Guide to microchipping your pet

dog in the sun

Realising your beloved pet has gone missing is every owner’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, microchipping makes it much easier for lost dogs and cats to be reunited with their owners as quickly as possible.

We have put together a helpful guide to explain all you need to know about how microchipping works.



How do dog microchips work?

Dog microchips are inserted by a needle, just under the skin of your dog, usually in between their shoulder blades.

Each microchip contains a unique identification code. Once a dog is microchipped, the owner must then register the code with a pet microchip company. The company stores the unique code within their database along with the owner’s contact details. However, the chip itself does not contain any personal information.

If the dog gets lost, the microchip can be scanned using a handheld device owned by vets, dog wardens, and most animal rescue centres to show the unique code. They can then search for the unique code on one of the many chip databases, such as ‘check-a-chip’ to find out which company they are registered with. The microchip company will then provide the owner’s contact information so that they can be safely reunited.



Do dogs have to be microchipped?

From the 6th of April 2016, it became a legal requirement in the UK, for any dog aged 8 weeks or over, to be microchipped. Failing to do so can result in a £500 fine.



Can you feel a microchip in a dog?

You may be able to feel a tiny bump as the microchip is implanted just under the skin; however, the chip itself is very small, so it may be difficult to find.

How big is a dog microchip?

A dog microchip is equivalent to the size of a grain of rice; most are 12mm in length and approximately 2mm in diameter.



How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

It usually costs between £10 and £15 to have your dog microchipped by a vet; however, some animal rehoming centres, such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross centres and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, currently provide this service free of charge.



How to register a dog's microchip?

Once your dog has had its microchip implanted, you will need to choose a microchip company to register your code and contact details. The UK Government has a list of 17 approved databases that you can choose from that all meet government standards.



What information is needed for a pet microchip?

Owners will need to supply their name, address and contact number to the microchip company at the point of registration.



How to change a dog's microchip details

In the UK, it is a legal requirement for owners to keep their contact details up to date with their microchip company to ensure they can reunite lost dogs with their owners as quickly as possible.

If you move or change your telephone number, you must inform your microchip provider. Most companies will allow you to change your details online, by telephone or via post. If you are unsure which company you are with, you can locate this information by entering your pet’s microchip code into a chip locater site, such as ‘check-a-chip’.

Most companies charge a fee for any changes you make.

What is microchipping a cat?

A microchip is a small chip about the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted using a needle and placed just under the skin and contains a unique identification code.

Once a cat is microchipped, the owner must register the code with an approved microchip database company and provide their contact details, such as name, address, and telephone number. 

If the cat goes missing and is found, a vet or rehoming centre can scan the chip to reveal the code. They then enter the code into a chip locator site, such as ‘check-a-chip’ to determine which company the chip is registered. They will then contact the company to request the owner’s contact details to reunite them. The chip itself does not contain any personal information.



Do cats have to be microchipped?

Currently, it is not a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped. However, to reduce the number of lost cats being handed into rehoming centres, it will become mandatory to have your cat microchipped by the time they are 20 weeks old. This new law is due to come into effect in 2023.



How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

The cost of microchipping a cat can vary between veterinary practices; however, they usually range between £10 and £20. Some charities and rehoming centres, such as the RSPCA, may charge a reduced fee.



Where are cats microchipped?

Typically, a cat will have a microchip inserted just under the skin between its shoulder blades.



Can you feel a microchip in a cat?

The microchip size is equivalent to a grain of rice. You may be able to feel a tiny bump where the chip is located, as it sits just under the skin.



Can I track my cat with a microchip?

A microchip does not track your cat’s whereabouts; instead, it stores a unique code number that can be used to help reunite lost cats with their owners.



How to reset a microchip cat flat

A microchip cat flap is an innovative way of only allowing your pets to enter your home. The cat flap will scan your cat’s chip and will only unlock if it recognises the code.

There may be times when you need to reset a microchip cat flap, for example, if you want to remove any chips from the memory. Most manufacturers will provide information on how to reset the cat flap back to factory settings; the process usually involves removing the batteries and turning the device off and on. Please speak with your cat flap’s manufacturer for instructions on resetting it.


We know caring for furry friends can sometimes be costly, which is why we offer two levels of pet insurance cover: Time Limited and Lifetime. You can choose the level of cover that suits your budget.

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