Microchipping increases the likelihood that you will be reunited with your dog or cat if it gets lost or runs away. It also enables vets and emergency services to locate owners, including in the event of a road accident or other fatality.
Microchipping is a relatively simple and painless procedure. A small chip is injected under the skin, typically around the back of the neck. Details are then registered with a microchip registry, and vets and emergency services can scan the pet to find the chip. Upon finding the chip and being presented with a chip ID number, the details can be cross-referenced to determine the pet’s owner.
The service is available free of charge with some charities and organisations, but the average cost of the procedure with a vet or other trained professional is £10. In some locations and at some vets, you can expect to pay up to £20.
There is no ongoing registration or other costs, but you may need to pay an admin fee to change your address or other details with the registry. Some breeders have accounts with registries that mean they can transfer details on behalf of the new owner, in which case the microchipping is included as part of the cost of purchasing the pet.
Microchipping: One-Time Costs
There are several ways that owners can get their pets microchipped free of charge. Certain organisations and charities offer free microchipping. While some offer free chipping to low-income pet owners and people in receipt of certain benefits, some offer it free of charge to all pet owners.
If a breeder is a member of certain registries and has a professional registry account, they may be able to transfer the details of the pet to the new owner free of charge. Finally, pop-up chipping stations and chipping drives are run fairly regularly which will allow owners to take their pets and have them chipped for free.
- £8 – £20
Where free microchipping isn’t available, it costs between £8 and £20 from a vet, some groomers, and other trained and skilled professionals. The typical price is £10, and this is for cats and dogs of any size or age.
The chip should last a lifetime, which means that this is a one-off charge and shouldn’t need repeating even as your pet ages.
- £15 – £30
In most cases, vets and other professionals install a basic microchip. However, some services offer an upgraded Biotherm microchip. Where a basic chip is used solely for identification, a Biotherm chip measures the pet’s temperature, as well.
The vet can scan the chip and determine the animal’s temperature without having to take the temperature rectally or using any other method. These typically cost between £15 and £30, with £20 being the average price.
How Much Does a Microchip Cost Per Month?
Pet microchips are designed to last a lifetime, which means that they should never need replacing. What’s more, once the details are registered with a reputable registry, there should be no need to pay any ongoing fees, although some services do charge if you need to change your address or other details.
- £5 – £20
The only time you should expect to pay for your microchip is if you need to change address details. Your pet’s microchip details must be kept up to date, otherwise, it will take time for you to be reunited if your pet gets lost.
This is especially important after you move because your cat or dog may not be able to easily find its way home if it gets out. Most registries charge an admin fee, which is usually around £10 but can vary from as little as £5 to as much as £20.
Why Get Your Pet Microchipped?
Unfortunately, pets do go missing. Whether you have an indoor cat that manages to escape through an open window or a dog that likes to roam when your back is turned, if your pet goes missing, a microchip with up-to-date personal details makes it easier to reunite you.
Stray dogs and cats can be scanned by vets, the police, and some groomers. The details can be checked against chip registries, and the owner identified and contacted.
If your pet is unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, a chip may be the only way that you can be found, removing the heartache of never knowing what happened.
Do Cats and Dogs Have to Be Microchipped?
Currently, it is a legal requirement that dogs be microchipped by the time they reach 8 weeks of age. Typically, this means that it is actually a breeder’s responsibility to ensure that their dogs are chipped before they are sold.
Check this is the case and ensure that you update the details as soon as possible. There are currently no legal requirements to chip cats, but proposals have been put forward to change the law to match the regulations for dog chipping.
Should You Microchip an Indoor Cat?
Cats are intelligent animals that are agile and athletic. They can escape through open windows or doors. If your indoor cat does escape, because it has less experience of going out, it will likely find it more difficult to get home than an outdoor cat would. It is generally a very good idea to have an indoor cat chipped, to give you peace of mind.
How Long Do Microchips Last?
Microchips are designed to last a lifetime. A microchip rarely stops working or breaks down. You can have your vet check the chip when you take your pet for any procedures or regular check-ups. Your groomer may also be able to check for you.
Is Microchipping Painful?
The microchip is small and is placed under the skin by injection. The procedure itself is no more painful than any other injection, so as long as your cat or dog is comfortable with injections, they will be comfortable with the chip insertion. Once the chip is installed, your dog or cat won’t be able to feel the microchip.
Saving Money on Microchipping
Microchipping is an inexpensive procedure, but there are ways that you can save money on the cost. First of all, if you are buying a new cat or dog, ensure that it is chipped before you take it home. Dog breeders should chip their dogs because it is a legal requirement that dogs are chipped and registered before they reach 8 weeks of age.
Alternatively, look for a service, typically a pet charity, that offers free microchipping. Some offer free chipping for those on a low income, while others offer free chipping for all cats and dogs.
Microchipping is the simplest and most effective way to ensure that a lost cat or dog is reunited with its owner quickly. Vets and emergency services have access to scanners that can detect a chip and retrieve the chip number. The chip number then provides contact details for the pet’s owner, enabling them to be returned.
Chipping is available free of charge from several groups and charities, but if you do need to pay you can expect to pay around £10 for the process. The price is the same for cats and dogs, regardless of their size, breed, or other features.
There are no monthly or annual fees to maintain the chip, but you may need to pay a £10 admin fee to change address details if you move. There are more advanced Biotherm chips, which cost around £20 to install, and these measure and monitor the animal’s temperature, as well as being used for identification.