Microchip your dog — how much, how to change ownership and more
According to research, 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.
But microchipping your dog isn't just about keeping them safe — it's also a legal requirement in the UK.
In this article, our vet explores how to get your dog microchipped, what a microchip for dogs costs and how to avoid being fined for not having an up-to-date microchip.
A microchip is a small electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that's implanted under your dog's skin, usually at 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 chip has a unique number that's registered on a secure database, linking it to your contact details. If your dog is lost or stolen and handed in to a vet, a quick scan of the microchip can help to reunite you.
You can get your dog microchipped at your local vet by searching here. The process is quick and while prices do vary, it usually costs between £10 and £20. Members of Pet Health Club get their dog microchip free as part of their subscription.
Remember, 20% of dogs are never reunited with their owners, partly due to incorrect microchip details and one in 10 dogs missing at some point in their lives.
To avoid a fine of up to £500, your dog must be microchipped and registered on an approved database before they reach eight weeks of age. Your local vet will be able to advise on how to do this.
You can find the most up-to-date list of approved databases at the government's website. Most database providers have easy-to-use websites and 24/7 helplines for owners in an emergency.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warns against using the UK Pet Chip Registry. This service is not on the list.
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, an animal health certificate or your new puppy’s vet record.
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 are planning on moving house with your dog, 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.
Need more info?
Chat to your local vet for expert advice on microchipping your dog.