How to tell if a dog is microchipped

How Does a Computer Chip in a Dog Work?

Countless lost dogs end up at animal shelters every day because their owners can’t be located. A microchip can help improve the chances of a speedy reunion with your faithful friend if he gets lost. The cost of a microchip is negligible compared to the peace of mind it brings.

Microchip Overview

A microchip is to your dog what the LoJack Vehicle Recovery System would be to your car. No bigger than a grain of rice, a microchip is a radio-frequency identification implant that provides your dog with permanent ID. The microchip electronically stores information that identifies your dog and links him to whatever contact information you provide during the registration process.

How It Works

Each microchip has a unique number that, when properly registered, is linked to the contact information you provide. The microchip is injected into your dog’s skin somewhere between the shoulders and remains dormant until activated by a special scanner that reads the chip number. If your dog gets lost and winds up a veterinary office or animal shelter that scans for microchips, the information you provided will be retrieved and you will be contacted to reclaim your furry friend.

Microchip Cost

The cost of a microchip for your dog is relatively affordable. Most animal shelters and some pet shops include microchip services at no additional cost beyond the regular adoption or purchase fee. Depending on the type of microchip and whether your dog gets the procedure at a veterinary office, a microchipping clinic or a participating pet supply store, the one-time fee generally ranges from $25 to $50.

Microchip Registration Cost

There are often additional charges beyond the microchip itself. While the registration fee is sometimes included in the cost of a microchip, most of the time you will need to pay a separate charge to register and store your contact information with a pet recovery database. The cost for registering a microchip also varies but usually falls below $20 and is generally valid for the lifetime of your dog. For best results and optimal protection for your pooch, register your dog’s microchip with a well-known, national pet recovery database like HomeAgain or PetLink.

Notify the national pet recovery database of any changes to your contact information. It will be tough for anyone to contact you about your lost dog if you’ve moved or changed phone numbers but forgot to update that information. The contact information linked to your dog’s microchip needs to be kept current for the chip to serve its purpose.

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This article was co-authored by Ray Spragley, DVM. Dr. Ray Spragley is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the Owner/Founder of Zen Dog Veterinary Care PLLC in New York. With experience in multiple institutions and private practices, Dr. Spragley’s specializations and interests include non-surgical management of cranial cruciate ligament tears, Intervertebral Disk Disease(IVDD), and pain management in osteoarthritis. Dr. Spragley holds a BS in Biology from SUNY Albany and has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM) from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) through the Canine Rehab Institute as well as a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) through Chi University.

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Microchips placed in dogs are small passive radio emitters about the size of a grain of rice that are injected under the skin above the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number, and that number is registered on an official central database along with a description of that dog, the owner’s name, address, and contact phone numbers. [1] X Research source [2] X Expert Source

Ray Spragley, DVM
Veterinarian Expert Interview. 29 June 2021. When a scanner is passed over the microchip, that unique number is picked up and displayed on the scanner. Knowing if a dog has a microchip is especially helpful if you find a stray dog and need to trace the owner. [3] X Research source

While a stud finder cannot interpret the information linked to a dog’s microchip, it can alert you to the presence of a chip.

Call a local veterinary office, rescue group or animal shelter and ask if it has a universal microchip scanner.

How can i tell if my dog has pitbull in her?

How to Tell if It’s a Pitbull Breed

  • Look at the size and ratios of the dog. Pitt bulls are two and one-half feet tall at the shoulder or shorter.
  • Look at the dog’s coat. The color is irrelevant.
  • Examine the dog’s head and neck. A pit bull’s head is extremely wide from ear to ear, across the brow and from cheek to cheek.

How can i tell if my dog has a bladder infection?

Take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice the following signs:

  1. Frequent urination.
  2. Breaking housetraining.
  3. Blood in the urine.
  4. Dribbling urine.
  5. Crying out while urinating.
  6. Straining to urinate.
  7. Frequently or obsessively licking the genital area.

