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difference microchip and tractive gps tracker

Difference between microchip for dogs and the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker

One of the most common customer requests we receive is, if it’s possible to use the microchip of their pet as a GPS tracking device. This blog entry will explain, why this is not possible. If you want to track your pet, you have to use a Tractive GPS Pet Tracker.

Microchip for dogs

Pet owners all over the world often have to register their animals with a microchip.  The main purpose of the chip is to identify a pet in case it gets lost and the owner needs to be located. If you find a lost pet you should bring it to a vet who can read out the personal data of the owner with a specific reading device.
This means the chip can only find the owner when the pet is already found by someone else, but cannot help you when your pet goes missing and you’re out searching. The microchip does not guarantee that you will find your pet!

The microchip is about 11 – 14 mm long and 2 – 2.2 mm thick. The microchip is implanted just under the skin, between the shoulder blades, with a syringe. The pet hardly feels anything during this process. With a special RFID device you can read out the unique 15 digits ID from the chip.

Comparing the Tracker with microchip for dogs

The biggest difference is that the microchip for dogs is used for authentication of a lost pet, while the Tractive GPS Tracker is used for locating and tracking your pet in realtime!
A common question is regarding the size. The chip is almost as little as a rice corn, whereas the Tracker has approximately the size of a car key. Inside of the chip there is just an antenna because there would not be enough space for an internal power source. Therefore, the chip is only activated when the reading device is near. However, the Tracker consists of a expensive GMS module, GPS-antenna, LED and a battery. It would practically be impossible to place all those components into such a small device like the microchip for dogs, even with state of the art technology. The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker is already the tiniest device available with so many features and integrated technology.

Have you ever lost your pet? Please visit our webshop and take a look at the Tractive GPS Tracker.

Feel free to comment or write our support team. (



Simon is supporting the Tractive Team with his former technical education and his four-legged friend Roxy. Responsible for all the tech-related topics, Simon will keep you up-to-date about the latest products.

45 thoughts on “Difference between microchip for dogs and the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker

  1. Isnt there someone or something out that can go under your dogs skin so you can track them if they ever did get stolen. It would get a lot of pets back to there owners and if its under there skin it cant be removed. It doesnt have to be the size of a grain of rice like the micro chip. I was just wondering with the tech we have now adays and people so good with it could it be made. Or who would i speak to to ask them cause i think its needed with all these dogs being stolen for dog bating or for breeding and a lot never gettin return. But with a tracker under there skin you could ring the police and show them on the app when the dog is so then they could go and get it back for you and arrest the thieves. Please could you look into it or pass me some info so i can look into it cause i think it would stop dogs being stolen. Thanks for taki time to reax this and here from you soon. Thanks

    1. Hi James,

      of course it is still important to chip your dog! However it doesn’t give you the opportunity to locate him in an emergency situation.
      For an implanted GPS-tracker under the skin we probably have to wait some more decades, the current stage of development of the hardware is not yet ready for this.
      Sorry 😉

      Best regards,

        1. Dear Walid,

          I fear that such a technology does currently not exist.
          The available battery technologies that are available cannot be implanted due to their size.

          In case that there’ll be a major breakthrough you can count on Tractive to take full advantage of it. 🙂


          1. They have small batteries in pacers for humans. That last a very long time. They would bring my Mom in to test the battery every couple of years or so,

      1. My dog got stolen cause pet log changed his ownership details on request from the thief without contacting me all I want is tracking implant for if my dog gets stolen

    2. Hi James, I totally agree with you. What good is a gps tracker on a collar going to do. The first thing they do when they take a poor innocent dog from their loving homes and family is remove their collars . There goes there gps tracker…. My pets being stolen, is my biggest nightmare . You could say I’m an over protective pet owner (but if it keeps them safe with me) it’s worth it. If there is a gps chip that can be put in as safe as the micro chip under the skin? I would be first in the que with my 3 babies. Mel

      1. Hi Mel,

        unfortunately the GPS Tracker needs power to operate which why it needs a battery. The battery cannot be implanted due to its size.
        In case there’ll be a scientific breakthrough in the battery technology, you can be certain that we’ll take leverage of it.

        All the best

    3. The tech is still too big and could cause cancer…When its cracked we will all have one, dogs and humans alike

  2. Good day

    trying to find out more about dog tracking units that can be incerted under the skin.

    want to bring into South Africa

    can you assist


    1. Hi Mervyn,

      Please consider that our GPS Tracker is attached on the collar of the dog, so no implantation is needed.

      If you need more information about our GPS Tracker, please contact


  3. The tracker on the collar can be removed and then you are out of luck. I have a service dog so I am not worried about him running off. I am concerned about him being stolen.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      thanks for your comment.
      It’s true that it is possible to remove the device from the collar, but you will know when and where your dog was taken – which is essential information in case of a theft.
      With the new generation of our tracker coming out in autumn you will even receive a warning as soon as the tracker is removed from the collar so you can react immediately to any attempt at theft.

