How to Activate a Microchip in a Dog

Activated canine microchips help lost dogs find their way home.

Activated canine microchips help lost dogs find their way home.

A canine microchip contains a unique identification number that can help reunite you and your dog if he gets lost. While the permanent placement underneath your dog’s skin makes it more reliable than a removable ID collar, your dog's microchip is essentially useless until you've properly activated it.

Locate your dog’s microchip number. You can usually find this number on any paperwork you received when your dog’s microchip was implanted or when you adopted your dog if he was already microchipped. If you cannot find the number, you can have your dog’s microchip scanned at a local animal shelter or veterinary office to identify the number.

Identify the company that manufactured your dog’s microchip. If you do not have records to help you determine the manufacturer, request more information from the place where your dog’s microchip was implanted. Having the microchip scanned can also help you to identify the manufacturer.

Activate the microchip by contacting the manufacturer. You can activate your microchip online, by mail or over the telephone. Provide the manufacturer with your dog’s microchip number and with the personal contact information to which you would like it linked.

Pay the activation fee required by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers charge a small, one-time fee for activating the microchip. Keep a record of the confirmation number you receive when activating your dog’s microchip.


  • Increase the effectiveness of your dog’s microchip by registering it with a universal database in addition to the manufacturer. Each microchip manufacturer has a separate database so registering your dog’s microchip information with a universal database can improve your chances of being reunited with your dog if he gets lost.
  • Always remember to notify the microchip manufacturer and universal database if your contact information changes.

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About the Author

Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.

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