As of 6th April 2016 microchipping your dog is compulsory. Your dog must have a microchip by the time it is 8 weeks old. If your dog isn't chipped after 21 days of receiving a notice you're likely to be fined £500. But there are better reasons than the legal requirement to get this done - it's also an excellent way of protecting your pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit or horse, pets are important members of our family who become very special to us. Microchipping can give you peace of mind that they're as protected as they can be if they ever get lost or stolen. It could also save you money when it comes to insuring your pet too. So what exactly is microchipping, and how does it affect you and your pet?
What is microchipping?
Sounds a little scary doesn't it? But actually, pet microchipping is nothing to worry about. A vet or other specialist, implants a very small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, just under your pet’s skin. The chip contains a unique identification reference number that can be read by a scanner. It's so small that many pets don't even notice it's been done. It’s designed to last a lifetime, as long as it doesn't fall out immediately after the procedure! This can happen, but it's rare – and the vet will always scan your pet to make sure the chip is successfully implanted. Your current contact details are then recorded alongside the microchip number and added to the microchip database.
If it doesn't call home, how does the chip help?
Unlike a collar tag, a microchip can't be lost, removed or damaged. If a lost dog or cat is brought into a vet or rescue centre it will be scanned for a microchip. If there is one, the number is entered into the database and the owners are contacted. So it’s a good idea to make sure that you update your contact details if they change – and now it’s a legal requirement. You could be fined £500 if you are found to have failed to do so. A real advantage of chipping is that it should deter pet thieves. As soon as they take a stolen pet to the vets, they’re likely to be found out.
How much is microchipping?
The microchipping cost varies depending on where you have it done but it must be implanted by a trained professional e.g. a vet. You can get your pet microchipped for free at places like the Dog’s Trust, Battersea Dog’s and Cat’s home but check any eligibility requirements. If you aren’t eligible then microchipping is usually about £15. Your vet should be able to give you all the advice you need regarding the microchipping procedure.
How can I save money on my pet insurance?
You may want to change your level of cover or increase your excess (but if you do, make sure you can comfortably afford the increased amount should ever need to claim).
Comparing your insurance with us in plenty of time for your renewal will make sure you’re not rushed into a quick decision. It's pretty easy, find the pet insurance section on our website, start a quote and answer a series of questions about you, your pet and their medical history. We’ll search a selection of the UK’s pet insurance providers and show you a list of quotes that suit your needs. Get comparing and see how much you could save!