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Dog microchipping: a legal requirement and a great idea reading-time-icon 2 min read

According to research by one insurance company, more than five dogs go missing in the UK every day.

A lost dog will have a much better chance of being reunited with their owners if they’re microchipped.

No owner wants to think about their dog going missing – which is why dog microchipping has been a legal requirement in England and Wales since April 2016.

To avoid a fine of up to £500, your dog must be microchipped and registered on an approved database before they reach 8 weeks of age. 

UK government-approved microchipping databases

  • National Veterinary Data Service
  • MicroChip Central
  • Animal Tracker
  • Identibase
  • Pet Identity UK
  • MicroDogID
  • Smartchip
  • Petlog
  • UK PETtrac
  • ProtectedPet

When you buy a puppy, your breeder must ensure your new pet is microchipped before the sale is completed. 

It’s a good idea to ask your breeder for proof of microchipping - this could be a microchip certificate, a pet passport or your new puppy’s vet record. 

dog in field waiting for owner

How does microchipping work? 

A microchip is a tiny electronic device - about the size of a grain of rice - that’s placed under your dog’s skin, usually the back of the neck. The procedure is quick, simple and relatively painless - once the microchip is in place, it won’t bother your dog in the slightest.  

Each microchip has a unique 15-digit number that corresponds to the owner’s details. If your dog becomes lost or stolen and is handed in to a vet, a quick scan of their microchip can help to reunite you. 

Keeping your details up-to-date 

Be sure to contact your registered microchip company if you move house or change your phone number. That way, if your dog goes missing and is handed in to a vet, they’ll have no difficulty contacting you to tell you the good news.  

Owners can be fined up to £500 for failing to keep their microchip database details up to date. If you do move house, be sure to add ‘update microchip details’ to your to-do list. 

Did you know?

Once your dog is microchipped, they’ll still need to wear a collar and tag when they’re out in public. 

How much does microchipping cost?

Your dog’s microchip will need to be fitted by a qualified vet. Prices vary depending on your location and your practice. 

If you’ve just got a new puppy, we recommend joining the Pet Health Club! Microchipping is included as part of your membership and if your pet is already chipped when you join, you’ll get a £10 voucher to spend in practice! Find out more about the Pet Health Club

Need more info?

Chat to your local vet for expert advice on microchipping your dog.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or try chatting to a vet online today.

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