Last Updated on June, 2023
Keeping an eye on the dog is easier said than done. However, no amount of excuses will fix your sadness in case something horrible happens following a mistake.
Thankfully, dog microchips are now on the market. They’ve been invented following studies.
In this guide, I’m going to cover the core topic of “how to scan a dog microchip with a phone”. In addition, I’ll be explaining some related knowledge all dog parents must have.
So, let’s get right into it.
Dog microchips are an electronic item usually the size of a rice grain that are implanted under the skin of a dog and contain unique information about the dog and its owner that can be read by a scanner or smartphone.
The purpose of a dog microchip is to help the authorities find the dog’s true owner in the event that the dog is stolen or lost.
In order to scan a dog microchip with a phone, you need a proper dog microchip, a smartphone that can scan microchips, and a microchip scanner that is compatible with smartphones.
Table of Contents
- Why Track Dogs in the First Place?
- Dog Microchip; What is it?
- The Main Purpose(S) of a Dog Microchip
- Fundamentals Required to do a Microchip-Check
- How to Scan a Dog Microchip With Phone: Step-By-Step
- What Else Should You do?
- Can You Implant the Microchip Yourself?
- Microchip is Not Being Detected? Possible Explanations
- Are There any Legal Obligations?
- #1 Mistake Pet Owners Make — And the Solution to it?
- In Conclusion
Why Track Dogs in the First Place?
The most straightforward answer would be ‘just keep an eye on them. But is that it? No, there’s so much more.
Dogs are generally active creatures. Holding them caged for an extended period of time, especially at a young age, can suppress their true personality. At the same time, you can’t let them get accustomed to untamed behaviors as well because that’s how your neighbors end up suing you for damage.
Apart from that, dogs are often stolen and sold. Is that it? No
Tracking dogs can be beneficial for noticing symptoms of fatal conditions. For example, abnormal sleeping patterns and fluctuations in their activeness can convey a lot of information. But you won’t have any of that without tracking your dog.
That Was Just About the Dog; What About Dog Parents?
In almost all countries, the pet owner is 100% responsible for the actions of their pets. So, if you own an aggressive bullmastiff, there’s a higher risk of ending up in trouble. Why? Since there’s prejudice already.
You can store the tracking in some dog tracking methods, which is solid evidence to prove your dog’s innocence. On top of that, you don’t want your dog to end up beaten or even shot by angry neighbors.
All these problems and more can be resolved when you track your dog.
This is just a quick overview of the big picture. But all things considered, we should track our dogs to keep both our pets and ourselves free from trouble.
Now that the background is done, let’s get into the complete picture.
Dog Microchip; What is it?
A dog microchip is an electronic item usually the size of a rice grain. These are called RFID tags, which are for radio frequency identification.
They are implanted under the skins of the dogs.
This little chip contains unique information about your dog. It typically lists identification details, mainly about the pet’s owner. This information can be read by a scanner or smartphone, as you’ll learn a bit.
Here’s a typical list of information that you’d find,
- Their home address
- The owner’s contact details
- Home telephone number
- Mobile number
- Email address
- The license number of the breeder (if applicable)
- The local authority where the breeder was licensed (if applicable)
The stored information is passive. That means the microchips do not transmit any information. That’s why they don’t need any kind of power source. They are activated by the scanner used on them.
Most importantly, each grain has a unique number; this number is directly linked to the relevant database.
Note: Can You Track Your Dog With a Microchip?
A Crucial Mistake Pet Parents Make
However, there’s one crucial mistake most pet parents seem to continue making. This mistake is not updating the identification details in case they change. But you also need to know if the currently stored information is up to date.
But why go through all this process? Let’s look at the purpose of a dog microchip.
The Main Purpose(S) of a Dog Microchip
I told you how dogs could be stolen or get lost by themselves. On occasions like these, the information from the dog’s microchip helps the authorities find the dog’s true owner.
Thieves will always remove the collar of a stolen dog.
So, even if the collar was there, you might have to go out of your way to prove your identity.
The dog microchip fixes all of those issues.
Fundamentals Required to do a Microchip-Check
There are three key things that are necessary to do a microchip check-up on a dog. They are,
- A proper dog microchip
- A smartphone that can scan microchips
- A microchip scanner that is compatible with smartphones
I know some of you might have expected every single phone to be able to do the scan. That’s not possible. It’s like how not all phones can be used to turn electronic items like A/Cs on and off.
The easiest way to check this is by calling the manufacturer or looking it up.
However, the third method is the most popular since it’s compatible with almost all modern smartphones. All you need is an NFC-enabled phone.
There are two types of microchip scanners; Bluetooth and wired. I personally recommend wired ones since data transfer is faster. But the wireless convenience isn’t terrible.
Here’s an example of such products.
So, how does this process work? Let’s have a look at it.
How to Scan a Dog Microchip With Phone: Step-By-Step
Step #1: Confirm Whether Your Dog Has A Microchip
It’s pointless to do any of these if your pet doesn’t have a microchip under its skin. This step only applies if you’re not the one who got the chip implanted. So, make sure the dog has a microchip for sure.
Step #2: Download The Necessary Mobile App
So, let’s say your smartphone can scan dog microchips. But you need to have the appropriate mobile app for that.
