How Much Does it cost to microchip a dog?

TL;DR

  • Microchipping a dog can cost between $25 and $70
  • The cost will vary depending on where you have it done
  • Microchipping your dog is important if they’re lost and need to be identified
  • It’s not a legal requirement in the US, but it is recommended

Although responsible dog owners do their best to keep their pets safe, accidents can happen. An open door or a loose board in the fence and your dog may be on the run. If your dog regularly wears a collar with ID tags, they should be easily identified.

Unfortunately, collars can fall off or get damaged while your dog is on the run. There may also be times where your dog isn’t wearing a collar at all, so it’s important to have a backup. Microchips are a safe and inexpensive way to ensure that you can be contacted when your lost pet is found.

How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

It usually costs between $25 and $70 dollars to have your dog microchipped, but prices will vary depending on where you have it done. For instance, the cost of having your vet do it is typically $40 to $50.

If you’re adopting a dog, many shelters will microchip your dog for you with no additional fee. However, you may also need to pay to have your pup registered on a pet recovery database.

What exactly is a microchip for dogs?

A microchip is a tiny transponder about the same size and shape as a grain of rice. It is inserted beneath your dog’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. The microchip contains a unique code that is linked to your contact information. That information can be retrieved by veterinarians and shelters to reunite you with a lost pet.

The information used to contact a lost pet’s owner can be found in a pet recovery database. Each microchip manufacturer maintains their own unique database, but the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has a solution to help lost pets get home faster.

The AAHA Microchip Registry Lookup allows vets and shelters to type in a microchip number to get a list of registries to contact for the owner’s information. Once the right microchip manufacturer is identified, the company can provide the owner’s information to the vet or shelter staff, or contact the owner themselves.

Microchip readers use different frequencies of radio wave to retrieve the chip’s unique code. The most common frequencies in the United States are 125 kHz (kilohertz), 128 kHz, and 134.2 kHz.

In an effort to ensure that microchips can be read universally, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has developed an identification system that can be used worldwide. The ISO recommends using microchips with a frequency of 134.2 kHz.

A pet implanted with an ISO standard microchip can travel from the US to Europe and be scanned and identified on both continents. If a pet is implanted with a non-standard microchip with a different frequency, the code may not be accessible by all scanners.

Remember, microchips do not contain GPS tracking devices, so they cannot be used to locate a lost pet. However, if a lost pet is found, a microchip can be used to identify and contact the owner.

Why is it important to microchip a dog?

Microchips are implanted beneath the skin and are not easily removed, so they are a more permanent source of identifying information. A collar with ID tags can fall off or be removed, leaving the dog without any information that could be used to contact the owner.

Most microchips are readable for up to 25 years, which is far longer than the average pet’s lifespan. This ensures that your pet can be identified at any point in his or her life.

However, it’s important to update your information in the microchip database any time you move or change phone numbers. Otherwise, you may not be reunited with your lost pet.

Where can you get the dog microchipped?

Most veterinary clinics are able to microchip dogs, as well as some animal shelters. If you’re looking for a specific frequency, such as ISO standard, you may want to ask before your appointment to make sure they carry the right type.

If you’re adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization, the animal may already have a microchip. Some rescues microchip all pets prior to adoption, but you’ll still probably need to pay a registration fee to have your contact information listed in the database.

In general, you can expect to pay between $25 and $70 to have your dog implanted with a microchip. The cost varies by location, as well as the specific brand of microchip used. Again, you may also need to pay a registration fee, though sometimes this cost is included.

Registering your microchip with your contact information is typically as easy as filling out a form online. If the registration is not included, the cost varies by company but it is generally less than $20.

Microchipping a dog is not a complicated procedure. Your veterinary team will likely prep the paperwork and ensure the microchip matches its labeled number. When ready, the insertion site will be cleaned, and the microchip injected beneath the skin. All in all, the whole process should take just a few minutes.

Why microchip when the dog is collared and tagged?

As mentioned, microchipping is a more permanent form of identification than a collar and tags. Collars and tags can be damaged, lost, or removed, which leaves the dog without any way to be reunited with its owner.

If a dog without a collar or tags shows up at a veterinary clinic or shelter, it can be scanned to retrieve the owner’s contact information. A collar with ID tags can also be worn, but a microchip is a good backup in case something happens to the collar.

When should your dog receive the microchip?

Technically, dogs can be microchipped at any age. Most vets recommend waiting until puppies are at least eight weeks old, simply because of their size. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, so it’s best to wait until the puppy is big enough to comfortably handle the insertion procedure.

Are there any side effects that may happen due to microchipping?

In general, microchipping a dog is incredibly safe. On occasion, some pets may experience temporary bleeding, infection, or hair loss around the injection site, but this is very rare. Microchips do not hurt the dog and any discomfort from implanting the chip is temporary.

Depending on your pet insurance policy, any unexpected issues from microchipping may be covered. If you’re worried, it’s best to contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage before scheduling your dog’s appointment.

It is possible that the microchip could migrate after being implanted, but this does not happen often and does not hurt the dog. Most veterinary and shelter staff are aware of this, so they often scan the dog’s entire neck, back, and shoulders if the chip doesn’t show up right away.

Are there any laws or rules regarding microchips for dogs in the US?

In the United States, there are no federal or state laws requiring owners to microchip their canine companions. However, if you are bringing a dog into the country from abroad, they are required to have a microchip before arrival.

Additionally, there are no laws stating which microchips should be used for dogs, so if you may potentially be traveling to a country that requires ISO standard microchips, you will need to confirm that your dog’s microchip is the correct frequency.

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Tara Schwarz

Tarah Schwartz is a seasoned freelance writer in the lifestyle and pet care niches. She has published a number of books and has contributed to numerous blogs and websites. Prior to her work as a writer, Tarah spent over a decade working in the pet care industry as a veterinary technician and all-breed pet groomer. When she’s not writing, Tarah enjoys hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and traveling. Tarah is also active in the dog sport community, competing with her three dogs: Laszlo the Puli, Jurgen the Pumi, and Finn the Poodle Mix.