What do you do when the unthinkable happens? You look outside, and your dog is no longer out there. You run around the yard looking for them, but you can’t find them anywhere. Panic starts to set in, and after a few minutes, you see your best friend running out from behind the house, and now you can relax again.
But what if he had really run away? At this point, you might be thinking, “how much does it cost to microchip a dog, so I never have to experience this sense of dread again?”
You’re not alone, and may pet owners microchip their dogs and cats to ensure that they’ll always be able to find them in case they get lost. Let’s take a look at the microchip dog cost and some of its benefits.
How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog?
- 2 How Important is it to Microchip?
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Consider Joining the Paoli Vetcare Family
Nationwide, the average cost to microchip a pet at your veterinarian is $45, but it may vary depending on where you live. The microchipping and registration procedure depend on the type of facility you choose and whether you need to register the chip online yourself or if it is done for you by the provider. The cost at AAHA-accredited Paoli Vetcare is $45, including completed registration by our staff, and you can book through our online scheduler right now.
Cost to Microchip a Dog
Each microchip works by registering a specific number for your dog. Your contact information is added to an online registry which links your puppy or kitten’s microchip to you. It’s crucial that you update the microchip registry if you move or change phone numbers. The chip is injected under their skin on the back between the shoulder blades. It will remain dormant until activated when your pet needs to be identified.
Cost to microchip a pet ranges widely from $20 to $75, including registration. There are some scenarios where microchipping your dog is even more affordable—for example, some non-profit humane societies run free microchipping clinics on occasion.
Many pet owners choose to microchip their pets when they are being spayed or neutered. This strategy is a great way to get it taken care of early—while minimizing discomfort to the pet. There are some microchipping clinics out there that, because of the economy of scale, can charge a lower price. If you go to one of these places, you may save a little money, but be sure to add in the cost of registration if it’s not included. Many pet owners simply choose the quality and convenience of their own veterinarian.
Cost of Microchip Registration
In addition to paying for the microchip and the procedure, there is sometimes an additional registration fee. This cost is usually about $20 and covers the lifetime of your dog.
Paoli Vetcare, like many animal hospitals, includes registration cost in the price of the microchip service—ask when you make your appointment. If you register your microchip yourself, make sure you use a large recovery database like HomeAgain because these are the most widely used, if you ever do need to locate a lost pup.
Without proper registration a microchip is useless—just as a social security number would be meaningless unless it correlated back to a name in a government database. An unregistered chip is almost impossible to trace back to the owner.
A common misconception is that just because a shelter microchipped your pet before you adopted, the microchip is automatically registered to you. In fact, your pet’s microchip may still be registered to the shelter—or even registered to a previous owner. Or, it may be unregistered, if the shelter never registered it on your behalf.
If you adopted your pet, you can check if your pet’s microchip is registered by using AAHA’s pet microchip lookup tool. This useful tool tells you if/where a microchip is registered. The AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool is NOT a microchip registry—it is an internet-based application to assist in the identification of those registries on which a particular microchip is registered, or to provide the chip’s manufacturer if unregistered.
The AAHA tool works by searching the databases of participating companies. It will not return pet owner information contained in the registries’ databases, instead it will identify which registries should be contacted when a lost pet is scanned and a microchip number is identified.
Another important thing worth mentioning is you must remember to update the microchip registration database whenever your contact information changes. This factor is easy to overlook when everything is going well, but you want to make sure to have the right phone number and address in case someone finds your pet and tries to look you up.
How Important is it to Microchip?
What Does the Lost Pet Research Tell Us?
An unbelievable one in three pets will get lost at some time in their life. The statistics on missing pets without permanent identification are grim–less than one-quarter of dogs and less than 2% of cats find their way home!
On the other hand, a large study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) found that there is actually a much higher rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families. Microchips bring home hundreds of thousands of pets
- The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52%–a 238% increase!
- The return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38%–a more than 2000% better!
Our veterinarians in Paoli can microchip your baby quickly and easily, helping you gain precious peace of mind. The procedure requires no anesthesia and takes a few minutes to complete. It’s no more painful or invasive than an injection, or routine vaccination shot. The microchip injection comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The process takes only a few seconds.
What Does the Microchip Implant Look Like?
The microchip is only about the size of a grain of rice. It is protected by a glass capsule, ensuring that your pet’s body is never negatively affected by the metal components of the chip, and vice versa. This microchip transmits a low radio frequency signal that can be interpreted by special scanners. The message is read as a series of numbers that correspond to a specific registered animal.
The microchip implant is what most would consider the most effective permanent identification. This method is what we’ve been speaking of so far throughout the article. The chip is around the size of a grain of rice, and it’s implanted under your dog’s skin.
It’s the best way to go because you can never lose it, and it will last forever once the procedure is done. The primary reason many people opt for only collar tags is because of the potential pain or discomfort their dog or cat may experience.
We assure you that the pain is minimal. And if you are really squeamish, elect to microchip during another procedure such as teeth cleaning. If you’re considering getting your pup spayed or neutered, think about doing the microchip at the same time to save them another stressful trip to the vet.
Can a Microchip Work as a GPS Tracker?
You cannot locate or “track” your pet with its microchip. Microchips are “passive transponders,” meaning they don’t contain a power source, so they have no way to signal when your pet is lost. In fact, the chip doesn’t do anything at all until a scanner is passed over it. That’s when the microchip uses the energy produced by the scanner to emit a unique code, which then appears on the scanner.
Is it possible to implant a GPS tracker into a dog? The answer is a hard NO – it is not possible to implant a device, which uses GPS technology to track your pet, into your dog at this time. Why? Because of the large size a GPS-enabled tracker would have to be.
To add a power source to the microchip, you would need to add a battery compartment inside the chip (making it a lot larger than the current injectable size), and your pet would need to be “plugged in” to charge, sort of like an electric car! Not very practical!
Pet GPS collar devices are available, but of course, they’re worn on the outside—on a collar and most are too big for cats at this time. They contain a rechargeable battery that usually lasts about a week between charges. GPS trackers work with a mobile app and a cellular plan allowing you to track a lost dog in almost real-time. If your dog is at high risk for escape or is a highly-trained working dog, consider this an essential addition to the permanent identification of a microchip.
By now, you know how much it costs to microchip a dog and some of the other options available to pet parents. Hopefully, you understand the differences between the trackers so you can make the right choice for your dog.
Most importantly, you’ve realized how much better the odds of getting your pet back are when they are chipped. Our veterinary professionals would be happy to assist you with making a decision, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone, test, or email anytime.
Consider Joining the Paoli Vetcare Family
We invite you to meet Dr. Jay Rowan or Dr. Dawn Urioste—the best reviewed veterinarians on the Main Line—for a free physical exam or free second opinion. You can book an appointment online now. If you’d like to support our animal hospital, please shop for your pet food and medications through the Paoli Vetcare Online Pharmacy.