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Pet Information - Microchips

Microchipping of dogs has been compulsory in the UK since April 2016 for all dogs over the age of 8 weeks, and the chip must be registered to the address where the dog lives.

If your dog is not microchipped, please phone the surgery for an appointment - this can be done by one of our nursing team, we are offering microchips at a discounted price of £12.

To report your pet missing, please contact Pet Log (the national microchip database) on 01296 336579 - lines are open 24/7.

If the microchip details need updating eg with a new address or phone number (especially mobile phone numbers), you should contact the database (there are 7 in the UK!!) which holds the information for your pet's chip. You can find this by either looking on the paperwork which you were given when your pet was chipped, or alternatively go to the Pet log website look up the microchip on their national database, this will tell you which database to contact. There will be a small charge to update your details.

 How does it work?

  • A microchip is a small electronic device about the size of a grain of rice.
  • The microchip is implanted into the loose skin at the back of the neck at the level of the shoulders. It's like having an injection into the back of the neck.
  • The chip is scanned before and after implantation to ensure it is fully functional
  • When the animal is scanned with a special microchip reader, the chip gives off a 15-digit code which is unique to that chip.
  • Once the chip is implanted, the chip is registered to the owner by filling in a form (which can be done online). This owner's full name, address and contact phone numbers are recorded, plus a full record of the animal (name, species, breed, colour, age).
  • This information is kept on a national database.
  • If your pet is taken to a vets, dog warden or animal shelter, the first thing they will do is scan your pet to see if it is microchipped. If a chip is found, they will immediately contact the pet register (which is open 24 hour a day, 365 days a year), and you will be contacted.
  • In addition, at Alfreton Park Veterinary Hospital, we record microchip details on your pet’s record, so if a stray is brought in to us, we can scan our records for the chip number, leading to you being swiftly reunited with your pet if it is registered with us.

A microchip isn't a GPS device, it can't be used to locate your pet or stop it from wandering off.

It is crucial that you ensure your contact details are up to date - this is now required by law. 


Should I have my cats microchipped when they hardly ever go outside?

It makes sense to chip all cats - the cost is minimal, it only takes a few seconds to do, and will ensure your cat can be identified for the rest of its life - all you need to do is keep your contact details up to date on the microchip database. It is heart breaking when cats go missing, e.g. by escaping on the way to the vets or cattery, or through an open window, when the owners didn't feel there was a need to microchip them. 


Rescue centres are full of animals that aren’t necessarily unwanted, they are just lost!! Don't forget that it is now compulsory by law to have UK dogs microchipped. 

So, to summarise, microchipping is: 

  • To help return lost pets – vets, dog wardens and animal shelters routinely scan strays for microchips.
  • To identify the pet if there is an ownership/identification dispute. The police are unlikely to be interested in helping to find stolen animals if they aren’t chipped.
  • To comply with the EU travel scheme for taking pets abroad and other dog/cat exports. Travel regulations require that your pet is microchipped before it is vaccinated against rabies. Tattoo identification is not sufficient for travel abroad.

Microchips can be implanted in dogs, cats, horses, birds, small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs and even reptiles such as snakes, lizards and tortoises. Birds of prey are often chipped for identification purposes and to prove they are not owned illegally.

Does it hurt?

It can be slightly uncomfortable briefly while the microchip is implanted, but once it has been implanted, the chip sits comfortably and painlessly in the tissues between the shoulders.

One way round this is to have the microchip implanted while the animal is under anaesthetic, for example they are being neutered.

How will I know if it is working? I’ve heard they sometimes stop working, or can move around.

When your pet comes to the Practice, we can easily scan them to ensure the microchip is still functional. It is very rare for the chip to stop working but if it cannot be found, another chip can be inserted which is again registered to the owner.

Chip migration was a small problem in the early days of microchips. Nowadays, they are built with anti-migration properties to reduce the chance of them moving. It is important after the chip is implanted not to fiddle with the area, or try to feel it – just allow the chip to settle into position, and there should be no problems with movement.

Other benefits: 

There are products on the market now that make use of microchip technology: 

1.    Microchip cat flaps – you programme the cat flap with the number of the cat or cats who are allowed through the cat flap. Other cats can’t come through the cat flap – so it’s a great way to stop other cats in the neighbourhood coming into your house.


2.     Microchip operated feeders – programmed to open when a cat with an accepted microchip comes to eat. This can be useful when you have more than one cat but they are on different diets, or have different amounts of food (eg if one of your cats is overweight but the other isn’t! It stops the overweight one having access to your other cat’s food!).



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