Microchipping and the importance of updating details
For dog owners, microchipping not only gives you peace of mind but is now a legal requirement in the UK.
Why is microchipping important?
The United Kingdom is a nation of pet lovers. Approximately 1 in 2 households owns a pet, which amounts to an enormous 20 million pets owned (excluding fish) nationwide.
Sadly, a staggering 1,774 dog thefts were reported to police and 81,050 stray dogs were handled by Local Authorities between 2015-2016. Of these, just 43,767 were reunited with their owners, largely due to microchipping.
For dog owners, microchipping not only gives you peace of mind but is now a legal requirement in the UK. Dog breeders must ensure that puppies are microchipped and recorded by the time they are eight weeks old and before they are sold.
Owners or breeders who fail to comply could end up with a fine of up to £500.
It is also a legal requirement for your dog to wear a dog collar with a tag stating your name and contact details when in public areas.
Microchipping your cat is equally important. It is a safe method of identification and increases the chances of your pet being safely returned should they stray too far.
One of the greatest benefits of microchipping is it’s permanency. Whilst still a legal requirement, a collar and tag can fall off or be removed. Microchipping is a convenient, risk-free way of keeping your pet safe.
Where can I get my pet chipped?
Most vets in the UK offer a pet chipping service along with a growing amount of local authorities and animal welfare groups.
How much does it cost?
It depends. At a veterinary surgery it will cost between £15 - £30. Some animal welfare organisations offer chipping free of charge or hold free of charge events occasionally.
Keeping your details up to date is vital
If you move house or change your phone number, you must contact your microchip database provider to let them know. It is a legal requirement that you keep your pet’s microchip details up-to-date so that you can be contacted should the worst happen and your pet goes missing. So dog owners are urged to add this to their “to do” list ahead of moving home.
Updating your details if you have brought your cat into the UK through the Pet Travel Scheme or through quarantine is especially important. If your cat strays while your details are still registered overseas and his legal entry to the UK cannot be verified, your cat may face a further period of quarantine or even euthanasia by the authorities.
Whether you are moving one mile or 10,000, it is fundamental to update the details stored on your microchip with contact details for the country you are in. In the UK you can do this by contacting the database provider your pet is registered to.
How to update your details
It’s easy to update the details for your dog’s microchip; you can do it online, by telephone or by post – depending on which database your chip is registered to. Charges for updating your contact details will vary across microchip database providers.
If you’ve lost your pet’s microchip information, there are a number of ways to find them out:
Your microchip number:
To aide your search, here is a list of common microchip formats to help. It will often be listed under a barcode on official paperwork:
● 15 digit number - e.g. 977200000000000
● 10 digit number - e.g. 111111112A
● 9/13 digit number - e.g. AVID*012*345*378
The number might also have references to ISO, FDXA, FDXB, FECAVA.
Where to find your microchip number:
There are a number of places you may find your microchip number:
● A certificate from the pet microchip database
● Pet passport, if you have one
You’ll have a pet passport if you’ve ever travelled to the UK from an EU country, or another country the UK accepts pet passports from or from the UK to another country.
● Pet insurance documentation
● Your pet's veterinary records
And if you cannot find the number yourself the following might help:
● Contact your usual vet - they may have implanted the microchip or asked for the number when you registered
● The implanter of the microchip - if not your usual vet
● Take your pet to be scanned at the local vet, rescue centre or dog wardens service - many have universal scanners that will be able to identify your pet’s details.
Government approved databases:
If you still can’t find your information, here is a list of government approved microchipping databases you can contact. If you’re a dog owner, legally, your pet must be registered with one of these organisations:
● Animal Tracker tel: 01279 219777
● Identibase tel. 01904 487600
● MicroChip Central tel: 01223 790100
● MicroDogID tel: 0207 8220900 (choose option 1)
● National Veterinary Data Service tel: 0330 123 9924
● Pet Identity UK tel. 0844 4633 999
● Petlog tel: 0844 4633 999
● ProtectedPet tel: 01902 508 355
● Smartchip tel: 01208 420 999
● UK PETtrac tel: 01273 408722 or freephone 0800 652 9 977
Whether your companion is a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret or another furry friend - microchipping is vital. If your pet goes missing or is stolen, microchipping is the most reliable way of reuniting a pet with their owner. If your details change, updating them only takes a few minutes and could save a world of heartache should the worst happen.