If your pet goes missing, a microchip gives them the best chance of returning to you quickly. We’ve explained exactly what a pet microchip is and how they work in this guide for you.
What is a pet microchip?
A pet microchip is a small chip that goes under your pet’s skin in a quick and simple procedure. Your pet’s microchip will have a unique code that, when scanned by a vet, will show yours and your pets' details.
Why is it important to microchip my dog or cat?
Dogs and cats can both lose their way home from time to time. When this happens, don’t rely on a collar and tag for their safe return as they can get lost during their adventures. When found, the vet or animal shelter staff will scan your pet to find your details and reunite you.
What’s the law on microchipping my dog or cat?
It is the law for dogs to wear a collar and tag, and you must also register them on a UK microchip database. To register on a UK microchip database, such as Petlog, take your dog to your vet to get microchipped.
This applies to dogs from 7 weeks old. The only exception is if your dog is a certified working dog, then you will have a further 3 months to get a microchip.
Currently, the microchipping law doesn't apply for cats. Yet, it's advised to have your cat microchipped as cats can be independent and roam alone.
If you have recently moved or your cat is joining you on holiday, they might wander off and not know their way back to you. A microchip can help with their safe return if your contact details are up to date on the database.
How does microchipping work?
It’s a simple, safe and quick procedure that takes a matter of seconds to do. A chip the size of a rice grain will go under the skin of your pet using a special implanter. This is usually placed on the scruff of the neck where there is excess skin.
Microchips are a non-reactive metal, which means they shouldn’t cause any discomfort.
The procedure is no more painful than a standard injection, such as a booster vaccine. Younger pets may yelp, but any pain will be short lived. Some owners prefer that the vet implants the microchip whilst their pet is under general anaesthetic for another reason.
Will my puppy or kitten already be microchipped?
Puppies need a microchip before moving to their forever home as part of the compulsory dog microchipping law. If your puppy is not registered before they turn 8 weeks old, the breeder is breaking the law.
When you collect your new friend, remind the breeder to give you the microchip paperwork. On your first vet visit with your puppy, the vet can scan and update the details on the microchip database for you.
Some cat breeders sort out kitten microchipping before giving the kitten to new owners. If you’re adopting a kitten or cat from an animal shelter, they might already have a microchip.
If you’re not sure, the breeder or your pets vet can help you.
How much does microchipping cost?
The cost of the chipping procedure can vary depending on your vet. Vets tend to charge around £15 for the procedure, with an extra consultancy fee. Some charities and organisations can offer it for free if you are eligible.
You may have to pay an admin fee if you need to change any details on the database, such as your home address if you move.
Where can I get my pet microchipped?
There are a few places that you can go to get your pet microchipped, such as:
- Your vet
- A groomers
- A rescue centre
They must have a microchip qualification to microchip your pet in the right way.
How do I change microchip details for my dog or cat?
When your pet gets microchipped, you will receive a confirmation letter or email. This will include an ID or reference number and a microchip number. All details are then added to an official microchip database.
You can check your details by logging into the database or calling them. There are many companies that your pet's microchip could be with, such as:
If you don't know if your pet has a microchip, you don’t have the microchip information or you want to check your details, your vet can scan your pet to find out.
Your vet can give you your pet's microchip number and you can use that to find the database your details are on through an online chip checker.