How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog?

by | 1/24/2023

Veterinarian scanning a dog's chip

Jump To: Dog Microchip Costs | How Microchipping Your Dog Works | How Microchipping is Implanted | When Can a Dog Get A Microchip | Pet Insurance That Covers Microchipping Costs | Final Thoughts | FAQs

Approximately 10 million pets in the United States are lost every year. As pet owners, we want to hold our furry friends close and never think about them being lost, alone, or afraid. To avoid this heartbreaking reality, we must proactively provide our beloved animals with proper identification. 

Many dog owners are turning to microchips as a solution for locating lost or stolen pets. Much like veterinary wellness plans that prevent your dog from getting sick or hurt, microchipping is a preventative measure you can take to avoid the heartbreak of losing your pet for good. 

In this article, we’re going to look at dog microchip costs, procedures, and other FAQs to help you understand how these little devices work. We’ll also give you the rundown on:

  • How microchips are implanted
  • Whether pet insurance covers microchipping

Breakdown: Dog Microchip Costs

On average, you’ll pay around $55 to have your dog microchipped. In some low-cost clinics, you can find microchipping services for as little as $15.

Here are some dog microchip costs from multiple veterinary clinics across the U.S.

City, State Veterinary Clinic Microchip Cost
Jacksonville, Fla. First Coast No More Homeless Pets $15
Lakeland, Fla. SPCA Florida Medical Center $25
Raleigh, N.C. Oak Heart Veterinary Hospital $53
Los Angeles Affordable Animal Hospital Silver Lake $55
Boise, Idaho Broadway Veterinary Hospital $75
Portland, Maine Back Cove Animal Hospital $85
Cary, N.C. Care First Animal Hospital $108

Some of the more expensive options in the table include registration fees in the overall microchipping cost. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to fully understand what you’re paying for.

Typical Costs & Factors

Luckily, microchipping is affordable. The implantation is non-invasive and done without sedation or local anesthesia, so you’re just paying for the veterinary implantation and chip itself. 

Your pet’s microchipping will likely cost around $55, but you might incur additional costs for administrative, office, and examination fees. If it’s your first time visiting a specific clinic, you’ll pay for an initial exam as well.

Physical examination fees typically range from $40-$80, so your whole visit would cost over $100.

After the vet has implanted the microchip, you’ll need to register the ID number online with a microchip database. You’ll typically pay the database separately when registering your pet’s number, or the vet will include registration in your microchipping cost. 

You must register your pet in a database if you want your contact information accessible to potential finders. If you don’t register the chip, people won’t be able to contact you, and your pet’s identification number is essentially useless.

That being said, there are several popular registries to choose from, so you can find a price that best suits your needs. We’ll discuss some options below. 

Minimum Costs Associated 

The minimum costs associated with microchipping your pet are those you’ll pay for the implantation service. Your vet will perform the implantation during a routine vet visit or a quick visit just for the microchipping. 

Try to have your pet microchipped while it’s already at the clinic for other services to cut down on costs. By bundling the chip implantation with a routine checkup or anesthetic procedure, you’ll pay one office and exam fee for the whole visit instead of an additional one for just microchipping.

Maximum Costs Associated

Along with microchipping costs and exam fees, you’ll most likely pay for microchip registry enrollment.

As we mentioned, registering your pet’s microchip ID is crucial. Suppose you don’t add your contact info and pet’s microchip number into a database. In that case, potential finders will have no way to identify your pet or contact you, even if your pet is microchipped.

Here are three top microchip databases and their enrollment fees:

The fees above reflect what you’d pay to register your dog with the pet recovery database. This means your pet will always have a spot in the database, and people can search for its unique ID number there.

Some pet parents might want peace of mind knowing they’ve purchased additional measures of identification if their pets are lost. Luckily, some microchip companies offer a variety of packages to meet the needs of these dog owners. 

For example, Petkey offers these options:

  • Yearly Lost Pet Protection – $19.99
    • Online Pet Portal access
    • Lifetime microchip registration
    • Lifetime lost pet alerting services
    • No renewal fees
  • Lifetime Lost Pet Protection – $45
    • Online Pet Portal access
    • Lifetime microchip registration
    • Lifetime lost pet alerting services
    • No renewal fees
  • Standard Lifetime Lost Pet Protection – $65
    • Online Pet Portal access
    • Lifetime microchip registration
    • No renewal fees
    • Lifetime lost pet alerting services
    • Pet ID tag
  • Premium Petkey Package – $70
    • Online Pet Portal access
    • Lifetime microchip registration
    • No renewal fees
    • Lifetime lost pet alerting services
    • Pet ID tag
    • Pet ID card

How Does Your Dog’s Microchip Work?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a microchip is a tiny electronic device that transmits data to a scanner. The chip contains a unique identification number that, when registered, can help potential finders look up your pet. 

The chip won’t contain extensive information about your pet, such as vaccination status, spay/neuter status, or health records, but you can fill out this information on the database where your pet’s microchip ID number is stored.

