Despite our best efforts to keep our dogs safe, sometimes our canine companions can stray from home or sadly, even get stolen. Should this happen, a microchip gives them the best chance of being identified and returned to you.
What is a microchip?
Microchips are a great way to identify your pets. Typically implanted between the shoulder blades, the chip itself is around the same size as a grain of rice and the procedure is virtually painless and quickly forgotten. Its unique number helps make our pets easier to identify.
In order to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership and to help lost pets return home, the UK government made it a legal requirement for all dogs over the age of eight weeks to be microchipped after the 6th April 2016.
How do I know if my dog is microchipped?
If you rescued or bought your dog from a breeder, you should ask for proof of a microchip. You can ask to see:
- A microchip certificate
- Any vet records
- Their pet passport
If they’re not able to provide with any of these, your vet will be able to scan your pet to see if they are microchipped or not.
Remember: If your dog isn't microchipped and registered on an approved database, you could face a fine of up to £500.
A list of government approved databases:
- Animal Microchips
- Animal Tracker
- MicroChip Central
- My Animal Trace
- National Veterinary Data Service
- Pet Chip Register
- Pet Database – FREE TO USE
- Pet Identity UK
- UK PETtrac MicroChip Database
- We Trace Pets
How do I know if my details are still up to date?
Once you have their unique microchip number, you can use a chip checker online to find out who they're registered with so that you can check or update your details.
How long do microchips last and do I need to get them replaced?
Microchips are designed to last for your dog’s lifetime so there is no need to remove or replace the device.
How much do microchips cost?
The cost of getting a dog microchipped can vary but is usually around £10 to £15 and is a service offered by veterinary practices as well as some groomers, walkers and pet sitters. Some vet practices offer health plans which usually include a dog’s vaccinations, microchipping and flea and worm treatments to help spread out the cost of a pet’s routine treatments.
Some dog owners might be eligible for free microchipping through certain charities depending on their income. So be sure to keep your eyes out for any events run in your area that might offer free or discounted microchipping for dogs as well as any package deals from your veterinary practice.
There is also a small fee to get your dog registered on some microchipping databases. This one-off fee usually also covers any future updates to the details of your dog.
Good to know: Petdatabase.com offers a free Defra-compliant pet microchip database and lost pet service.
Why is microchipping important?
When a dog goes missing, the feelings of fear and concern that come with the experience is something no owner should have to go through. Having a microchip can reassure you that they should be easy to identify when they are found. Another vital benefit is that should the issue of ownership surface, then you will be able to prove that the dog is indeed your pet thanks to the information kept on the database.
Unlike other means of identification such as collars or tags, which can wear down, break or need to be replaced every few years or so, a microchip should last for the lifetime of a dog once it has been placed.
What should I do if my dog is lost or stolen?
If your dog is lost or stolen, you’ll need to phone your microchip database company as soon as you can to let them know. They will check to make sure your details are up to date, flag your dog as lost or stolen and contact you if they are found.
Animal Friends and your dog’s microchip
As one of the leading pet insurance providers in the UK, we are committed to ensuring our customers have the support and information they need to be responsible pet owners, and can continue to ensure their pets remain safe, healthy and protected. That’s why we’ve made it possible for you to add your dog’s microchip details onto your policy so that you will have them to hand if you ever need them.