It is the law to microchip your dog and horse, and it will soon be a legal requirement for cats too.

Microchipping animals to identify them has been available in the UK for nearly 30 years.

How does chipping work?

A very small implant with a built-in radio transmitter fits under the skin. The needle used is not much bigger than an injection, and doesn’t hurt when inserted. It can be done awake and without anaesthetic.

When a microchip reader (scanner) is placed near the chip, it receives a number transmitted by the chip. The number can be checked against national databases to identify the owner, whose contact details will already be on file. It is important to keep your pet's microchip details up-to-date.

What information is stored on the chip?

The chip contains a unique number, which links to an animal record on the database. As well as details of the owner and animal, important medical information can also be added - this is useful if your pet needs specific medication, as it means that if they go missing they can be put back on their treatment as quickly as possible. It is important to keep these microchip details up-to-date.

When can it be done?

Cats and dogs can be microchipped from around 9 or 10 weeks of age.

Is it not expensive?

It is a lot cheaper than you think, often as little as £6, and some charities and local councils provide assistance with chipping (use our contact details at the bottom of this page to learn more).

What happens with a dog that is brought in to be rehomed?

When we bring an animal into our care we will normally not change the registered owner on the chip if it looks likely that the animal is going to be rehomed quickly (such as a very sought-after breed or age of dog, or in a Home-to-Home case). Where animals are staying longer, the chip is transferred into the charity’s name after 30 days or so – and then re-registered to the new owner at adoption.

We did used to retain the registration to ourselves up until around 2011 but we have subsequently reregistered almost 100% of animals to their owners when the law changed in 2016.

Is it dangerous?

Microchipping is similar to a vaccination procedure. When performed by a qualified vet the procedure should cause no physical harm to the animal. Occasionally a chip can fail when the number can not be read, but this happens very rarely.

For further information, please email community@oaktreeanimals.org.uk or call 01228560082 ext. 228


   Get our e-updates