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Pet Microchipping UK: What Dog & Cat Owners Need To Know

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Author: Vicki Moses

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Last updated: 6th June 2023

As responsible pet owners, ensuring the safety and well-being of our beloved dogs and cats is a top priority. One crucial aspect of pet care that cannot be overlooked is microchipping. Microchipping provides a reliable and permanent form of identification for our pets, enabling swift reunions in case they ever become lost or stray. In the UK, pet microchipping has become a legal requirement, emphasising its importance in safeguarding our four-legged family members.

The Basics of Pet Microchipping

Pet microchipping involves the insertion of a tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, beneath the skin of a dog or cat. This chip contains a unique identification number that is registered with a national pet database. When scanned, this number can be matched to the owner’s contact information, enabling a prompt reunion if the pet is found.

Close-up photo of a microchip for pets on a human finger

Why is Pet Microchipping Essential?

1. Ensuring Permanent Identification: Unlike collars or tags, which can become lost or removed, microchips offer a permanent form of identification. This allows shelters, veterinarians, and animal welfare organisations to easily identify the owner and contact them when a lost pet is found. 

2. Reuniting Lost Pets: It’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare to have their beloved furbaby go missing. Microchipping significantly increases the chances of being reunited with a lost pet, as it provides a reliable and quick method of contact.

3. Legal Requirement: The microchipping of all dogs is a mandatory requirement by law. To further reinforce the importance of pet identification, the UK Government announced on 13th March 2023, that microchipping for cats in England is compulsory with all cats to be microchipped by 10th June 2024. Failure to comply may lead to penalties and fines of up to £500.

4. Safeguarding Animal Welfare: Microchipping plays a crucial role in promoting animal welfare. It helps prevent pet theft, deters illegal breeding, and assists in rehoming stray animals by identifying their owners.

Veterinarian identifying a cat by microchip implant

The Pet Microchipping Process

Microchipping is a simple and relatively painless procedure that can be performed by a veterinarian or a trained professional. Here’s what you can expect during the microchipping process:

1. Implantation: The microchip is inserted beneath the skin, usually between the shoulder blades of the pet. This is typically done without the need for anesthesia and causes minimal discomfort. 

2. Registration: Following the implantation, the owner’s contact information, along with the pet’s details, is registered in a national pet database. It is crucial to keep this information up to date, especially if there are any changes in address or phone number. Be aware, you could be fined up to £500 if your dog is registered on a database that is not approved and listed on the Government’s website. UK Pet microchipping databases 

3. Scanning: Veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and other authorised parties have the necessary scanning equipment to detect and read microchips. In case a lost pet is found, they can quickly scan the chip to identify the owner’s contact details.

Pet Microchipping FAQs

How much does it cost to microchip a dog or cat?

The cost of microchipping a dog or cat in the UK can vary depending on location and the service provider, but the cost typically ranges from £10 to £30. 

Is there a charge to register the microchip ID with a database?

Yes, there is typically a charge to register the microchip ID with a database, and the costs can vary depending on the chosen database provider. Some microchip databases may offer a one-time registration fee, while others may have annual subscription fees.

What age do you have to microchip a puppy?

By law, All puppies must be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old.

How do I change my pet’s microchip details?

You will need to contact the database company your pet is registered with. They will provide guidance on the process, which typically involves submitting a change request, such as your contact details or ownership information. You may also have to pay a fee each time you make an update.

Let’s keep our pets safe!

In summary, Microchipping is an essential step in responsible pet ownership. In the UK, it is not only a legal requirement for dogs but for cats as well. This simple and safe procedure ensures permanent identification and greatly increases the chances of reuniting lost pets with their owners. Remember, maintaining up-to-date contact information on a microchip database is crucial, as it increases the chances of reuniting with your pet in the event they go missing.

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