5 Reasons to Microchip Your Dog

An experienced vet tech and dog trainer explains how to microchip your dog and why it is the best method of identification for your dog and how much it costs.


YES, microchipping your dog is 100% worth it! This quick, easy, inexpensive process gives your dog permanent identification that will stay with her for life no matter where she goes. If she ever gets lost, that microchip will be the best bet you have of being reunited.

Five reasons to microchip your dog are:

  1. Collars and tags can fall off, but microchips are forever.
  2. Once your dog’s microchip is registered with your contact information, it will stay in the database forever.
  3. You can quickly and easily update your contact information online.
  4. Almost all shelters, vet clinics, and animal control officers have universal scanners to check a lost dog for a microchip.
  5. Microchips are safe, easy to implant, and inexpensive.

A microchip is permanent identification that shows the dog is linked to you. Each chip has a unique number. Most chip numbers also indicate the company that made the chip.

Once a microchip has been implanted under your dog’s skin (usually behind the shoulder blades), the chip needs to be registered with the manufacturer. In other words, if your dog’s microchip was purchased from HomeAgain, you will register through HomeAgain, if the chip was made by PetLink you will register with PetLink, and so on.

How Much to Microchip a Dog?

The cost of a microchip for a dog is generally $30 to $60, but that will vary depending on where you live and the brand of microchip used. The cost includes the microchip itself, implantation of the chip under your dog’s skin, and registration.

You do not have to purchase an annual subscription from the manufacturer for your dog’s and your information to remain in their database. These basic features are forever. The annual subscriptions provide additional features that vary from brand to brand, so read the details to see if you are interested.

When to Microchip Your Dog

The microchip can be implanted once your dog is 6 weeks old. It can be done during a routine vaccine appointment, or while your dog is under anesthesia for a spay or neuter surgery or a dental cleaning.

Microchip Registration Is Critical

Registering the microchip is what links the unique code in your dog’s microchip with your name and contact information. Most chips can be registered online, and you can choose to add multiple family members or co-owners as desired. Your veterinary clinic staff may register the microchip for you at the time of implantation, so be sure to ask how to access the account so you can keep your contact info up to date.

If your dog gets lost, most veterinarians, animal control officers, and shelters now have universal scanners to scan for a microchip. This means that one scanner can read microchips made by many manufacturers. When the person who scanned your dog has the microchip number, they can look it up online to then contact the company and get your contact information. In a matter of minutes, they can call you to let you know your dog is safe and sound. A study by Linda Lord, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association, showed that the biggest reason microchipped pets were not returned to their owners was failure of the owners to update the information in the microchip database.

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.