Because the microchip only contains an identification number, you must register the device online. If you don’t register your pet’s microchip, there will be no way for people to contact you if they find your lost dog. The microchip isn’t a GPS tracking device, so it won’t show your pet’s location.

If your pet is captured by an animal control officer or taken to an animal shelter or veterinary office, the staff will scan the animal for a microchip. Most vet offices and shelters will use a universal scanner, which can read any brand of microchip. If you’ve successfully registered your pet’s chip online, the staff can easily contact you and return your pet home safely.

Remember to update your microchip registry if you move, travel, or change your phone number.

While researching different microchip companies, you might run across the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. This service, provided by the American Animal Hospital Association, isn’t a microchip registry. The AAHA lookup helps people identify which microchip registry a certain ID number belongs to by searching pet recovery databases.

How is the Chip Implanted? Is it Painful?

The microchip is nearly the size of a grain of rice, so no extensive surgery or sedation is necessary for implantation. Microchip placement is typically near the neck or between the shoulder blades. The vet will place the chip under your dog’s skin with a hypodermic applicator that’s only slightly larger than a regular injection needle. 

The implantation will be just about as painful for your pet as any shot, vaccination, or blood work. Luckily, the process only takes a few seconds, so your buddy won’t hurt for long. Once the device is under your pet’s skin, it emits a radio frequency called an RFID. The vet will run a microchip scanner over the area to activate the RFID and display your pet’s unique ID number.

The vet can perform the microchip implantation during a quick clinic visit, routine checkup, or while your pet is receiving other treatments under anesthesia.

When Can a Dog Get a Microchip?

Depending on the animal’s size, vets typically suggest microchipping your pet no earlier than 6-12 weeks of age. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, many people wait to microchip pets until they’re spayed or neutered. This way, your dog has had time to grow for a while, and you can bundle the microchip fee with procedure costs.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Microchip Costs?

Pet insurance helps you afford veterinary care for your pet’s unexpected accidents and illnesses – but does it cover microchip implantation to bring your lost dog home? 

The simple answer is yes. Some pet insurance providers cover microchip implantation under accident/illness plans. Others cover the service under wellness care plans, which you can purchase for an extra monthly fee.

Spot pet insurance covers microchipping under its accident-only and accident/illness plans. This means you can have your pet microchipped by a licensed veterinarian, and Spot will reimburse you for the service costs. Coverage won’t include any registration fees, but you’ll get money back for the implantation. To find out more about Spot’s microchip coverage, check out our Spot pet insurance review.

ASPCA pet health insurance also provides microchip coverage to help bring a lost pet home. The provider will reimburse you for chip implantation by a veterinarian, but not any associated fees for registration, monitoring, or renewal. Read our ASPCA pet insurance review to learn more about coverage options and limitations.

Other providers like Embrace pet insurance include microchip coverage under add-on packages. Embrace’s Wellness Rewards program is a flexible preventative care plan that allows you to pay monthly fees in exchange for an annual reimbursement allowance. In addition to microchipping, Embrace’s Wellness Rewards packages cover items like routine dental cleanings, nail trimming services, and pet activity monitors. To see what else the provider has to offer, check out our Embrace pet insurance review.

happy dog and happy owner

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has given you a better idea of common dog microchip costs and how these little devices can help you bring home a lost pet. We like to think of microchips as a preventative care measure just like vaccinations or routine dental cleanings; you’re taking proactive steps to give your pet a safer and brighter future.

Collar tags are excellent for pet identification – but if those items are lost or removed, potential finders will have no way to identify your animal. Microchipping your pet provides it with a more permanent and reliable form of ID so that you can find your best friend in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Cost of Microchipping Your Dog

 

Is it worth it to microchip your dog? 

The most important benefit of microchipping your animal is the enhanced chance that it will be returned if lost or stolen. The most important benefit of microchipping your animal is the enhanced chance that it will be returned if lost or stolen.

Is buying pet insurance worth it? 

For most pet owners, pet insurance is absolutely worth it. We never know when our pet could have an unexpected accident or develop an illness, so having a backup plan in place to help pay for your pet’s vet bills is beneficial for most pet parents. Vet bills can quickly add up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, which many pet parents don’t have readily available. 

Having pet insurance protects you financially and gives you peace of mind that you won’t have to say no to recommended treatments to benefit your pet’s health and happiness.

How much does pet insurance cost? 

Pet insurance costs will vary based on your pet insurance provider, location, your pet’s breed, your pet’s age, and more. Other factors that will influence the cost of pet insurance include the type of plan you choose, especially if the plan has extensive coverage and if you opt for preventative care add-ons. The more coverage your plan has, the higher the cost is likely to be. 

To give you a general idea of pet insurance costs, we’ve researched the following numbers for you. Currently, most dog insurance plans cost $28 per month on average, and cat insurance plans can cost as little as $11 per month. Depending on the plan, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 per month to $90 per month in most cases.

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