the misconception that a chip number is enough to track a dog can help everyone decide the best alternatives for live tracking for instance. If is is just for identification purposes, then yes, a microchip registration will do.

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.