How can i tell the age of my schnauzer?

How Can You Tell How Old a Dog Is?

  1. Check Their Teeth. The most reliable way to estimate a dog’s age is to examine their teeth, according to the Humane Society of the United States…
  2. Examine Their Coat…
  3. Look at Their Eyes…
  4. Pay Attention to Their Hearing…
  5. Consider Their Muscles and Build…
  6. Don’t Forget Genetics.

How can i tell if my french bulldog is pregnant?

6 Signs Of Pregnancy In Dogs

  • Decreased Activity. If your dog easily becomes exhausted or is spending more time napping, it may indicate that she is pregnant…
  • Changes in Appetite…
  • Unusual Behavior…
  • Enlarged or Discolored Nipples…
  • Weight Gain and Enlarged Abdomen…
  • Nesting Behaviors.

How can i tell if my dog has a bad tooth?

However, once an oral health problem is advanced, you may see certain symptoms, including:

  1. Red or bleeding gums.
  2. Blood on a chew toy.
  3. Vocalizing when they yawn or eat.
  4. Loose teeth.
  5. Bad breath.
  6. Lumps or bumps in the mouth.
  7. Ropey or bloody saliva.
  8. Head shyness (your pet not wanting you to touch their head)

How can i tell if my dog has bad eyesight?

Some signs that your dog may be experiencing vision loss or blindness include general clumsiness, bumping into walls and furniture, startling easily and apprehensive behavior, inability to find toys or food and water bowls, reluctance to go out at night, excessive sleeping or loss of playfulness, disorientation or

How can i tell if my dog has an ear infection?

Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:

  1. Head shaking or head tilting.
  2. Ear odor.
  3. Vigorous scratching.
  4. Lack of balance.
  5. Unusual back-and-forth eye movements.
  6. Redness of the ear canal.
  7. Swelling of the outer portion of the ear.
  8. Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge.

How to Activate a Microchip in a Dog

The use of microchips to identify lost dogs and their owners has become increasingly popular. If you find a stray or abandoned dog and would like to locate his owner, start by checking to see if he has a microchip.

Identify the Presence of a Microchip

Step 1

Use a stud finder. As crazy as it might sound, experiments have proven that common household stud finders do identify the presence of a microchip underneath a dog’s skin. While a stud finder cannot interpret the information linked to a dog’s microchip, it can alert you to the presence of a chip.

Step 2

Call a local veterinary office, rescue group or animal shelter and ask if it has a universal microchip scanner. Not all microchip scanners are created equally. Some scanners will identify only certain brands of microchips, whereas universal scanners are able to recognize microchips from multiple manufacturers.

Step 3

Take the dog to be scanned for a microchip. Once you have identified a local animal shelter or humane organization that uses a universal scanner, take the dog to that location and have him scanned for the presence of a microchip.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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GPS Collars or Microchip Implants: Which Is the Best for Finding a Lost Dog or Cat? →

How Does a Computer Chip in a Dog Work? →

Make Service Dog Vests →

  • Humane Society: High Technology: Identifying Lost Pets with Microchips
  • Paws in Training: Dog Microchips: Pros & Cons
  • Daily Dog Scoop: Microchips & Tools
  • If the dog was scanned using a non-universal scanner, take him to another veterinary office or shelter to be scanned again with a different scanner.

Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.

Surely, many pet owners here have already had their dogs and cats microchipped, with it being such a huge benefit in many ways! While collars and tags are helpful, a microchip helps you locate your dog and ensure that they have information in case any of their physical tags get lost. It’s helped many owners find their lost dogs that way!

So if you stumble across a dog who looks lost, one of the first things to do is to check if they have a microchip. But how would you know if they are? I’ll be showing you the steps to take on how to tell if a dog has a chip implanted!

How to Tell If a Dog Has a Chip Implanted

A lot of us have met many stray dogs, many of them who may be lost and finding their way home. While it’s easy to locate the owner through a collar or tags with the owner’s contact information, they most likely may have lost it or don’t wear one. Fortunately, microchipping became a solution to ensure that the dog’s location and owner information would be easy to access.

