Can You Feel a Microchip in a Dog? What You Need To Know

With the technology of today, dog owners are turning to microchipping as a more secure method to tag their beloved furbabies. However, this tech is injected into a dog’s skin, raising some concerns with other owners. One common question is: Can You Feel a Microchip in a Dog with Your Hands?

It is possible to feel a microchip in a dog with just your fingers. The possibility increases if the chip has moved or if the dog with the microchip is a small breed with shorter and thinner fur.

This article covers some details of a dog’s microchip, some common questions about microchipping, and how to differentiate a microchip from a regular lump in your dog.

What is a Dog’s Microchip For?

American Humane says that one in every three pets go missing at one point in their lives. Microchips provide a way to identify your pet should they go missing, giving you more peace of mind.

A dog’s Microchip is a way to tag your beloved pup. If they accidentally get lost or run away, your veterinarian can access information to get your dog back to you.

AKC Reunite says that pets increase their chances to reunite with their owners by as much as 20 times if they’re microchipped.

The only information stored in the microchip itself is a unique serial number. A separate database houses the owner’s info linked to this number.

Personal Info Linked to Your Dog’s Chip Is Safe

You don’t have to worry about people finding out your personal information through just your dog’s microchip. The special scanner used to read these chips can only pick up the unique serial number on it. This serial number is the only thing on the chip.

By checking this serial number against a central database, you can find the linked information such as:

  • Dog’s description (e.g., breed, sex, date of birth, markings, etc.)
  • Owner’s name and address
  • Owner’s contact number/s

Only the company provider of your dog’s microchip can change the information after an extensive security check.

Usually, the microchip provider also issues a certificate with the information and serial number when you have your dog microchipped. Along with the certificate, there can also be a password assigned to the chip. This serves as an extra security measure when changing or updating the information linked to the chip’s serial number.

August 15 is designated by the American Animal Hospital Association and American Veterinary Medical Association to help remind owners to check the info linked to their pup’s chip and if it needs to be updated.

Dog owner is checking his dog microchip settings through a tablet
Dog owner is checking his dog microchip settings through a tablet

Special Scanners Are Needed To Scan a Dog’s Microchip

The microchips on dogs need a special scanner to read the identification code on it. You can’t read a pet microchip implant with your phone.

Usually, the only places to have a dog scanned for a microchip are in a vet’s office or an animal shelter. However, these microchip scanners are also now available online. More companies are working to make it possible for pet owners to scan their pets at home.

You buy a pet microchip reader which has the following features:

  1. Reads RFID microchips
  2. Reads EMID microchips
  3. Has OLED screen that clearly displays the chip’s identification number

Where Is the Microchip Inserted?

The microchip is inserted using a small needle into the loose skin between a canine’s shoulders. This process takes just a couple of seconds and doesn’t typically cause the dog any pain.

This area was chosen as the standard place to inject a dog microchip because it’s out of the way from your dog’s scratching paws. It’s also practically painless to inject the chip here, and the procedure doesn’t need an anesthetic.

Can You Feel a Dog’s Microchip?

You can sometimes feel a dog’s microchip, especially if they are smaller breeds or have thinner fur. A dog’s microchip is around the size and shape of a grain of rice. Feeling it with your bare hand and fingers can be challenging, especially if your dog is fluffy.

However, it’s still possible. You can try this by:

  • Run your fingers over the area between the shoulder blades and neck of the dog. Press down gently while doing so.
  • Work inch by inch up and down the shoulder and head to be thorough. Then go side to side between the shoulder blades of the dog. The microchip is small, so you can easily miss it.
  • The microchip should feel firm, small, and narrow, with rounded edges, like a grain of rice.

If you don’t feel it, don’t worry, it’s not a cause for concern. Even experienced professionals won’t always feel a microchip.

Can the Microchip Move?

Sometimes, a dog’s microchip can migrate from the original implantation site.

A microchip can move. This is especially true for dogs with looser skin and who love being active or playing a bit rough. It’s common for the microchip to move a few centimeters while still remaining in the dog’s shoulder and neck area.

There have also been many cases of the chip moving to the sternum, armpits, or even the dog’s back. When checking a dog for a microchip, the scanner is usually used over the whole dog’s body.

Migration of the microchip won’t affect its function, and it’s unlikely to affect your dog’s health or comfort.

Veterinarian is checking microchip implanted under a dogs skin
Veterinarian is checking microchip implanted under a dogs skin

What Else Can You Use To Find a Dog’s Microchip?

You can use an x-ray to find a dog’s microchip. While you can sometimes be able to feel the microchip with your fingers, if you are concerned that it has moved, you can ask your vet to check for you.

On rare occasions, chips can stop working, so a scanner won’t be able to detect them. To ensure that a dog doesn’t have a chip or has one that’s not functioning, you can check with an x-ray.

Microchip vs. Lump

Any lumps on your dog can cause many fur parents to worry. However, there are some simple ways to check if the lump is just your pooch’s microchip or a lump that may need to be checked out.

Does Your Dog Have a Microchip?

If your dog has a microchip, you may not be able to distinguish between the chip and a lump. If not, and you’ve had them checked for one before but found none, it’s almost definitely a lump.

Try not to press too hard on the area if you think it might be a lump. Instead, visit your veterinarian to investigate.

Does the Lump Fit the Parameters of a Microchip?

To know if the lump fits the parameters of a microchip, gently touch it to see if it feels hard and small, like a grain of rice. It should be located in the shoulder or neck area. If it’s soft, weirdly shaped, or located somewhere strange, it’s likely something else.

How Does Your Dog React When You Touch It?

You’ll need to check to see how your dog reacts when you touch it. If it’s a microchip, your dog will act pretty much like normal. However, if the canine whines, shows signs of distress, or moves away from your touch, you might want to get your vet to check that lump.

Final Thoughts

You can sometimes feel a microchip in a dog. You can usually find it in between the shoulder blades of a dog or in the adjacent areas. It feels like and is about the size of a grain of rice.

A dog’s microchip is proof of ownership. It contains a serial number linked to the owner’s information.

Thanks for reading!

Now you found the answer about if can you feel a microchip in a dog, you may want to learn about What to Feed Dogs with Upset Stomach.


M.D Mark D. - Healthline Gate Health and Medical Articles Author

About The Author

M.D Mark D. is a Health and Wellness professional writer. Mark has authored many health articles around the following topics: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Pets Health, Mental Health, Medicine, and Supplements.

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