How to Find a Lost Dog with a Microchip


Need to find your missing dog? If your dog has been microchipped and you took the necessary steps to complete the registration, there’s a good chance that he’ll be returned safely back to you sooner than later. Dogs and cats sometimes go missing for reasons such as curiosity, boredom, anxiety, or simply looking for a mate. In fact, one in three pets gets lost within their lifetimes. But the odds of finding a lost pet are actually pretty good, especially if the pet has been microchipped. About 93% of dogs and 74% of cats reported lost are returned to their owners. Missing dogs with microchips are 15% more likely to be reunited with their owners.

What is a Microchip?

If you’d like to know how to find a lost dog with a microchip, you need to know exactly how microchips work. Microchips are permanent identification tags that are injected under a dog’s skin, right between the shoulder blades. These are tiny pieces of technology, about the size of a grain of rice, which are readable via a scanner. Getting your dog microchipped is as simple as a quick trip to the vet. You have to make sure that the microchip is injected by a veterinarian or someone who has been trained in the procedure. Microchips don’t need a source of power and will last your dog’s lifetime.

Locating a Lost Dog Using a Microchip

Finding your missing dog would be a little easier if the details on his microchip is up to date.

1. Enter the microchip number in the online registry.

The moment you find out your dog has gone missing, log on to the microchipping company’s online registry and enter your pet’s microchip number. This information should be kept safe along with your dog’s medical records and identification documents. If you can’t find the number, you can either try calling the clinic where you had the microchip installed, or go online and use universal tracking sites. Registries like will not provide information on the location of your pet. Their purpose is to help identify the microchipping company based on the microchip number you enter.

2. Wait for the microchipping company to contact you.

Now comes the hard part. You’ll be able to find your dog if his microchip has been scanned at a vet clinic or a shelter to retrieve pet and owner information. Microchips don’t work the same way as GPS trackers, which give you the real time location of your missing pet. If you kept your contact details updated on the microchip registry, whoever finds your pet and scans its microchip should be able to reach you immediately.

Waiting for a call could be difficult. When your pet gets lost, you will also have to take active steps to find your lost dog, among them, creating and posting flyers, doing a thorough search of the neighborhood, and reporting your missing pet to It’s important that you have a friend or a family member at home in case you get a call notifying you that your pet has been found.

3. Call local shelters and vet hospitals.

As part of your search, it would also help to call shelters and vet hospitals near you if a dog matching your pet’s description has been taken in recently. These places should have microchip scanners readily available and they’re used to identifying lost pets with microchips. You can also visit them personally and hand over your missing dog flyer so they could do a microchip scan and verify if someone comes along with your dog.

If you adopted your pet from a shelter, you need to call the shelter as well. If he has been microchipped before you took him home, the shelter would have his microchip information. It’s likely that they would have been informed if your dog has been found.

Getting Your Dog Microchipped

Every pet owner should definitely have their dog microchipped. It’s relatively affordable technology that comes in handy in the event that your pet goes missing and can give you some peace of mind. The procedure isn’t complicated at all.

1. Have the vet inject the microchip.

Microchips are injected between the dog’s shoulder blades. Make sure a vet or a professional performs the procedure as the microchip needs to be positioned at a proper depth for the scanners to be able to read it. It’s a fairly fast procedure, not unlike your dog getting vaccinated.

2. Get the microchip activation ID.

Once the microchip has been injected, the vet will provide you with an activation code, which you’d have to use to complete the registration. Don’t leave the clinic without it. The vet may also provide you with a toll-free phone number in case you need to do the activation via phone call.

3. Complete the microchip registration.

The microchip wouldn’t serve its purpose if it’s scanned and there’s no available information on the pet owner. To complete the registration, you can either make a call to the manufacturing company or register your pet’s microchip online. It’s absolutely essential that you keep the microchip information updated. In case you change phone numbers or move to another location, make sure to make the necessary changes to the microchip database.

Some details you’d have to input include a complete description of your dog including breed, gender, color, and age. Some registries would ask for pet health information as well. Finally, you would have to provide owner information including name, contact number, and address.

Microchip technology can make all the difference.  It’s easier to find a lost dog with a microchip, just as long as you completed the registration process. If your dog hasn’t been microchipped, there are ways to increase your chances of finding him, but you need to act quickly. Once you get reunited, make sure to get him microchipped as soon as possible. It’s one trip to the vet that’s definitely worth taking.

If you feel you should do more to protect your pet, there’s always the option of getting him a GPS-enabled collar. These are just among the many smart pet gadgets available now in the market. GPS tracking collard are designed to be lightweight and ultimately effective at pinpointing your pet’s exact location at any given time. 


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