However, you can’t immediately tell if a dog is microchipped, so here are the five steps to follow:

1. Take Him to the Local Shelter or Rescue Group

The first thing to do is to find your local shelter or contact an animal rescue group who can help you out. You can ask them to scan the dog is they have an implanted microchip ID, helping you track down the owner information to let them know you have their dog.

Plus, if the owner is aware that their dog went missing, they will most likely head on to the local shelter immediately to find their pet. Ask staff if they have had any missing dog reports to help find the rightful dow owner immediately.

2. Call the Local Veterinarian

If you’re not comfortable in visiting the local shelter (some shelters may be unclean or poorly managed), then head on to the local veterinarian, who is also able to check if the dog is microchipped. They will scan the animal and check for information to contact the owner.

Or hopefully, the local vet is familiar with the dog and their owner, so they can check through their contact list for an even faster procedure. If ever you do find out that the missing dog isn’t microchipped, then it’s best to follow the next steps ahead.

3. File a Report and Post About the Missing Dog

If the dog shelter is poorly managed, don’t worry about leaving him there as you can keep the dog until his owners contact you. Make sure that you file a found dog report in the dog shelter and let the local vet know about it in case any dog owners contact them to find their pet.

You can also take action yourself by taking a photo of the dog and leaving details on both dog and your contact information. Post as much as you can, may it be fliers around the neighborhood and even online in local community groups.

4. If You Need to Take Him Home First

If ever you do take the dog home for temporary shelter, you need to prepare beforehand, especially when you have pets of your own. Check for any fleas or sicknesses that may affect the household. Also, if the dog or your pets aren’t fully vaccinated, then it’s best to keep the distance to ensure both dog and pets don’t get sick.

Besides that, wash your hands after handling the dog, clean his waste immediately, and be wary while caring for the dog, as he may feel aggressive or scared. Protecting yourself and the household is your top priority, but also make sure that the dog is comfortable.

5. Using a Stud Finder?

While this may seem like an odd way to tell if a dog has a chip implanted, several experiments show that a stud finder helps. It can identify microchip presence under the dog’s skin. However, it can’t show you the information inside that chip, so you’ll need to contact the vet or shelter once you find out that the lost dog is indeed microchipped.

If you’re interested to learn more about microchip implantation, here’s a short video guide to help you out:

Wrapping It Up

When you first spot a friendly, lost dog, it’s best to take responsibility to lead them back to their homes. Hopefully, they do have a chip implanted which helps you contact their owner to take them back home. If you have a dog, you might want to consider microchipping them as well to prevent serious cases, too!

I hope that this article on how to tell if a dog has a chip implanted helps you. So now you know what to do just in case you find a dog who needs help!

Microchips placed in dogs are small passive radio emitters about the size of a grain of rice that are injected under the skin above the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number, and that number is registered on an official central database along with a description of that dog, the owner’s name, address, and contact phone numbers. When a scanner is passed over the microchip, that unique number is picked up and displayed on the scanner. Knowing if a dog has a microchip is especially helpful if you find a stray dog and need to trace the owner.


Method 1 of 2: Looking For a Microchip

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

Look for a tag on the dog’s collar. If the dog is wearing a collar take a look to see if it has a specific tag that says the dog is microchipped. Microchips are made by different manufacturers, and these companies usually issue a metal tags to place on the dog’s collar to alert interested parties that the dog is chipped.

  • The tag is supplied in part to let anyone that finds a dog know that it is chipped in order to scan them but it is also a visual deterrent to potential thieves thinking of stealing the dog, since the dog has permanent ID as belonging to someone else.
  • If the dog does not have an official ID tag on their collar, look for a bespoke collar tag bearing wording such as “I am microchipped” or “microchipped.” Know that this is not the same as a tag engraved with the dog’s name and phone number. The purpose of this tag is purely to alert the finder that the dog is chipped and should be scanned. This type of tag usually does not carry personal details.

