Microchip Monday: A Micro Blog About Mini Chips

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Many people ask about mini microchips.  What are they?  Should I get one for my pet?  Where can I get one?  Well, here is the long and short (pun intended) of mini microchips.

The name is self-explanatory.  Mini microchips are shorter, thinner versions of standard microchips.  A standard microchip is approximately ½ inch long and about 2.2 mm in diameter.  While mini chips come in two variations, mini and nano chips range from 7 to nearly 11 mm and are 1.25 to 1.66 mm in diameter.

Length Diameter Needle Size

Found Animals


13.3 mm 2.12 mm 2.6 mm (12 gauge)

Datamars               Slim Chip

10.9 mm 1.66 mm 2.0 mm (14-16 gauge)

Trovan Microchip

11.5 mm 2.12mm 2.6 mm (12 gauge)

Trovan Nano Chip

7.0 mm 1.25 mm 2.0 mm (14-16 gauge)

Trovan Mini Chip

7.0 mm 1.40 mm 2.0 mm (14-16 gauge)

Mini chips are touted by microchip distributors as more humane and less painful than standard microchips because the shorter length and reduced diameter of the microchip allows for a shorter and narrower needle to be used to implant the device.   Distributors and animal shelters often promote mini chips as a safer and more comfortable microchip for small and toy breed dogs, puppies and kittens, yet I was unable to locate any scientific study pointing to the validity of these claims.  In reality, any injection is invasive and can cause some discomfort.  The discomfort of microchip implanting has been described as no greater than that caused by getting blood drawn and most often pets are microchipped with a standard 12 gauge needle with little to no reaction.

The uses of mini chips have proven beneficial to animals that are less than 60 mm or approximately 2.4 inches in length.  The UK’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs previously required that aquatic terrapins must reach 100 mm or approximately 4 inches before being implanted with a standard ISO microchip.  Yet, the introduction of mini and nano chips have made it possible for animals as small as 2.4 inches to receive microchip identification.  Many of the animals receiving these mini chips are small tortoises.

baby snake getting a microchip

This baby snake is getting a mini chip.

A Google search for mini microchips shows that the average cost for a mini microchip at a local humane organization is approximately $5.00 more than the cost of a standard microchip.  So, is it worth it?  For me, there is no amount too great to prevent my babies (dogs) from feeling pain or discomfort.  But in reality, with an injection, some discomfort is inevitable.  Although the difference in size between a standard microchip’s 12 gauge needle and the 14 to 16 gauge needles used with mini and  nano chips vary between 2 to 4 gauges, the size of the needle in relationship to small dogs, small cats, puppies and kittens are nominal and do not appear to make any significant difference in making microchipping more comfortable.

trovan minichips

Trovan’s 8mm mini chip next to a regular sized microchip.

In the future, there may be a surge in adoptions of 2 inch tortoises, and for those pets the microchip of choice should be a mini or nano chip.  Until that time, the size of the microchip being implanted is a minor consideration when microchip distributors and registries have a bigger job to do: ensuring all pets are microchipped with any size ISO standard chip and backed by current contact information in a free microchip registry.

Have you heard about mini chips? Tell us in the comments below.

2 Responses

  1. April says:

    I had never even heard of a mini or nano chip before this article. Very informative!

  2. Jo says:

    great information.all good to know..love getting your Water Bowl emails