Since 2016, getting your dog microchipped a legal requirement. You and your dog will benefit from having a microchip, for many reasons. Firstly, with a microchip, you will you be able to track your dog down if he goes missing. Additionally, your dog will need a microchip if you want to get him a pet passport and take him travelling.
Vets normally charge between £10 to £20 for a dog microchip, with prices varying depending on the vet clinic you visit and the area in the UK. However, it is possible to get free dog microchipping in the UK. Many dog charities and animal shelters offer microchipping for free! While some charities offer this service to everyone, some only offer this service for those receiving benefits. Some charities also organise pop-up events where dogs can get free microchipping.
In this article, we will discuss in detail on how you can get free dog microchipping in the UK, in 2020.[toc]
What is a Dog Microchip?
A microchip is a small radio chip, around the size of a grain of rice. Every microchip contains a unique number which can be detected by a hand-held scanner. Your dog’s number is registered to a worldwide database with your details so that you can reunited if your dog was to go missing.
The microchip is inserted into your dog’s skin in between his shoulder blades. The process only takes a matter of seconds and is harmless to your dog.
Which charities offer free dog microchipping?
In order to encourage dog owners to get their dogs microchipped, many charities offer free dog microchipping.
Many charities offer free microchipping for dogs, but service this is often only available in certain branches.
Additionally, not all charities offer free microchipping to everyone. Where some charities offer dog microchipping for free for all owners, some will only provide for any dog owners that receive any of the following benefits:
- Pension credit (not the standard state retirement pension)
- Housing benefit
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Council tax benefit (not 25 per cent single person discount)
- Income based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income based employment and support allowance
- Universal credit
- Child Tax Credit
Many charities also organise regular pop-up events where they offer free microchipping for dogs in the UK. These are held all over the UK. Check your local charity’s websites to see when their next pop-up event is.
Battersea offers free dog microchipping at all of their three centres. To book an appointment at your nearest centre, you can call 0800 001 4444.
Battersea also host free Pet Day events, in which owners can get dogs microchipped for free as well as free health checks, dog tag engraving and health advice. These are held all over the UK.
Centres: Battersea London, Old Windsor in Berkshire and Brands Hatch in Kent
Blue Cross microchips dogs for free. Contact your nearest Blue Cross rehoming centre or animal hospital to book an appointment.
They also run events where you can take your dog to get a free microchip. To find out when your next event is, give your local Blue Cross a call.
Hospitals: Victoria, Merton, Hammersmith, Grimsby and Southwark
Mobile Clinics: Southwark, Hackney, Islington, Walthamstow and Highbury
Pet Care Clinics: Ashford, Cwmbran, Derby, Luton, Torbay and York
Dogs Trust offers free microchipping as a part of their Community Events programme. Their teams visit areas within London, Wales, Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland to offer free microchipping. Click here to find out where your nearest event is.
They also offer free microchipping at their rehoming centres (excluding Basildon, Essex). All you need to do is ring up and make an appointment at your nearest centre.
Centres: Ballymena (N.Ireland), Bridgend, Canterbury, Darlington, Evesham, Glasgow, London (Harefield), Ilfracombe, Kenilworth, Leeds, Loughborough, Manchester, Merseyside, Newbury, Salisbury, Shoreham and Shrewsbury
How much does a microchip cost at a veterinary center?
Prices for a standard microchip through a veterinary centre will cost you between £10 and £20. Different vet clinics will charge different amounts, but the average stands at approximately £14.50.
As a legal requirement, your dog will only need a standard microchip. However, some private veterinary centers do offer biotherm microchips. These have the capability to measure your dog’s temperature and keep an eye on their health.
Biotherm microchips will cost on average £18, a little more than a normal microchip.
Although it isn’t essential, it’s good to know your options, just in case you wanted to opt for a little extra.
Why should I get my dog microchipped?
A microchip is a dog’s permanent form of identification. As long as your details are kept up to date, you can always be contacted if your dog were to go missing.
When a dog warden finds a stray or lost dog, they will use a microchip scanner to check for contact details. With a microchip, your dog will be traced back to you so you can go and collect them right away. So, even if your dog’s collar and ID tag have fallen off, they can still reunite you with your beloved pooch.
However, it’s a much different story for dog’s without microchips. Without ID telling the dog warden who your dog belongs to, they can’t let you know your beloved pet has been found. After several days your dog could then be passed to a rehoming charity, so they can find a new loving home. Or in a worse case scenario, your dog could risk being euthanised by the local authority.
So, to avoid losing your dog forever, it’s highly recommended you have your dog microchipped.
What is the law on dog microchipping?
Since the 6th April 2016, all dogs over 7 weeks old are required by law to be microchipped. Furthermore, the chip must be linked to the owners current contact information in order to be compliant. Your dog will still need to wear a collar and tag that states the name and address of the owner when in a public place, even if microchipped.
Very small puppies (under 8 weeks old) or those with certain health problems can get temporary exemption certificates from a vet, but will still need to be microchipped once they are a bit bigger or healthier.
Although your dog’s microchip details will be stored online, it is still a requirement that your dog wears a collar and tag with your contact details.
If your dog does not have a microchip, or if your current details are not recorded on an approved database, you may be served a notice. This will give you 21 days to either get your dog microchipped, or to update your contact details. If you do not comply with the notice, you could face a fine of up to £500 on conviction. Alternatively an enforcer, such as a dog warden, may capture your dog, microchip him, register the details and then demand the cost from you.
How do I check if my dog’s microchip details are up to date?
When you get your dog microchipped you should be sent a confirmation letter or email from the database your dog’s details are registered with. There are a number of different databases, such as www.petlog.org.uk or www.anibase.com. The confirmation should include an ID or reference number, as well as your dog’s microchip number. To check if your dog’s details are correct, you can simply log in online or contact the database that holds the microchip details.
If you don’t have details on your dog’s microchip, you can check which database your dog has been registered with here. Once you have found out which database you are with, simply give them a call.
If you aren’t sure whether your dog is microchipped or not, take him along to your local vet to have him scanned. With the number, you can use the database checker and get in contact with them.
How do I change my dog’s microchip details?
Will a microchip hurt my dog?
No, getting a microchip will not hurt your dog. The procedure does involve a needle so your dog may feel uncomfortable for a few seconds. However, he may not even notice! No anaesthetic is required because the procedure is near painless and will cause no more discomfort than getting a standard vaccination. If you think your dog or puppy has had a negative reaction to its microchip, get in contact with your vet as soon as possible.
Can I microchip my dog myself?
No. You should never inject your dog with a microchip at home. It is very dangerous and the procedure should only ever be completed by a trained professional.
How long will my dog's microchip last?
A microchip is designed to last over 20 years and is therefore guaranteed for your dog's life. Once injected, the microchip is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue grows around it. Once it is in you don't need to worry about it.
Can I get my cat microchipped for free?
Can I get my cat microchipped for free?It is possible that you may get a cat microchipped for free. Check with your local charities to see if they offer free microchipping service for cats. Some of them may have pop up events you can attend.