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Microchipping is the most effective way of being reunited with your cat or dog in case they go missing. Losing a pet is stressful and incredibly upsetting, which is why microchipping is extremely important, to give your pet the best chance of returning home safely. While cats and dogs can be fitted with collars and tags, a practical and visual indicator that they have an owner, collars can become loose, fall off and be removed. Microchipping is a more permanent method of quickly identifying the animal’s owner.

Is dog microchipping compulsory?

In April 2016, it became a legal requirement for all dogs at the age of eight weeks old to become microchipped. Dog owners are at risk of being fined up to £500 if their pet’s details are incorrect. By law, dogs are also legally required to wear a collar and a tag with their owner’s name and contact number on. If your dog is found without a collar and name tag, you could face an unlimited fine.

Is cat microchipping compulsory?

Although it is not currently a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped, animal charities and veterinary bodies are supporting public petitions for cat microchipping to become compulsory. If a vet cannot contact their owner due to incorrect microchip details, or the pet simply doesn’t have a microchip in place, a pet could risk going into a shelter or sadly, being euthanised by the local authority if they’re unable to rehome them. Cats can also be microchipped from as young as eight weeks old.

How does microchipping work?

Microchipping your dog or cat is a quick, painless and simple procedure. A microchip is a small electronic device, around the size of a grain of rice, which is inserted under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. Your pet can’t feel the microchip once it is under the skin. Dogs and cats do not require an injection to be microchipped, however, rabbits may require a general anaesthetic and can be microchipped as they’re being neutered.

Each microchip has a unique 15 digit code, which is attributed to your details and logged into a national UK digital database. The database stores your name, telephone number and address. It’s extremely valuable and important you get in touch with the microchip database if your contact details change at all, so a vet has the best chance of reaching you if your lost or stray pet is found.

To check if your pet’s microchip is working, a vet will run a hand-held scanner over the animal’s shoulder blades to locate that the chip is in place, to read the microchip number and although it is extremely rare, to ensure that the chip hasn’t moved.

How to update microchip details

Updating your pet’s microchipping details is simple, and you can make these changes online or by calling the database company which requires a small payable fee:

The main UK database companies are:

Once your pet has been microchipped, the registration documents are sent in the post just a couple of weeks later, which includes information on your dog or cat’s chip number and confirmation of your details linked to that microchip. Always double check your details match those provided by the national microchip database company.

What are the benefits of pet microchipping?

  • Microchipping your cat or dog increases the chances of being reunited with them if they go missing
  • You can feel confident the microchip is a more permanent way of identifying your pet when they’re found
  • Microchipping is a good theft deterrent and prevents the likelihood of your pet being stolen
  • Pet microchipping is a cost-effective method of keeping your pet safe

Always make sure your pet is microchipped before letting them out for the first time. If you would like more information on microchipping your cat or dog, get in touch with your local Animal Trust clinic and book a free appointment online using our 24-hour booking system.

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