How to easily determine if a RFID chip is in a dog?

Updated March 23, 2017

If you come across a lost dog without any obvious identification tags or a collar, do not despair. You can determine if the dog contains an implantable RFID chip, which could help you establish it's identity and return the dog to its rightful owner. Many dog owners have begun implanting their dogs with RFID chips to track their locations, and find them in a considerably short amount of time if they become lost. An implantable RFID chip is a small storage device, often no larger than a grain of salt. These chips can store data such as a dog's identity and physical characteristics. By taking a few guided measures, you can determine if a dog has an implanted RFID chip to discover its identity and return it home.

Check the dog's back or the loose skin on the shoulder for any obvious surgical scars or markings. According to's Dog Owner's Guide, the majority of RFID chip implantation resides under the loose skin on the dog's shoulder, which is easily accessible and often less painful than other areas during implantation.

Feel these areas with your fingertips for a small device about the width of a quarter and comparable to a grain of salt. If the dog contains an RFID chip, although extremely small, the chip will cause a notable inconsistency, as RFID chips implanted in dogs are embedded fairly close to the skin's surface. In some instances, if you brush or comb the dog's fur back or shave this area, you may be able to see the chip bulging just below the dog's skin.

Call a local veterinarian, animal shelter or state animal-control office and ask if they own an RFID scanner to identify RFID embedded animals. Veterinarians and animal shelters are often the facilities that implant animals with RFID chips anyway, so these facilities can tell you for sure if the animal in question contains a chip. The facility will scan the dog and quickly determine if an RFID chip is present. If a chip is implanted in the dog, the scanner can determine the dog's chip identification number and look in the appropriate registry to find the owner.

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