Recent newspaper reports
suggest that there is widespread support for legislation that will
require all owners to microchip their dogs and we are likely to see
this introduced after the next election, regardless of which political
party wins. The requirements will be phased in gradually, but
eventually anyone found in possession of an unchipped dog could be
fined or have their animal confiscated.
With Microchipping now being the accepted means of positive
identification all responsible owners are microchipping their pets.
Here are some frequently
asked questions about microchipping:-
How is an animal Microchipped?
It is a simple
painless operation and here in the UK the chip is invariably placed in
the loose skin behind the shoulder blades, just below the base of the
neck and it should remain here for
the rest of the dogs life. This is done using a needle, and
is similar to your pet
having a routine vaccine jab at the vets. Once the microchip has
been inserted, the owner's name and address is entered on to a database
against its own unique code number. Only registered authorities have
access to the information kept on the database (Data Protection Act
What is a Microchip Microchipping provides a permanent, inexpensive form of
identification that cannot be lost, altered, or intentionally removed.
The process is quick and painless and can help ensure a happy
reunion. A Microchip is the size of a large grain of rice (
1.15mm x 2.12mm)
encased in a biocompatible glass the same used in human pacemakers, to
prevent rejection from the animals body. The surface of the casing is
pitted to enable the animal's tissues to bond and grow around the chip
so holding it in position. Each chip is randomly
preprogrammed with its own unique identification number that is never
duplicated. The chip uses Passive radio frequency identification
(RFID) to communicate with the scanner, revealing a unique number on the LCD of the scanner. When this number is put into the
database, it discloses details of the dog's ownership. The chip
passive, untill the energy from the low frequency radio wave
from the scanner is passed over the chip and it is then and only then
that the chip becomes active.
Will it hurt my pet?
Owners are often concerned that their animal will suffer a lot of pain
during the chipping process. The needle is large and no anaesthetic is
administered so it is not a completely painless procedure. Some dogs
will yelp or cry at the injection but many do not even seem to notice
it. The discomfort only lasts a few seconds before the dog is given a
treat and comforted. However some dogs may find the procedure an
ordeal, being taken to a strange place and feeling the sting can be
traumatic. If you suspect that your pet is going to be too
traumatised, a sedative, or an herbal remedy can be given a couple of
hours before the procedure.
It is not unusual for the chip to migrate, but it rarely moves
far. However it is a good idea to have the chip checked when you
take your dog to the vets. Millions of dogs have been
any adverse reactions. It is a one off procedure as the microchip lasts
a lifetime. Like all modern technology, microchipping isn't
infallible and there are reports of animals developing tumours as a
result of microchipping implants, though these are very rare.
How long does it take?
The microchip itself takes less than 2 seconds to insert.
then be asked to fill out the registration form which will take a
How does the Microchip work? The microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice and contains a
silicon chip, a coil inductor and a capacitor. The silicon chip
contains the number or barcode and the coil and the capacitor are
responsible for communicationg with the electrically powered
scanner. The chip is incased in a special biocompatible glass
that is sealed to prevent moisture entering.
The microchip emits a radio wave that is detected by a hand held
scanner that when it comes into proximity of the chip energises
the chip and in return transmits its unique code back to the scanner.
The scanner LCD will then display the microchip number for a
Animal wardens, rescue centres, pounds, police, microchippers and vets
are all equipped with these scanners that are used to read the
microchip details and have access to the PetLog database. This
enables them to reunite the dog with its owner. PetLog is a
which means that your dog can be identified where it is found anywhere
nationwide and may mean you can avoid kennelling charges if it is
seized as a stray.
What information does
the microchip hold?
A serial number that is recorded on a national register when it is
inserted. The register also contains the owner’s name, address and any
contact details such as the telephone number, so by checking the
against the serial number owner and pet may be reunited
Where are my details held?
The number on the microchip relates to your personal details which
are held on a secure database e.g. Petlog® or Identichip® (The
database will vary depending on the microchip manufacturer). Petlog,
which is run by the Kennel Club holds the biggest database. They
are based in Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire and have a 24-hour
seven-day-a-week telephone service. The person
detecting the chip will call the database to get your details and be
to inform you that your pet has been found.
