The cost of microchipping can vary from one place to another – either from a clinic, hospital or an animal shelter.
The cost can be broken down into three parts: the RFID chip, the insertion, and the registration.
All-together the cost of getting a dog microchipped typically falls between $30 to $60. However, it is possible to microchip a dog for as little as $5.
For example, one hospital can charge $42 for microchipping inclusive of free lifetime registration, while another facility offers only $19 with the same registration benefits.
Many animal shelters also offer microchipping service at around $30 plus tax.
Some animal welfare groups offer the service for free. We suggest you check your local neighborhood for such events. It’s affordable enough but being free is a huge bonus.
Most microchips are purchased through a veterinary clinic. If you don’t mind inserting the chip yourself, kits can be bought online. Branded ones range from $8 to $15, while generic microchips are priced at $3 to $5.
Before buying a microchip make sure that your dog does not already have one. Most animal shelters and many breeders place microchips in their dogs.
You can ask your local veterinary office to scan your dog for a chip – typically for free. If your dog already has a chip, write down the number and make sure it is registered to you.
Animal shelters and veterinary clinics routinely microchip dogs. Veterinarians usually charge a single fee for the microchip, insertion, and registration.
The procedure is quick and about as painful as getting blood drawn. When distracted, many dogs do not even notice the microchip insertion.
Alternatively, microchips can be inserted when your dog is under anesthesia for a spay or neuter. The total microchip cost at a veterinary clinic is usually $30 to $60.
Your veterinarian will either have you register the microchip yourself or will give you paperwork to fill out. A staff member will later send the paperwork to the microchip manufacturer.
Keep a copy of your dog’s microchip number. You can use this later to check that the registration went through.
After the microchip has been implanted, the next vital step is to register the chip with a national pet recovery agency. A microchip in your dog will not lead to the recovery of your lost pet if your contact information is not registered somewhere.
It is important to consider how your dog’s microchip will be registered. When a dog’s microchip is scanned, only a serial number appears.
This number must somehow be linked to the owner for your dog to be returned home. Unfortunately, there is no central registry of pet microchips.
If your area has dog licenses, the microchip number can be included on the license. Then, if your dog gets lost, the municipality can be called to find the dog’s owner.
However, this method will only work within normal business hours. It can mean spending the weekend at the animal shelter.
A more effective method of microchip registration is with the manufacturer. Online registries can be instantly searched.
There are five brand-name manufacturers of pet microchips. These are PetLink, HomeAgain, AKC Reunite, AVID, and 24 PetWatch.
Each of these companies has a unique company identification number. This tells shelters and veterinary clinics which microchip database to search.
Generic pet microchips do not have this company identification number. When your dog has a generic chip, it is difficult to know which database to search. Veterinary clinics can get very busy and overlook lesser-known databases and not find your registration.
Veterinary clinics may offer only the microchip implant procedure but not the microchip registration cost. The best way to make sure your dog returns home is to use a branded microchip and register with the manufacturer.
Agencies like Petlink offer a one-time registration fee of $19.99 while AKC Reunite charges $17.50. On the other hand, HomeAgain charges $19.99 per year along with a wealth of benefits. The cost for using one of the main 5 registries is a $15 to $25 one-time fee. Annual membership is NOT required to stay on the registry.
It’s important that your contact details are always current so if you were to move house or change your phone number, the same details should be updated into the registry database. You don’t want your dog delivered to the wrong address, do you?
Pet microchips are made to last about 20 years, but it is possible for them to fail sooner. Have your dogs scanned every year at their checkup to make sure that the microchip is still working.
Broken microchips are not dangerous to your dog and do not need removal. A new microchip can be placed if the old one breaks.
Remember to keep your contact information up to date on your microchip registration. Some registries charge a fee to change information but most allow you to update it for free.
AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup
It’s good to know that not only one but multiple companies offer to keep your pet’s information but it can get really tedious and confusing. Why is it that even with a unique identification number, it is still difficult to pinpoint the correct pet registry to contact?
That has been a bone of contention between microchip manufacturers and pet recovery agencies who both use different technology and databases. Avid uses PETtrac database while HomeAgain has its own pet database, etc.
There is no central microchip lookup. In order to address this issue, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) introduced the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool.
Currently, all the major manufacturers except AVID are on this registry. This is not another pet registry service but a search tool accessible via the internet and used to identify those pet registries.
There are many free registries available online that the AAHA microchip search engine will find. However, not everyone knows how to check the AAHA search engine.
When a dog is brought into an animal shelter, for example, it would scan for a microchip and secure the ID number. One just needs to input that number on the search window of the AAHA Lookup Tool homepage. It will then display the contact details of the registration company where the pet was registered.
All that needs to be done is to contact them and secure the pet owner’s contact information. And voila! Dog and owner reunite.