Getting your pet microchipped is the best way of making sure you’re reunited if they get lost or stolen.
We recommend that all pets are microchipped – a collar or tag can fall off or be removed, but a microchip is a more permanent way to identify your pet and keep them safe.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a small radio chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that has a unique number to help identify your pet.
Microchipping your pet takes a matter of seconds, and once it has been done they can be identified using a hand-held scanner (you may have seen these at your local vets). This means that should your pet become lost, dog wardens, rescue centres and vets can look up your details to help reunite the two of you.
Do I have to get my pet microchipped?
If you have a dog, yes. Since 2016, dogs over 8 weeks old need to be microchipped by law.
The law means that:
- Any dog over 8 weeks old must be microchipped. Very small puppies or those with certain health problems can get a temporary exemption certificate from a vet, but still need to be microchipped when they are a bit bigger or healthier before it runs out .
- Owner details must be kept up-to-date and stored with an approved database company.
- Your dog must still wear a collar and tag with your contact details on when in public.
- If your dog is scanned by a dog warden and found not to have a microchip you’ll have 21 days to get them microchipped. If you don’t, you could face a fine of up to £500.
It’s not a legal requirement to have other pets microchipped, however we would always recommend you do. Cats especially like to wander and it’s easy for them to get lost if they get frightened, or get inside a vehicle by accident. Rabbits and small pets are also notorious escape artists, so getting them microchipped will help if they are found. Even unusual pets like reptiles and birds can be microchipped and for some exotic species that fall under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rules, microchipping may be a requirement as a form of identification.
Microchipping is the best way of being reunited with your pet if you are ever separated, so we would always recommend getting your pets microchipped.
How microchipping works
Your pet’s microchip will be implanted using a needle under their skin between their shoulder blades. Only someone who has been properly trained can implant a chip. It only takes a matter of seconds to microchip a pet. When your pet is then scanned, they will have a unique number with your details stored safely.
Will microchipping hurt my pet?
No, microchipping won’t hurt your pet. It’s similar to any injection or vaccination, so will feel a lot like that to your pet. They are also made of non-reactive material so they shouldn’t cause your pet any problems throughout their life.
Microchipping is usually done when pets are awake as it’s quick and most pets barely notice. While microchipping isn’t any more painful than a simple injection, sometimes owners prefer to get this done when they are going under general anaesthetic for something else, like neutering. This does mean if your pet gets lost before then, they won’t have a chip to identify them.
For some exotic species, an anaesthetic or sedation might be needed to implant the chip. Your vet will let you know if this is the case.
Where can I get my pet microchipped?
Microchips can only be implanted by vets, vet nurses or someone who’s been specially trained in how to implant a chip. All vets offer microchipping. You might find that other places such as rescue centres or dog groomer may offer pet microchipping. Make sure if you’re not going to a vet practice that you check the person who microchips your dog is qualified.
The cost of having your pet microchipped varies. Most vets will charge a small fee. There may be a charity or event running in your local area offering microchipping at a reduced cost or even free.