How does the microchip stay in place?
Once the microchip has been
inserted, the dog's body tissue surrounding the microchip attaches
itself, preventing movement of the chip.
Why does the body not
reject the microchip?
The microchip is encased in the same material (bio-compatible glass)
that is used in human pacemakers. The microchip and the implanting
equipment are sterilised before use, so that the dog's body does not
reject the microchip.
Will I also get a tag?
Yes, when your animal is microchipped, you should be given a collar tag
The writing on the tag that states that your pet is identified with a
microchip, and often has the microchip database phone number.
My pet already has a Microchip, how do I change the ownership or
You should contact the relevant database. There are a number of
databases in the UK, such as Identichip®, PETTRAC, and
Petlog® . If you know your animal is microchipped but do not know
the manufacturer or correct database try Petlog® as they hold the
largest database and
can usually let you know which is the correct database for a particular
Petlog® can be contacted on phone
Do I have to have my pet Microchipped if I plan to take him on
If you plan to travel abroad your pet must be microchipped in order to
comply with regulations. If you are traveling within the UK it is not
essential but is strongly recommended for your pet's safety. Once
implanted with a microchip that is part of the scheme, your pet’s
details will be added to the database. This enables you to be traced by
an authorised body such as an animal warden who can scan your pet and
read the microchip number. If your pet is lost while you are travelling
in Europe, you can still be traced as Petlog is the UK member of the
European Pet Network.
How long does the Microchip last?
The microchip should last the life time of your pet. It is very rare
for a microchip to stop working. For peace of mind ask your vet or
local microchipper to check your pets chip by scanning it every 6
What if I move home?
Dogs and cats are most likely to become disorientated, and so lost,
when they have been moved to a new home. It is, therefore, particularly
important that you notify the organisation that maintains the
microchipping register of your new contact details as soon as possible.
My dog has a collar tag so
why should it be microchipped?
By law all dogs have to wear a collar with a tag showing the name and
address of the owner, but accidents do happen. Collars break,
identification tags fall off and get lost. Microchips identify
your pet permanently and harmlessly.
Why should I worry about
losing my pet dog?
There is always a chance that the most reliable and well cared for
dog will go missing or be stolen. Home loving dogs are the most
likely to get lost because they don't know their way around the area.
Is the microchip system well established?
More than 3 million animals have already been microchipped in the
Does my dog or cat have to be a particular age before it can be
It is recommended that a dog or cat have their final vaccinations
before being microchipped.
- THE UK'S LARGEST REUNIFICATION DATABASE The official UK
database known as Petlog
is run by the UK Kennel Club and are based in Aylesbury. Petlog has a
database of over 3 million animals residing in the UK. The most common
being dogs and cats… but there are also rabbits, ferrets, horses,
birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, even an elephant!! They have
one 24/7 telephone number - 0870 6066 751. When calling Petlog, you
must first select the category you are enquiring about (lost pet -
found pet etc), and then you are put through to a human being -
thankfully not a frustrating call centre abroad. Everything
revolves around the microchip number so make sure you have that to hand
before you call Petlog. Other databases do exist in the UK, but they
are small in comparison (or held overseas) and are mainly dedicated to
a particular brand of microchip. In our opinion, that makes them
virtually useless, because they offer a limited service and their
contact numbers are not familiar to the very people who use them on a
regular basis i.e. dog wardens, vets, police, rescues etc. It's
also important to know that Petlog are part of EuroPetNet. This
connects several European databases together - so even if your pet is
lost whilst you're on holiday in France or Spain or another European
country, you still have a good chance of being reunited with it. This
is all included in the Petlog one-off registration fee. The other
databases may not be a signatory to EuroPetNet. Another source of
linking world-wide databases can be found at www.petmaxx.com and is a FREE
on-line microchip DATABASE LOCATOR - just type in the microchip number
and it will show you the name and contact number of the database that
particular microchip is registered with.
The above information is simply informational. It's intent is
not to replace the advice of a veterinarian nor to assist you in making
a diagnosis of your pet. Please consult with your own veterinarian for
confirmation of any diagnosis. Your pets life may depend on it.