Microchip is Required for Dog Travel

Dear Montecristo,

I’ve been reading your blog and thought that I’d throw in my two cents worth about how bipeds can make travelling with a pet a little easier…

Maybe we should start off with ID and how a microchip is required for dog travel?

Bipeds have passports to ensure that everyone knows who they are.  You and your fellow dogs (and sorry, cats…) are at a distinct disadvantage in that you don’t speak biped language (regardless of what country you’re in!).  Since you cannot attest to your identity, we veterinarians suggest that you make use of a microchip.  Now before your fluffy friends get too worked up about it, I know that you have one.  I think you’ll agree that the day we put it in, there was a quick sharp prick and it hasn’t bothered you since.  Even if your buddies are not planning to follow in your footsteps and jet set around the world, it’s a practical way of making sure no one gets lost in their hometown!

Photo credit to CheckChip

So, safety at home notwithstanding, microchips are a requirement for travel to many countries, and in most cases, you need to be microchipped before you receive your vaccinations.  Bipeds have this peculiar need to know everything about you when you cross an international border, and that includes making sure it was really you that got vaccinated (as if you could bribe your buddy down the street with a piece of chicken to take your place!).


It’s really not that big… see?? Size of a grain of rice.

There are two types of microchips which are currently available.  The universal standard is rapidly becoming the 15 digit ISO compatible chip.  A notable exception is that the United States standard chip is a 9 digit chip, and up until about 5 years ago, a lot of Canadian veterinarians were implanting these chips. As you know, we suggested to your bipeds that you have a 15 digit chip so that you could travel to Europe.  If you’ve got friends who are older and have a chip and want to travel, their biped should ask their veterinarians what kind of chip they have.  If it is an older chip and they want to travel anywhere other than the United States, they have two options. The first is having a new chip implanted, or the second is having their own hand-held scanner to read the chip.

So there you go – A microchip is required for dog travel.  Trust me, your ID is much easier than mine!  I have to renew my passport soon and it will take much longer than what it did for your microchip!

Kind Regards,

Dr. Saye Clement

Carling Animal Hospital


12 Comments on “Microchip is Required for Dog Travel

  1. Great info….I believe in Microchips as tattoos are too easy to alter and fade or smudge with age. Yes, they are a very large needle for such small puppies but the majority of them don’t mind a bit. All my dogs are micro-chipped and I feel a sense of security in having it done.

  2. Something I’ve never quite sorted out in my mind: is there a central database of microchip numbers? I have Jack microchipped and then had to register his number with another company (PetLynx). I’m not clear on how Jack’s information would be tracked just with a microchip reader?

    Great post! More please!

    • Yes Dawn, the number is in fact a data base record number. This becomes very clear when travelling. It acts like any ID number – like say your passport number or social security number.

      This is why you need the ISO 15 digit if going to Europe – it is a) the one that their airport staff has the reader for and b) the database they have access to more readily. The data base not only holds data on info like breed, size, color, owner etc. but also for example in my case, “who” the back up contact is, who the medical/life insurance is with, where my home address is, who my vet is etc. You can , when leaving on a trip call give them your “temporary” address overseas (hotel, apartment etc.) so that if your pet is lost it can be brought back to you on location (in my case there is a reward associated with my return covered by the insurance).

  3. Monte, would you tell us more about the database and how your bipeds access and update it?

    Jack has the 15-digit chip, and you know what? I inserted his chip myself! Of course, many people wouldn’t want to do such a thing, but for me – a nurse with many years of neonatal care experience – it was somewhat akin to a biped dad cutting his newborn’s umbilical cord at birth.

    • You can’t update it – either your insurance company or your vet does. If you inserted the chip yourself did you send in the paper work to register the number?

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  5. We are adamently against microchipping. We are however extremely vigilant pet parents and in keeping our dogs safe and healthy and happy.
    We have collars and identification on them and may look into tattoo down road . We are always hearing every country requires microhipping. Can you share which countries do not require one?? Even if only small number?? Much appreciated

    • Any country that is part of the European Union and any country in the Schengen as well. If you want to travel and cross borders they are now a requirement. South Korea, Latin America, the Caribbean, South East Asia …any of these areas (if entering the country from overseas – not as a resident). I have heard that it will soon be a requirement (in the next 5 years) between Canada and the US for border crossings as well.

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