Is There an App to Check If a Dog is Microchipped?

Is There an App to Check If a Dog is Microchipped?

Last Updated on December, 2022

The sight of a lost pet wandering off the roads is heartbreaking. Your dog, cat, rabbit, goat, or any other pet has every right to come back to you safely if it happens to get lost due to an accident.

The microchip inserted inside the pet recovers its identity and aids in reuniting it with its owner. But how to check whether a pet is chipped, are there smartphone apps which come handy for these purposes? Or must you visit the vet anyhow?

The short answer to the question, “Is there a phone app to check if a pet’s chipped” is “No”. You must buy a separate scanner for this purpose, or you should visit the vet.

Keep reading, and you’ll have a clear idea of micro-chipping and its follow-ups.

Quick Summary

A microchip is a tiny, unique, radioactive material injected under a pet’s skin that stores an identity number which can be read by a pet scanner.

Microchipping is only useful if the pet is registered in a database with the pet owner’s name and contact info, which a phone app cannot do.

GPS trackers are an alternative to microchips that can be used to track a pet’s location in real-time, but they require charging and changing batteries.

What is a Microchip?

a human holding a pet microchip

A microchip is a unique radioactive material having an identity number. 

It is tiny, about the size of a rice grain. It is placed under your pet’s loose skin, generally between the shoulder blades. It is sometimes said to migrate to other parts of the pet’s body, but it usually stays where it was placed. 

The microchip is injected into your pet’s skin through a hypodermic needle. The process takes a much shorter time, say a few seconds. But the paperwork or the registration process consumes some time.

Microchipping can be done at a veterinarian or larger pet stalls.

How Does a Microchip Work?

A microchip works with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology. As the name suggests, RFID uses radio waves as a medium to transmit information.

The microchip or RFID tag stores data or the identification number, and the number can be interpreted with a pet scanner.

A microchip has no power source like a GPS tracking system. It has no batteries, so charging and changing batteries become unessential. Due to this reason, a phone app cannot be developed to detect a microchip.

Typically a microchip works as long as the lifespan of your pet. That is, it can stay active for up to 25 years. 

Related article: Can You Read Pet Microchip With a Phone?

The Registration Process at Micro Chipping

Registration Process for a microchip

Microchipping becomes useless or invalid without registration. It is merely a unique number. That number should be associated with the databases having more details on that identity. You must register your microchipped pet with the companies involved in the registration process.

Registration could be done online or at the veterinarian’s office.

The database should have the pet owner’s name and contact number. In addition, it might have several other information such as the pet owner’s mailing address, email address, health status, and so on.

Why Check Through an App, If it isn’t Possible?

Advances in technology make the life of a pet and its owner smoother. Even though many smartphone applications are used to track a pet such as health and fitness applications, pet training applications, pet product applications, the applications to detect a microchip are yet to improve.

Fortunately, some phone apps detect the identification of a chipped pet with the aid of a pet scanner. There is no phone app alone that can read a pet’s microchip.

What is a Pet Scanner? 

a human checking dog microchip with a microchip scanner

A pet scanner or a microchip scanner becomes essential in confirming the location of the pet’s microchip.

Microchip scanners primarily function on three frequencies; 125kHz, 128kHz and 134.2kHz. Depending on the type of scanner, detectability differs. Some are designed to detect only one of these frequencies. While others, commonly called ‘universal scanners’, can read or detect all three frequencies.

The digits a microchip scanner can read vary between brands. Generally, pet scanners come with 9, 10 and 15 digits readability. 

A pet scanner can store up to 2000-3000 numbers. You can test different pets multiple times with a single pet scanner or the interrogator.

You can connect a pet scanner to a PC with a USB. Then the data can be interpreted, and the pet’s identification can be verified. Some pet scanners are Bluetooth-compatible.

A pet scanner costs around $260-$735, depending on the quality and features.

How to Scan a Pet for a Microchip? 

Follow these seven steps to detect the microchip and identify the pet.

  • Test the scanner: Have a test microchip nearby and ensure that the scanner is working correctly. 
  • Place the scanner in the correct alignment: Position the scanner parallel to the pet. Place it with a light touch or keep a gap of one inch.
  • Slightly move the scanner. Move the scanner in a pattern; that is in an ‘S’ shape. It will help detect microchips in all orientations.
  • Spend some time scanning: Spend between 10-20 seconds scanning. Wait to move the scanner at most six inches per second. It can take up to two minutes to detect a microchip.
  • Begin scanning with the shoulder blades of the pet: Since shoulder blades are where the pet’s microchip is generally implemented, start from there. Then move to both shoulders and from head to tail.
  • Find out the microchip.
  • After detecting the microchip, check where it is enrolled on the registry or the pets’ database.

Worth reading: How Can I Find a Lost Dog With a Microchip?

Alternatives to Microchipping

Traditional Collar Tag

In the olden days, a tag containing the details of the pet’s owner, such as the owner’s name, contact no and address, was written on a card and tied around the pet’s neck.

Pros

Easy
Cost-effective

Cons

Chances are there that the pet would lose the tag
Accidents might happen due to the tag

GPS Tracker

A GPS tracker is a tracking device that conveys your pet’s location through a mobile app.

Its size is similar to a matchbox. It is worn on the pet’s collar. Its weight is around 35g, a lightweight material which even a small-sized pet can carry.

A GPS tracker’s price starts from $50.

Pros

Can identify the real time location of the pet
Holds more details compared to the microchip

Cons

Charging and changing of batteries becomes necessary

Want to know what is the difference between Dog microchips and GPS trackers? Checkout this guide!

FAQs 

No, microchips are usually enclosed or coated in an inert material, such as biocompatible glass, so your pet’s skin won’t react negatively. 

Yes, they do, sometimes.

Some enclosures are made of a special polymer that induces tissue growth around the microchip area, keeping it held to that place without migrating.

Usually, the pet would feel a slight pain like that of a vaccination. Sometimes, the pet would feel an irritation that would soon be subdued. So the procedure doesn’t require an aesthetician or sedation.

Generally, microchipping costs around $50, including the vet’s fees.

No, it cannot track your pet’s location. Someone has to identify your lost pet, scan for its microchip near a vet and contact you. If you want to track the location of your pet, in addition to microchips, you can incorporate a GPS tracker for your pet.

Final Verdict

Unfortunately, even though there is no phone app to check whether a pet’s chipped, you can check it through a pet scanner or by visiting the vet.

If you want to find out your pet’s movements and want to track its location, you might try using a GPS tracker, In addition to a microchip.

Checkout the best GPS trackers for your dog here.

Pet safety matters a lot. Value it by microchipping. But don’t limit it to that only.

Just as you have your ID, Let your pet have one.

Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
Author
Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

Leave a Comment