Understanding the Dog Microchip Registration Process

Dog microchip implants for pet dogs have become increasingly popular due to the ease of implantation and permanence of the identification. A microchip is a radio transponder, the size of a grain of rice that is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades of the dog. The implantation takes less than a minute and is similar to a routine vaccination, with little or no pain. A scanner is then waved over the area and the radio waves provide the unique identification number for your dog. This number is stored in a national database and in the case that your dog goes missing a veterinarian or animal shelter will be able to use this number to contact you. The steps to understand the dog microchip registration process are listed below.


Veterinarians or animal welfare agencies all typically provide the service to implant a microchip. Currently, there are 2 main companies providing the majority of microchips: Avid and Home Again. When choosing the type of microchip to implant, make sure that the chip can be read by a universal scanner. This means that even scanners produced by one company can read microchips (or frequencies) in dogs from another company.

Register Your Microchip

Some organizations will pre-register their microchips, while most veterinarians require the owner to mail in their registration with the fees. Most companies will require a one-time fee but some do require a yearly registration. Be sure to discuss this with your implanter to ensure that you have properly registered your microchip. Unregistered microchips are the #1 reason why dogs with microchips are not reunited with owners when lost.

Keep Your Information Correct

Be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date. Avid and Home Again both allow for easy online updates to information at no cost. Because the microchip is permanent and lasts the life of the dog with no upkeep, it is common for owners to forget this step but it is imperative to keep your information current so that if your dog does go missing, you can be contacted as soon as possible.

Keep an Identification Tag on Your Dog

A microchip does not mean that your dog does not need an identification tag. Even with a microchip, if your dog is found by a good samaritan, that person may not know the dog has a microchip or ever think to have him scanned for one. User error by those scanning stray dogs is another factor to consider. Scanning too fast or focusing the limit to a limited area of the dog can lead to the inability to detect a microchip.

Alert the Microchip Company if Your Dog Goes Missing

If your dog goes missing, the microchip company can place an alert on your dog's information so if any agency contacts them regarding the microchip, they can be made aware of the owner's information and that the owners are looking for their pet.

Microchipping your dog is a safe, cheap and permanent way to identify your pet. However, putting an identification tag on your dog and making sure you keep your information current is required to best protect your pet and increase your chances of reuniting.