Covid-19 update April 2021: Our rehoming centres are currently closed to the public for general browsing. We’re still rehoming virtually and we’re here to help if you can no longer care for your dog. Please don’t visit, or travel to our centres unless you have already been matched with a dog, or are leaving donations at one of our contact-free drop off points.

Dogs Trust Q&A: Microchipping

Microchipping will become compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales on 6th April. All dog owners must ensure that their dog is microchipped, and their contact details on their dog's microchip are up to date.

What is microchipping and why is it important?

A microchip is a small electronic chip around the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under the dog's skin, and contains a unique number that can be read by a scanner. The dog keeper's contact details relating to each number are logged on a central database, so should the dog ever go missing or be stolen, he can be scanned by local authorities and returned to his keeper swiftly and safely. It is vital that the keeper takes responsibility for updating their details with the database should their circumstances change.

Why and when is the law changing?

By 6th April, every keeper in England, Wales and Scotland must have their dog microchipped and ensure the registered details are kept up to date, or risk a fine of up to £500. Dogs Trust has long campaigned for this law change and sees microchipping as a vital part of responsible dog ownership. A microchip, which cannot easily be removed increases the likelihood that a lost, stolen or straying dog can be identified and returned to its owner. 

How do you microchip your dog? Is it the same for both a puppy and older dogs?

Yes, the microchipping process is the same no matter the size, or breed of dog. A microchip, which is about the same size as a grain of rice is quickly and easily inserted under the skin of the dog, between their shoulder blades. There are smaller chips available for little dogs.

Where is my information stored? How will it help my dog be returned to me?

The unique number on your dog's microchip is logged to a central database, along with the registered keeper's and dog's details. If a stray dog is found, the dog warden or veterinary practice will scan the dog and then contact the database to obtain the keeper's details, allowing the dog to be reunited with the keeper swiftly and easily.

Dogs Trust wants to help as many people as possible to comply with the new law by providing chipping free of charge. Simply visit our Chip My Dog website to find details of your nearest Dogs Trust rehoming centre, local events or participating councils.

Will it hurt my dog?

No anaesthetic is required, and the procedure should cause no more discomfort than a standard vaccination.

Do I have to pay to update my details?

You may have to pay a fee every time you amend your contact details to the database. Most databases offer a premium service which often works out cheaper over the course of your dog’s life. Check with your provider for more details. Visit Chip my Dog to find out how to update your details.

How much does a microchip cost? Are there any schemes running to help with payment?

Dogs Trust will continue to provide free microchipping through booked appointments at all of our rehoming centres, after 6th April. Some local councils will microchip dogs free of charge. Your veterinary practice will also be able to microchip your dog, but this may be for a small charge.

Where and how can I get my dog microchipped, or update my details?

Click here for details of local events, your nearest rehoming centre and participating vets.

I don't know which database I'm on. How can I find out?

It's important you know which microchipping database your pet is registered to in the UK. Click here to find out which database you are on. If you don't know your microchip number, you can find out by having the chip scanned. You can find details of scanning locations and participating vets, here.

I want to protect my identity, so don't want to microchip my dog.

When you microchip your dog, your details are stored safely with the database provider and would never be shared.

What could happen if you don't get your dog microchipped?

Keepers who fail to chip their dogs or ensure that their registered details are kept up to date risk receiving a fine of up to £500.

Does microchipping replace the existing collar and tag law?

No, your dog will still need to wear a collar and tag that states the current name and address of their owner, when in a public place.

How will microchipping be enforced?

Local Authorities and the Police will have the power to enforce this new law.

Click here to find out more about microchipping, or here for details of microchipping events happening near you, your nearest Dogs Trust rehoming centre and local participating vets.