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How to Check a Pet’s Microchip Number: All Your Questions Answered

How to Check a Pets Microchip Number

Microchips serve as the permanent identification for pets, with unique identification numbers for each animal. The microchip number is then linked to the owner’s address and contact information on a pet registry which has to be updated from time to time. These personal details are stored securely in a database and cannot be accessed easily. How do you find your pet’s microchip number to change those details? 

If you want to check on a pet’s microchip number, you will need to enquire with the microchip registry, check its registration paperwork or have it scanned in a vet clinic or animal shelter. It’s best to write down the microchip number so you can update your details if you move or change your number. 

Updating your details on a pet registry is one of the main reasons you’d need to check your pet’s microchip number. Want to know more about how cat or dog microchip numbers work and why you need to know yours? Well, we have everything you need to know about pet microchip numbers in this article. Let’s get into it

How Can I Check a Pet’s Microchip Number?

You can check a pet’s microchip number by checking its microchipping or registration paperwork. If you lost it, you can check with the vet who microchipped your pet or with the microchip registry. You can also take the pet for microchip scanning.

The grain-sized pet microchips are inserted just under the pet’s skin at the back of their neck. As early as 12 weeks after birth, a dog or cat has to be microchipped before it is sold or, if not, 28 days after the new owner has taken possession of the pet.

The most asked question about pet microchips is if they have GPS to track your pet’s whereabouts if they are lost or stolen. The answer is, unfortunately, no. You can’t track your pet through its microchip. However, microchips are still helpful for lost pets.

If your pet is lost and somebody found it, an animal shelter or vet clinic can check your pet’s microchip number and the details it contains to be able to contact you and return your pet. You can also do the same if you find a lost pet. The question is, how can you check a pet’s microchip number? 

There are two situations where you need to check a pet’s microchip number. First is if you have a new pet, either bought or gifted, and you want to check its registry. The second is if you found a lost pet and need to return it to its owner. In either case, here are the methods you can try:

  1. Check your pet’s microchipping or registration paperwork. Once the pet is microchipped, the owner is given pet microchip registration paperwork, including the unique number. Of course, it only applies to your own pets, not stray or lost dogs and cats.
  2. If you lost the paperwork on the microchip, you could go directly and ask your current vet or the vet who microchipped your pet and check their records.
  3. Check your microchip registry. There are several different registries in Australia. If you know which one your pet’s microchip is registered with, you can enquire with the registry, but they can’t be searched in reverse.
  4. Take the pet to a vet or animal shelter for microchip scanning. This is helpful if you find a lost pet.

How Do You Check if a Pet is Microchipped?

To check if your pet is microchipped, you need to have them scanned by a veterinarian or an animal shelter. The tools and scanners they have are the only way to activate and check for the RFID microchip in your pet. 

You can also check a pet’s collar to see if they are microchipped. Most pet owners get custom-made collars and tags with the pet’s name on them and their personal contact information. Some people also choose to put their pet’s microchip number on a collar tag so they never lose the microchip number. This can also help people who find their lost pet get back in contact with them easier if they cannot use your contact details already on the collar. 

Can You Check if a Pet is Microchipped Without a Scanner? 

No, because pet microchips are roughly the size of a grain of rice, it’s almost impossible to check for a microchip without a scanner. However, vets will check for a microchip the first time you bring your pet to them, so they can confirm that it is indeed microchipped.

You can try feeling for a pet’s microchip underneath their skin. The microchip is the approximate size and shape of a grain of rice and should be located at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades. Microchips can migrate in dogs, so starting at the neck and working down looking for something rice shaped is the most effective method to try and feel for a microchip. However, because of the microchip size, feeling for one is not the optimal way to determine whether a pet is microchipped, and you should consult a vet or animal shelter regardless of what you feel. 

Can You Search a Pet’s Microchip Number? 

No, you cannot search for your pet’s microchip number. The only way to find it is to have the chip scanned again by a vet or animal shelter or check the paperwork you were given when the pet was first microchipped. 

How Do Vets Check Pet Microchips? 

Vets and professionals use microchip scanners to check pet microchips, using a microchip reader. The microchip reader activates the RFID chip inside the pet, which produces the unique microchip number stored in each chip. 

The scanning starts from the pet’s head up to the shoulder blades in an S-shaped pattern. If no microchip is detected, the same pattern is scanned at different angles of the pet’s body. 

Sometimes, pet microchips can be dislodged, known as microchip migration. This is uncommon and painless but requires your pet to be microchipped again to ensure the microchip can be scanned in future. 

How Does a Pet Microchip Scanner Work? 

A pet microchip reader or scanner is a small hand-held device specifically used to scan the microchips implanted in the pet. It is held close to the pet’s neck to detect the microchip. A scanner can detect microchips at a distance of 3–8 cm using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. 

A pet microchip also uses RFID technology, particularly a passive RFID tag. This means that the tag is inert in the animals, waiting to be detected, read and interpreted. It has no battery or internal source of power.

RFID transmits information using radio waves as a medium. An RFID tag contains data and communicates it to a device using electromagnetic forces under the correct frequency. The electromagnetic power then helps the scanner read the microchip by energising it. Once energised, the microchip sends radio signals back to the scanner, which is used to display the identification number on the scanning machine. 

Is There a Pet Microchip Scanner App? 

No, you can’t scan a pet’s microchip with an app on your phone. Microchips use near-frequency communication (NFC) technology, so they cannot be scanned using a phone. Instead, a special chip reader or scanner is required to find the number. That’s why you’ll need a vet or animal shelter to scan a pet’s microchip for you. 

What Information Can Be Found on a Pet Microchip? 

The information that can be found on a pet microchip is a unique microchip number that links to a personal account on a pet microchip registry. When a vet or animal shelter scans a pet microchip, it produces only the microchip number, which is put into the registry to find information on the pet’s owner. 

Are My Personal Details on My Pet’s Microchip? 

No, pet microchips only contain the microchip numbers. These numbers, however, are linked to the owners’ details, which are securely stored in the registry. Although these details include your name, address, email and phone number, they can only be accessed by a vet or animal shelter scanning a pet’s microchip and retrieving the unique number.

Related Questions

Can a Stud Finder Find a Pet Microchip? 

No, a stud finder, as well as metal detectors, cannot find a pet microchip. A pet microchip is an RFID device encased within a bioglass. It contains very little metal, which is not enough to activate stud finders and metal detectors.

What Should I Do if I Find a Lost Dog in Australia? 

If you find a lost dog, check their collar for an identification tag with contact details. If there’s no phone number,  take the lost dog to your local vet or animal shelter. They’ll be able to scan the dog for a microchip and contact the owner if their details are registered. 

While posting in social media groups is common when a stray dog is found, there’s no guarantee that the person who steps up to claim the pet is their legal owner. That’s why microchip scanning is important, ensuring that a lost dog makes it home safely. 

However, you may also want to check your local ‘missing pet’ Facebook groups in case the owner has already reported their lost pet. Just be sure you hand over the lost pup to the right person! 


This article is published in good faith, for general informational and educational purposes only. Paws and More Vet Centre does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. This article should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice, including for diagnosis or treatment of a pet’s medical condition. Always consult a veterinary professional before making decisions on your pet’s health.