Dog Microchips: 3 Reasons Why You Should Microchip Your Pet

Updated Jun. 26, 2024
A dog and his pet parent.

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Proper identification will greatly improve your dog’s chances of returning home if they ever get lost. Dogs should always wear a collar and tag with your current contact information.

However, collars and tags aren’t permanent forms of identification—they can be lost or altered. That’s why microchips for dogs are so important.

Let’s look at how dog microchips work, some ways how they can help your pet, and why you should microchip your dog today.

What Is a Dog Microchip and How Do They Work?

A dog microchip is a tiny piece of technology—about the size of a grain of rice—that’s implanted under a dog’s skin, usually in between a pup’s shoulder blades.

These dog microchips are encoded with a unique number that is recorded in the manufacturer’s database. Each manufacturer will have a website where you can attach your personal contact information—name, address, phone number and email—to the microchip number.

So how do dog microchips work?

All veterinary offices and shelters have dog microchip scanners, and by simply waving one over the microchip, a veterinary professional can non-invasively read a dog’s microchip number. They can then contact the company that supports the chip or run the number through a search database, where—if you’ve registered—your contact information will be available.

Now that you know how microchips work, here are the top three reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to get your dog microchipped.

Dog Microchips Save Lives

In the unfortunate event that your dog ever gets separated from you, a dog microchip will ensure that your pup can be identified and returned to you as soon as possible.

If your dog gets lost, stolen or ends up at a shelter, they will have a permanent and tamper-proof form of identification that ensures that they can find their way back to you. Make sure to keep your information current with the company that maintains the chip’s registry.

Free-roaming dogs that are not microchipped are at risk of humane euthanasia when brought to a shelter.

Getting your dog microchipped and keeping the information updated in the online database could save your dog’s life.

Implanting a Microchip Is Quick and Easy

Dog microchipping a simple outpatient procedure that takes just a few seconds and can be done during almost any veterinary appointment.

First, your veterinarian will make sure the microchip is working properly and its number is the same as what is printed on the registration paperwork.

Then, the sterile microchip is injected with a needle between the dog’s shoulder blades just under the skin. The whole procedure isn’t much different than when a dog gets a vaccination.

Dogs that are distracted by treats may not notice the injection at all. You can bring some tasty dog treats to distract your dog, or ask the veterinary staff if they have treats that you can use.

Several small treats will usually do the trick since your dog will keep looking to you for more. Good options include Zukes® Mini Naturals and Nutro™ Crunchy Treats.

Once implanted, microchips for dogs are not considered to be painful and have a very low incidence of side effects, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 

Microchips usually can’t be felt under the skin, unless your dog is very small or very thin-skinned, such as a Yorkshire Terrier or a Greyhound.

Microchipping a Dog Is Inexpensive

So, how much does it cost to microchip a dog?

Turns out you can buy a little peace of mind for your dog for $25 to $70.

Year-round, you can search online to find local mobile pet clinic events where they will microchip your dog for a reduced cost.

Dog microchips are guaranteed to work for the life of the pet and do not require any batteries or any maintenance, aside from updating your information on the online registry if you move or change your phone number.

Every dog parent deserves the peace of mind that comes with microchipping. So don’t delay—get your pet chipped today!

Sarah Wooten, DVM


Sarah Wooten, DVM


Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. A member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists,...

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