By: Responsible Group Australia Posted Sept. 15, 2023

Dog microchip

If you are considering buying or adopting a dog in Australia, you will eventually come across the term “microchipping”. By law, microchipping is compulsory in most Australian States and Territories, so it’s a good idea to learn about what microchipping is and how it benefits both dog owners and their dogs.

RPBA expects all its members to adhere to state and local legislation regarding the care and raising of their animals, and part of that is having their dogs microchipped. 

This article contains general information. Always consult with your veterinarian for medical advice specific to your animal/s.

What Is Microchipping for Dogs?

Microchipping is a safe and simple way to permanently identify your pet and help reunite them with you if they ever become lost. The technology behind the microchip was first developed in the mid 1980s, with the first commercial chips becoming available in the early 1990s. Today, microchips are widely used all over the world as a form of pet identification.

Dog microchipping involves inserting a tiny biocompatible cylinder, about the size of a grain of rice, into your dog’s skin between their shoulder blades using a hypodermic needle.

The cylinder contains a microchip that carries a unique identification number that can be read by a special scanner. When the scanner passes over the chip, it emits a frequency that can be read by the scanner.

If your pet is found, the shelter or veterinarian who scans them can look up the chip’s number in a state database to identify you as the owner.

How Is a Microchip Implanted?

The process of microchipping your dog is quick and relatively painless. It takes just a few seconds to insert the chip under your pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle and there should be no discomfort or long-term side effects.

Most dogs don’t even seem to notice when it is done, and the entire procedure can be completed during a normal vet consultation. Your dog may be warned off of rough play for a couple of days to prevent the microchip from falling out, but this is usually done on a case-to-case basis.

Why Is it Important to Microchip Your Dog?

If your dog ever gets lost or stolen, having them microchipped significantly increases their chances of being identified and returned home safely – dogs with microchips are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owners compared to those without chips.

Additionally, many shelters and animal control organisations routinely check newly admitted animals for microchips in an effort to reunite them with their families. 

Your dog’s microchip contains a unique identifier that cannot be changed or lost like other forms of ID such as tags or tattoos on their skin. A microchip also doesn’t require any special care or maintenance – it just stays in place until it needs to be read by the scanner.

Microchips can also assist you if the ownership of your dog is ever in dispute, as you have an easily-accessible way to prove that your dog is really yours. 

Where Can You Have Your Dog Microchipped?

The best way to have your dog microchipped is through a veterinarian or animal clinic. It’s quick and relatively inexpensive – often costing between $40 to $60.

To ensure that all of the relevant details are stored correctly on the database and linked to your pet’s ID number, you will then need to register yourself as the owner of your dog’s new chip, which usually involves filling out some paperwork.

You’ll also need to keep these records up-to-date by informing the registry whenever there are changes, such as address alterations or medical updates, so that anyone trying to find them can access accurate contact details for you straight away.

Do I Need to Have my Dog Microchipped?

The rules and regulations will differ for each State and Territory in Australia, and may change with no prior warning. We encourage you to contact your local council for more detailed information regarding your area.

The information presented below is current as of the posting of this article. Dog microchipping is mandatory in the following Australian States and Territories:






In NSW, all dogs, other than exempt dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.



In QLD, all dogs between 8 and 12 weeks of age must be implanted with a microchip.



In SA, all dogs must be microchipped before they are sold, before they reach 12 weeks of age, or within 28 days of an owner taking possession of the dog, whichever happens first. 



In WA, all dogs must be microchipped once they are over 12 weeks of age.



In TAS, all dogs must be microchipped by 6 months of age.






In ACT, all dogs must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.

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