Microchipping animals to identify them has been available in the UK for nearly 30 years. It has been the law to microchip your dog since April 2016. It is not currently the law to chip cats or other animals, but is highly recommended.
How does chipping work?
- A very small implant with a radio transmitter built in fits under the skin. The needle used is not much bigger than an injection, it’s very sharp so doesn’t hurt when placed. It can be done awake 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.
Please see this page for more information on the law.
What information is stored on the chip?
The chip only contains a unique number, but when that number is traced, it links to an animal record on the database. As well as details of the owner and animal, important medical information can also be added, so that if the pet strays, it can be put back on treatment as quickly as possible.
When can it be done?
- Cats – from around 9 or 10 weeks of age.
- Dogs – from a similar age, or at any time if your dog is not chipped yet.
What does the law say?
Your dog must be chipped and your details must be kept up to date when you move.
Is it not expensive?
It is a lot cheaper than you think (often as little as £15 or £20), and some charities and local councils provide assistance with chipping (a list can be found here).
What happens with a dog that comes into you.
When we bring an animal into 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 micro chipper 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.
You can find out the facts here.