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FAQs - Microchips

White dog looking at the camera with its tongue slightly out
Black and tan dog lying on a couch

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny chip with an ID number that is unique to your pet.

About the size of a grain of rice, the chip is inserted under your pet’s skin by a vet. It only takes a few seconds to insert.

It has no tracking ability. The only way to get information from it is with a proper scanning device which shelters and vets have. 

A microchip gives your pet the best chance of being reunited with you if they become lost or stolen.

When you have your pet microchipped, the vet places the details of the microchip, the animal and your details onto a database.
The vet will need your pet's microchip number alongside your name, address and contact details onto a database. We recommend you have your pet’s details registered to the national New Zealand Companion Animal Register (we do this for any dogs microchipped through our community programme).

Too often, dogs are picked up roaming and the owner’s details are out of date.  So, once your pet is registered with the NZ Companion Animal Register, please make sure to update your details if you move or your contact details change- there is no charge to do this. Simply  visit and update your information online.

Note: we do not keep any information about your dog’s microchip or pass on any of your details to your council or any other agency. It’s kept between you and the vet who microchips them.

Registering your microchip

Yes! Collars and tags alone are not effective at identifying your dog as these are easily removed or lost.

A microchip gives your pet the best chance of being reunited with you if they become lost or stolen.

However, you may forget to update your details, so a collar with an ID tag with your phone number is essential. It makes it easy for people to contact you if they find your pet.

Does my dog still need an ID tag and collar?

Creamy white dog looking at the camera

Microchipping rules

  • A microchip is legally required to register a dog in NZ (with the exception of working farm dogs).

  • Dogs must be microchipped and registered before they reach the age of 12 weeks old (3 months).

  • FYI, in Whangārei district, cats must also be microchipped from 6 months old. Find out more here.

  • Microchips only contain a unique 15 digit code that is registered to you and your pet. There is no GPS or tracking information - they provide a way for you to be contacted by almost any veterinarian or shelter if your pet is brought in.

  • So if your pet goes missing, you can’t trace it via a microchip.

  • If you have a dog that roams or is a risk for theft, you can look into a GPS device which will tell you where your dog is.

Microchips Are Not GPS Tracking Devices

  • Microchipped animals are able to be reunited with their owners much quicker than those that aren’t. Following the Canterbury earthquake in 2010, well over 80% of microchipped animals were quickly reunited with their owners, whereas those that were without identification took longer.

  • If your animal is lost and taken into a vet clinic, SPCA or the council, it can be reunited with you within minutes or hours of being found if it has been microchipped.

  • Microchips are cheap and safe to insert by registered professionals. Check with your local vet, SPCA or council to see if this service can be done at a reduced cost. Or get one free with desexing through our community programme.

  • The microchip lasts the lifetime of your pet, but you must keep your contact details up-to-date.

  • Microchipping can be used as legal identification if your pet's ownership is in dispute or if it is stolen.

  • Animal microchips don't include trackers or a GPS. Your contact details must be registered and up-to-date so you and your pet can be reunited.

    Facts thanks to the SPCA

Microchipping facts

We provide a free microchip for dogs who are desexed via our community desexing programme (done at same time as desexing). 

What to expect:

Desexing is performed as a day surgery. Like any surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. The vet administers pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

All surgeries are done in a sterile surgical suite by our awesome vets. Your dog is under anaesthetic during the desexing procedure. Before they go in for surgery, they are examined before any anaesthetic drug is given, to make sure your dog is fit and healthy with no underlying problems. They are then monitored during the entire procedure for any signs of discomfort or distress



Recovery involves keeping your pet quiet for a few days.

The recovery time varies, with female dogs taking around 10–14 days and male dogs recovering in 3–7 days, depending on size and health.

Follow post-surgery care instructions provided by your vet.

Myth 8: It’s not safe

Desexing is safe and recommended by experts. Research shows that desexed dogs live longer and healthier lives. The procedure is performed in a sterile surgical suite by experienced vets, with careful monitoring and post-surgery care.

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