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A guide to microchipping your pet

The benefits of microchipping your pet

Lauren Chong
Written by  Lauren Chong
6 min read
Updated: 12 Feb 2024

Microchipping your pet can help protect them and give you peace of mind. Learn about microchipping, from the average cost of microchipping a cat in the UK to its impact on pet insurance.

What is pet microchipping?

You might be wondering, what exactly is pet microchipping? It's a modern method that has been instrumental in locating countless lost pets each year. The process involves the insertion of a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the pet's skin. This chip is not just a tracker; it's a means of identification that can be the key to bringing your pet home.

The microchip itself houses a unique identification number. When scanned, this number can be matched to the owner's contact details, which are stored in a secure database. The procedure is quick, akin to your pet receiving a routine vaccination, and is not considered painful.

Yellow labrador is exercised by his human at the park

Peace of mind

Once the microchip is in place, it's so discreet that your pet won't even know it's there. It's designed to last a lifetime, which means you can rest assured that your pet carries a form of identification that is always with them, come what may.

Legal requirements for dogs and cats

In the UK, the law has taken note of the importance of microchipping. Since 2016, it has been a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped once they are over eight weeks old. Owners who don't comply with this law could face a fine, but usually, they are given a 21-day period to get their dog microchipped before any penalty is enforced.

Cats have now joined the ranks of pets that must be microchipped in the UK, with a new law taking effect in 2023. Cat owners have until June 10, 2024, to ensure their feline friends are microchipped. Failing to do so could result in a fine of up to £500. Like with dogs, a 21-day warning period will be given before any fines are issued.

Why microchip your cat now?

Microchipping your cat isn't just about complying with future legal requirements; it's about the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a better chance of being reunited with your cat if they get lost or stolen. While collars and tags are useful, they can come off or be removed. A microchip is a permanent solution.

The benefits of microchipping

The advantages of microchipping your pets are clear:

  • It significantly increases the likelihood of lost or stolen pets being returned safely.

  • Rescue centers, vets, local authorities, and wardens are equipped with chip scanners, making the process of reuniting pets with their owners smoother.

  • Unlike collars and tags, a microchip is a permanent form of identification that doesn't require replacement.

Remember, it's crucial to keep your contact details up to date on the microchip database. If you move house or change your phone number, updating these details is as important as the microchipping itself.

The cost of microchipping

The cost of microchipping a pet in the UK can vary. For cats, it will depend on where you live, who performs the microchipping, and any specific health issues your cat may have. Veterinary practices may charge a set rate, while animal welfare charities or cat rescue organizations might offer it for less. Keep in mind that there may be additional fees for updating information on the microchip database.

The same goes for dogs. The cost can differ based on various factors, and while veterinary practices have their pricing, there are often more affordable options available through animal welfare charities or dog rescue organisations. Remember, all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old.

Where to get your pet microchipped

You can have your pet microchipped at most veterinary practices, as well as at certain animal shelters and centers. The process is quick, and you will need to provide your contact details for the registration of the chip.

Pet insurance and microchipping

When it comes to pet insurance, insurers may not require your pet to be microchipped, but it's a legal necessity for dogs. Additionally, having your pet microchipped could lead to lower insurance rates and might even provide additional coverage benefits, like for overseas travel.

Speaking of pet insurance, you can compare pet insurance policies quickly and easily with MoneySuperMarket. Just give us a few details about you and your pet, and we’ll provide a list of quotes for policies that suit your needs.

Microchipping is a small step you can take for a huge peace of mind. It's a simple, relatively inexpensive procedure that could mean the difference between losing your pet forever and having them safely returned to you. With the legal landscape changing to reflect the importance of this practice, there's never been a better time to ensure your pet is microchipped.

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