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Pet Insurance 101

How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

Pet insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the procedure, but it’s still worth the investment.

An important part of pet parenthood is preparing for the unexpected — like the off chance your dog slips out of their collar and bolts. That’s why microchipping, which is when a small device is implanted into a dog’s skin so they can be tracked if lost, is a standard and helpful procedure. 

While microchipping is a routine procedure, we understand wanting to know everything about the process before signing your dog up. For starters: Microchips are assigned a series of numbers that can be detected by scanners at animal hospitals or shelters if your pup ever goes missing.

The average cost of microchipping a dog

In Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian's experience, microchipping a dog usually costs around $50. The cost of microchipping generally includes implanting the device and the registration fee. Unfortunately, Fetch Pet Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of microchipping.

But this procedure is a worthwhile investment. The chip lasts for dogs' entire lives and will make it more likely for you to reunite with your pet if they ever become lost.

Free microchip registration

Alternatively, you could research low-cost microchipping options, which are typically offered at vaccination clinics, animal shelters or through rescue groups, Dr. McCullough says. If there's an animal-related charity event in your area, they may also offer free microchipping services.

RELATED: How to find a lost pet or report one found

Will my dog feel any pain when they’re microchipped?

Like vaccinations, Dr. McCullough explains that dogs may experience mild pain when they receive a microchip.

"The microchip is loaded into a needle, and veterinarians inject the microchip under the skin, typically between their shoulder blades on their backs," she adds. "The microchip can also be implanted during a regular office visit without sedation or anesthesia, and it's similar to receiving a vaccination.”

Are there any risks of having my pet microchipped?

There aren’t many risks associated with microchipping as it’s a common procedure. However, there’s always a chance of mishaps during the process.

“Health risks include pain, bleeding or, in rarer cases, infection at the injection site,” Dr. McCullough shares. “There’s a chance that the microchip can fall out or migrate to a different site, too.”

Microchips versus GPS collars

Microchips and GPS collars each have their benefits and drawbacks, Dr. McCullough says, and pet parents should carefully consider each option before choosing one or the other. Microchips are beneficial because they’ll be with your pet for their entire life and can’t easily be lost, Dr. McCullough explains.

GPS collars can locate your pet within minutes, which likely will make finding your best friend much easier if lost. But they can be expensive, most require cell service and the battery needs to be recharged, which can pose a risk for your dog going lost while it’s charging. 

“In general, microchips are a low-cost option with little maintenance that has been proven to help reunite pet parents with their dogs and cats,” Dr. McCullough shares. “Pet parents can discuss the risks and benefits of microchipping with their veterinarian and whether adding a GPS collar is right for their family.”

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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