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

Feel for the microchip. If the dog has lost their collar or there is no tag on the collar, try gently feeling for the presence of the microchip. The microchip is encased in a perspex coat that is the size and shape of a grain of rice. Microchips are injected under the skin in the loose skin of the neck at the centerline between the shoulder blades. Therefore this is the ideal place to start feeling.

  • Run your fingertips over the skin between the shoulder blades and neck. Apply gentle pressure to see if you can detect a firm rice-grain sized object just under the skin. Microchips do bed in, which means they can migrate slightly from the original implant site.
  • To reduce the chance of missing a microchip, work in a methodical manner working up and down between shoulder and head and then left to right working side to side from the shoulders up the neck until every inch is covered.
  • This is not a foolproof method. If you can’t feel a chip it does not mean the dog is definitely not chipped because the chip may be present but have shifted location or is embedded too deeply to feel.

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

Get a definitive answer by getting the dog scanned. Even if the dog doesn’t have a tag that says it has a chip and you don’t feel one, it’s best to scan the dog to find out. It is worth scanning for a microchip if you are trying to get the contact details of a lost dog’s owner.

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

X-ray the dog. Microchips show up on x-ray. While this is not routinely used as a method to check if a chip is present, in cases where a chip was implanted and has stopped working, taking a radiograph of the dog is a quick and easy way to check the chip is still in place but not working.

Method 2 of 2: Scanning For a Microchip

Check the scanner. First, the operator needs to check that the scanner is working by pressing the ‘on’ button and passing the sensor over a test chip. If the scanner bleeps and displays a number it is working. If the batteries are dead the display will either remain blank or display a message “low battery.”

  • If the scanner is working but has not scanned a microchip after a set period of time it displays the message “no chip found.”

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

Scan the dog’s shoulders. Turn on the scanner and hold it one inch above the skin. Move the scanner in up and down sweeps from the shoulder to neck and then from side to side. When the scanner activates, make a note of the number.

Check other places on the dog’s body. If no chip is found with a methodical scanning pattern over the shoulders, don’t give up. Pass the scanner over the remainder of the body. This includes under the sternum and around the armpits, just in case it has migrated to an unusual location.

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

So, your pet is microchipped, but you don’t know the chip’s information. Not to worry. It’s easy to find your pet’s microchip information. Then, you can register the microchip or update your information.

Why Microchip?

Even though microchipping dogs and cats is the most common, almost any pet a pet owner has can be microchipped.

Microchips are the best way to find your missing pet. But, your pet needs to have one for it to work. And, you must keep your pet’s microchip updated. Update your name, phone number, email, address and personal vet information with the chip manufacturer whenever any of this information changes.

Most importantly, if your dogs and cats are not microchipped, do it now. Once your pet is lost, it’s too late to use this valuable tool to find your pet as soon as possible. Join all the other responsible pet owners who microchip their pets.

Microchips are not as expensive as they used to be. VetCo ( a program from PetCo) offers $19 microchips. Check your area for low cost spay and neuter clinics. They microchip for as low as ten dollars. Vaccine clinics at pet stores and feed stores offer reasonable pricing too.

Veterinarians usually charge more. Check with them for specials. If you shop around, do it sooner than later. Don’t let your pet be without a microchip for long.

If your pet goes missing and you are reunited because your pet was scanned, a microchip at any cost is worth it.

Do microchips really work?

Statistics and happy ending stories say they do.

A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without a microchip number were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time. Dogs with microchips were returned to owners 52.2% of the time.

Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time. Microchipped cats were reunited with their owners 38.5% of the time.

Some animals found with a microchip were unable to be reunited with their pet owner. Most of the time it was because the chip wasn’t registered, the owner information was incorrect or there was no owner information at all. The moral of the story is microchip, register your chip and keep owner information updated.

