Learn about four companies that offer free (or low cost) microchips and registration for rescue groups.
Microchipping dogs and cats greatly increases their chances of being found and returned home when lost. The majority of animal shelters, rescue organizations, and TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) groups implant microchips in the animals in their care. Unfortunately this can prove cost prohibitive for some. With microchips costing as much as $15 each not including registration, this can really add up when handling hundreds or thousands of animals yearly.
Many rescues reach out to nonprofits like Mission Reunite looking for grants to purchase microchips and scanners. These organizations not only want to microchip pets they adopt out, they want to offer free or low-cost microchipping clinics to the public. The more dogs and cats that are chipped (and registered), the fewer end up as strays in shelters.
I conducted extensive research and compiled this list of free and low-cost microchips (and registries) with the intention of helping rescue groups and others provide better service to their communities.
Fi Nano is a newcomer to the pet microchip world. They have sold dog GPS collars since 2019, and in 2020 they added the mini “nano” chip to their product line. Fi will send any veterinarian, shelter, rescue, or breeder a starter pack of 20 chips completely free!
Fi offers several ways for rescues to earn more free microchips. You can earn one free chip for every chip you register. You can receive a whole box of free chips for referring a new Fi customer. They also offer support for microchipping clinics and educational campaigns – speak to a representative at Fi for details.
Fi’s registry is totally free. Each chip comes with a little card with a QR code.
Simply scan the card to register in minutes. Chips sold to a rescue maintain that contact as an emergency backup should the current owner not be reachable. Be aware that the free registry is online-only and does not include a live call center.
Fi Nano sells packs of 20 chips on their website or on Amazon at just $3.00 per chip.
MICROCHIP ID SYSTEMS
Microchip ID Systems has excellent customer service and offers a variety of products and incentives for rescues. A single microchip can be purchased on Amazon for $11.95 without registration and $33.99 with lifetime registration. Rescue partners can qualify for a significant discount on these retail prices.
When you sign up for their Partner Hub you can take advantage of a number of services and rebates. Microchips can be purchased for as low as $6.25 each, $15 including lifetime registration. The Pocket Hero scanner is only $64.99! Similar scanners cost $300-$400 from other companies.
Partner registration is discounted to $10 lifetime for any chip. Buddy ID (Microchip ID Solutions’ registry) encourages rescues to register microchipped pets to themselves in case the new owner doesn’t get around to it. This ensures that registration will show in Pet Microchip Lookup. When the new owner registers the chip in their name, ownership will be transferred, but the rescue will remain as a lifetime emergency contact through their Lifetrac program.
Free chips can be earned simply by registering. Each registration earns one point which equals one new chip. Points can also be used to buy scanners, prepaid registrations, and other products and services.
I highly recommend Microchip ID Systems not just because of their good value products and services, but because of their excellent customer service. Every time I call or email I get an immediate response and they are happy to help me.
Registration starts at $45 lifetime. They don’t advertise rescue rates on their website, but when I called inquiring about registration for a large number of pets they offered me a substantial discount. It’s worth a call to see what you can work out for your rescue group. If you don’t want to pay you can always register Pet Key (or any chip) in another registry like Free Pet Chip Registry.
Pet Key is one of the few microchip registries to have an app. In fact, they have two apps: one for pet owners and another for pet pros. With PetKey Pro users can easily register and track microchips of pets from their organization, search microchips of found pets, and contact owners for reunion.
At $10 a chip, AKC Reunite is not the lowest cost, but they do have a number of incentives for rescues. They have a point system in which free microchips are earned by registering microchips and referring new customers to AKC Reunite.
As a nonprofit, they have a number of charitable programs including scanner grants for organizations in need. Their website states that they provide special pricing and support for microchip clinics and other community events — call or email for details.
AKC Reunite’s microchip registration costs $19.50 lifetime.
I hope this is helpful for your organization! If you know of any other free or low-cost microchip resources please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.