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Microchip Cost For Dogs – Forbes Advisor Canada

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As any dog ​​owner can tell you, even the thought of losing your beloved companion can be heartbreaking.

And yet, every year about 10 million pets go missing in North America and more than 75% never return home, according to the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. Almost 21,000 dogs and 61,000 cats were admitted to humane societies and SPCAs in Canada in 2021, according to a survey by Humane Canada. (This figure does not account for animals admitted to private shelters, rescue and foster groups and municipal animal services.) Of those dogs, only 33% were reclaimed by their families. Others were adopted or euthanized because they couldn’t be identified.

Most dog owners take extra care to give their dogs a proper and balanced diet, vet visits, daily exercise and lots of love. However, if your pup runs off or gets lost, without proper ID, it can be hard if not impossible to find them again. However, a simple one-time procedure can help ensure your missing pet goes from lost to found.

How Does a Microchip Work?

Microchipping provides a form of permanent identification for your pet. A microchip, which is no larger than a grain of rice, is enclosed in a glass capsule. The microchip is injected just under your dog’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. It’s fast and hurts no more than a blood draw or injection.

Microchip implants are called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and act as a sort of transponder that is activated when a scanner passes over the chip.

The microchip has no battery and no power source, according to VCA Canada Animal Hospitals, and only transmits information when a reader, such as the ones used by humane societies, animal shelters and vets, check for a microchip. The chip transmits the dog’s identification number back to the scanner, which helps identify the dog and its owner.

How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog?

The cost to microchip a dog varies significantly, but in general it costs less than $100. For example, a mobile clinic in Toronto charges just $10, the SPCA in Hamilton, ON., charges between $15 and $30, and a private vet clinic in the city’s east end charges $75.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Microchipping

Multiple factors can affect the overall cost of microchipping your dog, including:

  • Where you are located. If you live in a large metro area, the cost to microchip your dog may be more expensive than elsewhere in the country.
  • Where you get microchipped. Having a veterinarian microchip your dog is likely to cost more than if you were to have it done at a non-profit animal clinic, which often offers low-cost or no-cost microchipping services.
  • Who is registering the microchip. If you are required to register the chip online yourself, it will cost less than if the veterinary clinic registers the chip for you.

Remember, unlike vaccinations, microchipping is a one-time fee.

What’s Included in the Cost of Microchipping a Dog?

Usually, the cost of microchipping a dog will include the microchip itself, the procedure to implant the chip under the dog’s skin between its shoulder blades, and the registration of the chip, which adds your dog’s identification number to an online registry connected to your name and contact information.

What’s Not Included?

Make sure you confirm with the clinic microchipping your dog about what exactly is included in the cost of the procedure. Some clinics will include everything, as noted above. Others might not include the cost of registering the microchip, which they leave up to the owners.

Is Microchipping Required for Dogs?

In general, it’s not required that you get your pet microchipped. When traveling across the Canada-US border, your pet does not need a microchip for identification purposes.

However, in an effort to reduce the number of abandoned pets, a city bylaw in Montreal, QC, required all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered and microchipped by January 1, 2020, in order to obtain a pet license. Non-compliance could result in a $400 fine.

Many municipalities require pet owners to license their dogs annually. Whether or not your municipality requires a microchip as a pre-requisite for a license, a microchip provides an added sense of security.

What Else Should I Know About How Microchips Work?

Getting your dog microchipped is not any worse than getting a vaccination. The needle used to implant the microchip–called a hypodermic needle–is slightly larger than a needle used for an injection. But there is no surgery or anesthesia required.

While some owners request their dog to be microchipped during a spay or neuter procedure, it’s not required. It’s just simpler to get it done at the same time.

Unlike new GPS-enabled pet tags and collars, the microchip does not act as a locator beacon for the dog. It is only activated when a scanner passes over it, providing the dog’s identification number.

Microchips should not replace your dog’s collar and identification tag, which provides critical contact information and often up-to-date rabies information to anyone who may find your dog should they become lost.

While microchips themselves don’t require any maintenance and will last your pup’s lifetime, making sure your contact information is current is the most important thing you can do, especially if you move.

Are There Alternatives to Getting My Dog Microchipped?

For pet owners who are opposed to getting their dog microchipped or if the dog cannot be microchipped for medical reasons, it’s important that your dog is always wearing a collar with tags that include your contact information.

Some owners have adopted the latest technology in pet care: GPS-enabled collars and tags.

Just like GPS on your car or your phone, a GPS-enabled collar or tag can help you locate your dog’s precise location in minutes. However, they require cell service and a battery that needs to be recharged.

GPS devices also cost more than a microchip or a traditional collar and tag.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Microchipping for my Dog?

Whether your pet insurance will cover the cost of microchipping your dog depends entirely on the policy coverage you’ve chosen and if there is a comprehensive wellness plan option. Keep in mind that most pet insurance policies provide coverage for unexpected illness and accidents.

If you find out your policy won’t cover the cost of microchipping, many local animal shelters or non-profit animal clinics offer regular microchipping days where they will microchip your dog for a low-cost or free.

Why Owners Should Microchip Their Dogs

The number one reason owners should microchip their dogs is simple: A microchip improves your chance of getting your animal back if it becomes lost or stolen.

VCA Canada Animal Hospitals provides the following tips to ensure a speedy reunion in case your pup goes missing:

  • Ensure your pup has an ID tag in addition to a microchip.
  • Keep the information associated with the microchip up to date.
  • Have a clear photo of your dog that shows any unique markings.
  • If you lose your dog, immediately contact your local humane society, animal shelters and vet.
  • Advertise your lost dog on social media as many communities have a crowd-sourced lost pet network.

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