Discovering your pet is missing can be devastating – and with the rise in pet theft and numbers of strays, it is a real concern. With a microchip, your missing pet can be quickly identified on a central computer database, which securely holds your contact details.

It’s by far the most effective way of reuniting lost pets with their owners. Microchips are compulsory for dogs in England and Wales, but at Garden Veterinary Group we strongly recommend all pets be microchipped.

Microchipping and the law: what you need to know

  • Microchipping has been a legal requirement for dogs in England and Wales since 2016.
  • Puppies must be chipped from the age of eight weeks, a responsibility which will in most cases fall to the breeder. If you are buying a puppy, make sure you receive the relevant microchipping documents, which you will need for updating the database with your details.
  • If you do not comply with the law, you may be liable to a fine of up to £500. If your dog goes missing and is picked up by a dog warden, they may microchip your pet at your expense. Failure to pay a fine may result in criminal prosecution.


What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which is injected under your pet’s skin, at the back of the neck. It contains a unique number that can be read using a scanner and checked against a central database that contains your contact details. For smaller animals, mini microchips can be implanted with a smaller needle.

Does microchipping hurt?

No. The procedure is quick, simple and pain-free, and does not require any anaesthetic.

How long does a microchip last for?

A microchip will last for the life of your pet – hence why it is so much more effective as a method of identification than tags and collars, which can be lost or require replacing.

What if I move house?

You will need to update your details on the database connected with your microchip. There may be a charge for this.

What do I do if my pet is lost or stolen?

Phone your database company immediately. They will flag your details so that if your pet is found and scanned, you will be contacted straight away.