      Kind regards,

  4. But the system will not work if someone stole the dog because just take off the collar and lose the signal, exists the gps microchip implant in the market today?

    1. Hi Emi,

      the microship does not help you either when somebody attempts to steal our dog, however with the GPS-tracker you have the chance to locate the thief, or at least the place where it happened.
      In addition to that the GPS-tracker acts also as a deterrent for thieves, similar like an alarm system for a house.

      Best regards,

  5. Ok answers my question so can a ‘camera or finger print’ be inserted into the gps tracker collar as if it is taken off, the thief will have to put their finger on it or maybe a photo can be taken.
    Or how about, a coding system on the collar so only the owner or vet can take the collar off, and therefore, if someone trying to take it off an alarm goes off, if some sort of alarm is put on that could also be a deterrent. At the moment dogs are being stolen than ever before so something needs to be done to outsmart the thief.

    1. Hi Karen,

      We are aware of pet thieves, however it is at the moment technically not possible to prevent that the dog gets stolen with the device on it. Our trackers main purpose is to locate in case it went missing on its own.
      What we can do is to block the device from further usage. (on support request)

      Best regards,

    2. Hi Karen,
      I like that thought of the finger print and camera to catch the thief. I know that they have tiny pin cameras that are pretty much invisible to the naked eye, and that would work wonderful. It can record as soon as someone messes with the collar to take it off. That is when the thief, and the surroundings will be recorded. Hopefully the company can come up with something to protect our animals.

      Thank you,

  6. as a dog owner, i appreciate the work your doing, as was mentioned in earlier comments, the holy grail is a tracker thats a chip, under the skin, admittedly thats ways away, but is this one small enough to be maybe sewn into his regular collar so if someone steals him, we have a chance of finding him,

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  8. If it came down to choosing whether to use a microchip or a GPS tracking device I would have to choose the microchip. They are small and easy for vets to insert into your dog. No, there is no guarantee that your dog will be found, but it is smaller and will not ever get lost. However, there is nothing that says that you can’t use both.

    1. Hi James,

      That’s right. You can of course use both services.
      The microchip has unfortunately not the capabilities our Tractive GPS Tracker has.
      Microchips are working only passively. Which means you can only scan them with a reading device once your pet has been found.
      Our GPS Tracker on the other hand gives you full control. With the integrated Live Mode you can see the location of your pet in real time anytime you want to.

      You can contact our Support Team anytime if you need further information or help at


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    1. Hi Melissa,

      We are happy that our blog post is effective for you. If you have any questions due to the difference between microchip and Tractive GPS Pet Tracker, please contact us.


    1. Hi Mike George,

      Of course, the GPS tracker is more smart than microchip because you just have to fix the tracker on the collar of the dog.

      If you have any questions due to the difference between microchip and Tractive GPS, feel free to ask.


  10. Why not use a tracker that is NOT inserted into the animal, but attached to the collar? I see that a thief can quickly get rid of it, but theft is not the main concern for most of us. Would that not allow for a somewhat larger–but not too large, of a unit to be used? thanks

    1. Hi Jim,

      the reason why the Tracker cannot be implanted into your pet is the following:
      GPS and cellular receiver/transmitter need enough power to function properly.
      Current battery technologies like Li-Io batteries are heavy and big, which makes it nearly impossible to implant them.

      Rest assured that we’ll keep looking for new technology to make our products better.
      In case you’re interested in new and upcoming products you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to our Newsletter.

      All the best,

      1. My dog goes swimming.
        A lot.
        Is the GPS tracker waterproof? And how long does the battery last please?

        Best Wishes,

        1. Hi Jannie,

          yes, the GPS tracker is 100% waterproof so no worries when your dog goes swimming. The battery lasts 3-5 days (depends on how often/how long you have the LIVE-tracking turned on).


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  12. You need to have a tracker inside the collat not out. Outside can easily snag on something and pull the collar off

  13. Do you have a product that will work without a mobile signal, we live in an area with no /poor mobile coverage

    1. Hi John,

      for the trackers you do need mobile signal. But we do have other products where it isn’t necessary to have good phone connection (e.g. pet-remote or Tractive MOTION acticity tracker) That’s then without tracking though.


  14. This really sucks. Not fair that the micro chip doesn’t track your pet. You say it can only be scanned if your lost pet is brought in. But what about the STOLEN pets that people definitely AREN’T gonna be bringing to the vet??? Should be able to track our stolen pets as well as the lost ones. Not fair. I give this 2 thumbs down.

    1. Hi Maurice,

      I fear that such a technology does currently not exist.
      However, this is exactly why we saw a need for devices such as the Tractive GPS as this will allow you to track your pet at any point.

      In case that there’ll be a major breakthrough you can count on Tractive to take full advantage of it. 🙂


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