Pet Care Blog

How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog?

Ricky Walther, DVM
Dr. Ricky Walther
Associate Veterinarian - Petco
Vet scanning dog microchip

An unknown number of lost pups will end up at an animal shelter because their owners can’t be located. Thanks to microchips, pets that have been found miles away from home were able to be returned to their homes.

But what’s the price for peace of mind and exactly how much does it cost to microchip a dog? Keep reading to learn more about dog microchip costs, how they work, and more.

Table of Contents:

Pro Tip: Did you know that some pet insurance plans can help cover the dog microchip cost? You can also find plans that will reimburse you for money spent on lost dog advertisements and rewards.

What is a microchip for dogs?

A microchip is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) that is inserted under a dog’s skin. The implant is not a GPS tracking device and they don’t show your pet’s location. However, each chip has a unique code linked to your contact info.

When scanned by a shelter or a veterinarian using a special reader, the microchip will provide more information that can be found on a standard dog collar — name, owner’s name, phone number, address, and so on. It’s important to register your pet’s information after they are microchipped so that they can be found on multiple databases. The vet office, shelter staff, or microchip company will then reach out using the information you have on file to return your lost pet.

Why is it important to chip dogs?

The American Humane Association estimates that one out of three pets becomes lost at some point in their lifetime and nearly ten million pets are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. Statistics show that less than 25% of lost pets are reunited with their owners. More than 80% of lost pets are never found, and millions of animals that wind up in US shelters are euthanized.

Microchipping is one of the best things you can do to increase the chances of a safe reunion if your dog ever gets lost.

Lost dog

How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

The average dog microchip cost ranges between $25 - $60. The device is relatively affordable, but prices may vary depending on the make of the model and where you get the procedure (at a chipping clinic, vet office, or pet supply store). Some shelters implant microchips in every animal they adopt out at no additional cost.

In some cases, the registration fee is included in the cost, but most of the time, you’ll need to pay an additional registration fee (usually no more than $20) to list your contact information in a pet recovery database.

How is a dog chip implanted?

The microchip is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades, an area that’s less sensitive than other parts of the body. The entire procedure takes a couple of minutes and no anesthetic is required.

Although technicians use a large syringe to chip dogs, your pet won’t feel more than a pinch similar to a dog vaccination. Many pet parents get their dogs microchipped at the same time they are spayed or neutered, in which case the procedure will happen while the animal is asleep with no perceived pain.

Does your dog need a microchip if they wear a collar and tag?

Yes, microchips for dogs provide an extra level of protection in case your pet isn’t wearing their collar and tag. Unlike collar tags, most microchip implants last for 25 years — i.e. your pet’s entire life — after which they start to lose signal. These devices are designed to withstand wear and tear, and might only get damaged in extremely harsh conditions (for instance, in sled dogs).

Just remember to update your information in the database for dog microchip lookup if you change your phone number or move to another address.

Dog hugging and licking woman

What’s the minimum age to microchip a dog?

Dogs can be chipped at any age, but it is more comfortable for puppies if they are at least seven to eight weeks old before being microchipped. Similar to neutering or spaying, they should be in good physical condition before the procedure in order to ensure a quick recovery.

What does the law say about dog chips?

As of April 2016, every dog over eight weeks of age in the UK needs to be microchipped. The situation is a bit different in the US, where only nine states and the District of Columbia require animal pounds, animal shelters, or animal control to scan for microchips. In these states, once the microchip is scanned and the owner is identified, they will be contacted and notified. If the pet owner can’t be reached, the pet might be offered for adoption or be euthanized.

Although you’re not legally required to microchip a dog, it’s still a responsible choice and increase the chances of being reunited with them if they ever get lost.

Pro Tip: Pet insurance can reimburse you for microchipping your pet along with many other pet care costs, such as routine veterinary exams, behavioral training, grooming, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • A dog microchip is a tiny device about the size of a grain of rice. It contains a unique, permanent identification that matches up to your dog’s details.
  • Microchip dog costs range from $25 to $60 depending on your device and veterinarian.
  • Microchipping is a quick and simple procedure. The microchip is implanted under the dog’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, using a syringe.
  • Microchipping your pet is a wise choice that will increase the chances of your pet's safe return in case they get lost.

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Ricky Walther, DVM

Dr. Ricky Walther
Associate Veterinarian - Petco

Ricky Walther, DVM, is a small animal general practitioner in the greater Sacramento, California area. Realizing the positive financial and medical impact that pet insurance can provide for pet parents and the profession, he lends support and advice to companies like Pawlicy Advisor "The Pet Insurance Marketplace") that simplify the process of connecting with veterinary financing resources.

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