Big Grey began showing up at a house in Boise, ID. He was assumed to be feral or a stray. He was fed for 4 years. The 4th winter, Big Grey began to meow, let his feeders pet him and eventually handle him. He was taken to a vet and scanned. He was chipped. The owner’s information was up-to-date. He’d been missing for 4 years. He was reunited with his pet owner that day.

How to find your pet’s microchip information

To find your pet’s microchip number, first take it to any local veterinarian, animal shelter or animal control. They will scan a pet for free. Make sure they use a “universal” scanner. A universal scanner can scan microchips made by all chip manufacturers.

Request that they scan a microchip they have on hand to see if the scanner is charged and working. A scanner not working correctly has failed to reunite a lost pet.

Microchips can migrate to different parts of the body than where they were implanted, so be thorough. There’s an order to scanning:

Down the back from head to tail Make “S” motion down back starting at left shoulder to the left or right hip. Do a minimum 3-4 “S” sweeps, but more is better Down back starting at left shoulder Down left and right side from head to tip of tail “S” motions on left and right side of body from head to feet, including legs

Go to and enter the microchip number. This will tell you who made your chip and provide the microchip contact information. Most importantly, register the microchip or update your personal contact information with the chip manufacturer immediately. Also, register with It’s the most searched pet chip site when an animal is lost or found.

This also works when you find a lost pet. Get it scanned right away. You can help get a pet back home as soon as possible.

How to tell if a dog is microchipped

Check the Chip Day is on August 15. This holiday was co-created by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to help remind people to microchip their pets and make sure the microchip is properly registered. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about microchips (no, they’re not a GPS). And registration is necessary for the chip to work. Here are six steps to check a microchip in case you and your pet ever get separated.

Have a Professional Scan Your Pet

Not sure if your pet has a microchip? No problem. Time to get them scanned by a pet pro. This is painless, free and only takes a second. Simply take your dog or cat to a vet office or animal shelter. We can do this for you at Adopt & Shop! If you’re planning on going somewhere other than Adopt & Shop, call the location beforehand to ask if they use a universal scanner. These devices read all pet microchip frequencies so your chip won’t accidentally get passed over.

Look Up the Chip

If a microchip is detected by the scanner, it will reveal the microchip’s unique number. You then need to check the microchip at . This tool will tell you which organization your chip is registered with. Then go to that registry and look up your microchip’s number again. It should reveal your contact information. If that contact information is complete and up to date then you’re in good shape and no further action is required. However, if there’s no information or something is out of date, that’s okay. You can always register your chip or update your registry information for free at .

Implant a Chip If Necessary

If a universal scanner doesn’t pick up the presence of a microchip, then you should ask to have you pet microchipped. We do this for $10 on Microchip Mondays ! After the microchipping process, make sure you hold on to a copy of the microchip paperwork. This will contain the microchip’s unique number, which is in many ways like a social security number. Keep it somewhere safe so you know where it is when you need to look it up again.

Register the Chip

Registering your pet microchip is arguably the most important step of all. Microchips aren’t GPS devices. They can’t track your pet’s every move. Instead a pet pro has to scan the chip to get the chip’s unique number so they can look up your contact information. That contact information is only available if your pet microchip is registered. This is why registering your microchip is so crucial when it comes to reuniting with your lost pet. We recommend doing so at since it’s free for the life of your pet.

Update the Registry

You have to always keep your pet microchip registry info up to date. This is so an animal shelter or other Good Samaritan will know how to reach you if they find your lost pet. This is why you need to update your contact information in the registry each time you switch phone numbers or addresses.

Get ID Tags

Pet microchips are the only permanent form of identification, but the easiest way for someone to recognize your lost pet as belonging to you is an identification tag. Because of this, you should always have your pet wear a collar and ID tag. After you purchase the ID tag, have it engraved with your pet’s name and your phone number. We have a variety of collars and ID tags at our stores. We will even engrave them for you on the spot!

And that’s all you need to do to check a microchip!