If you have a microchip scanner, download the necessary app (because there will be one). Once you do, you’ll most probably have to “pair” your phone with the scanner.
Don’t worry; products like these come with simple how-to manuals. It’s a piece of cake to set them up.
But is there an app to scan if the dog is microchipped?
Step #3: Scan
Dog microchips are highly responsive to adequate scanning devices. So, all you have to do is take your phone or the scanner along with the pet’s body.
Your phone or the scanner will pick up the signal and notify you. The notification is still the same if you have connected the scanner to your phone either by a wire or Bluetooth.
Step #4: Check For All The Details
Whether or not you’re using a microchip scanner, the mobile app lets you view the information. So, be sure of each segment of information and ensure they’re correct.
Step #5: Store Or Export Data
Some mobile apps let you save data, but some only let you export or view it. So, store the viewed data since it could be helpful in the future.
Important: Keep the dog’s microchip number written down or saved somewhere safe.
What Else Should You do?
You might need to contact the governing body that stores this kind of data once you perform the check-up. Because if the microchip is not affiliated with a credible database, then the microchip is pointless.
My recommendation is to consult your vet. Professionals like these are professionally affiliated with related organizations. So, not only will they let you know to do it, they’ll do it for you.
If you live in the UK, you can update the microchip’s information online, over the phone, or via mail, depending on which database the microchip is affiliated with. The cost of updating your contact information varies amongst microchip database suppliers.
In order to find out who you are registered with, please get in touch with one of the databases listed below or try check-a-chip.co.uk if you are unsure who your microchip supplier is.
Can You Implant the Microchip Yourself?
You absolutely can! But it would be best if you were a well-experienced veterinarian for that. This is not the case if you’re reading this. I know that YouTube has some DIY implantation guides, but I don’t recommend any of these methods.
There are two main reasons you SHOULDN’T implant by yourself.
You’ll Get It Wrong, and The Consequences Aren’t Worth It
There are so many reasons why you’ll probably mess up the implantation. For starters, you don’t have any experience implanting dog microchips.
And, you don’t have the necessary equipment, and on top of that, you’re highly likely to damage your dog’s good health.
When that happens, guess who’s going to pay the medical bills?
Vets Do It Responsibly And Appropriately
I’m sure you take your dog to your vet from time to time; it’s standard procedure. So, if you want to be guaranteed the perfect quality of the job, you should let the vet do it. That way, the chip will be safely implanted in your dog, and there won’t be any negative consequences.
Microchip is Not Being Detected? Possible Explanations
Usually, the scanner receives the identifying number from the chip and shows it on the screen. If it’s not happening that way, there’s a detection issue. There are a couple of reasons to explain this malfunction.
Your Phone Cannot Scan Microchips
I told you that not all phones could be used to scan microchips by design. It’s not going to change even if you rooted your phone. So, save yourself the trouble by making sure whether or not your phone can scan microchips for sure.
Suppose you don’t buy it from a reliable doctor. In that case, there’s a very high chance that the microchip is an old transistor for a broken remote control car. But the vet won’t recommend you implant it on your own if you bought it from them. So, make triple sure that the microchip is working.
The Scanner Isn’t Working
Microchip readers are niche-specific products, so only a handful of reliable manufacturers exist. So, ensure that the scanner is working perfectly.
Connection Issues Between The Scanner And The Phone
If you’re connecting a scanner to your phone, check if the connection is well secured. If it’s Bluetooth, you must pair the two devices. If it’s a wired one, ensure the connection port is unproblematic.
Are There any Legal Obligations?
I’m not going to cover many countries but just the UK, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. You’re legally obligated to microchip your dog if you reside in any of these countries. Let me elaborate a little bit.
If You’re In The UK
All dogs must have microchips as of April 6, 2016, under the legislation.
For the chip to be compatible, it must be connected to the owner’s current contact information. But it doesn’t stop there.
Even if your dog is microchipped, it must still have a collar and tag with the name and address of the owner whenever it is in a public setting.
If You’re In The USA
If your dog, or cat, is over 4 months of age, they must be microchipped.
If You’re In Australia
The Domestic Animals Act of 1994’s Section 10C was legislated for this purpose.
It stipulates that cats and dogs must have microchips in order to be registered (which is compulsory once the animal is 3 months of age).
If You’re In New Zealand
The department of internal affairs in New Zealand expects all dogs to be microchipped and adequately registered, except for working farm dogs.
So, I recommend you check the situation in your country.
#1 Mistake Pet Owners Make — And the Solution to it?
I don’t know if you could guess it, but the #1 mistake happens too often. It’s none other than solely depending on the microchip to track your dog. Let me remind you that it was more or less a dead piece of electronics that only comes to life when scanned.
It’s not enough to truly track your dog.
The solution to this is relatively cost-effective and getting exponentially popular.
It’s the use of real-time or live tracking devices like GPS Pet trackers. You can find a high-quality one for less than $100. They allow you to track the live location of your dog and have so many other features.
All caring pet owners should definitely consider this subject already.
Wondering what is the difference between dog microchips and GPS trackers? Check this guide.
The answer to the question “Can you scan a microchip with your phone?” is yes, at the end of the day. But it’s the details that matter in this context. So, now that you know how to scan a microchip with your phone, be sure to share this knowledge with your friends and family.
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