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Average Cost to Microchip a Cat or Dog in the UK: 2024 Price Guide

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

vet checking microchip implant of dog

Average Cost to Microchip a Cat or Dog in the UK: 2024 Price Guide

It is currently a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped, and a similar law is being introduced for cats. Beyond the legality, microchipping a pet helps ensure that it is found and returned more quickly if the pet goes missing. The procedure is generally painless and only takes a few seconds, and while typical costs range from £10 to £30, there are some centres and vets that will complete the procedure for free if owners meet certain criteria.

Read on to find out more about microchipping cats and dogs, and to determine how much the procedure costs.

The Importance of Microchipping Cats and Dogs

It is the law that all dogs must be microchipped by the time they reach 8 weeks of age. Owners of dogs with no microchip can face a fine of up to £500. Similar laws were introduced for cats and cat owners in 2023.

There are some exceptions to this law. If a vet believes that a dog should not be microchipped for health reasons, they can certify that there is no need for microchipping. This may be the case for some small breeds like Chihuahuas, in which case the vet will certify that the dog does not need to be microchipped until it is older. You will need a certification from the vet and if you are buying a puppy from a breeder, they should either provide microchip registration details or a relevant vet certification.

As well as being a legal requirement, in some instances, it can also help you to be reunited with your pet if it gets lost or runs away.

During the procedure, a microchip is placed under the pet’s skin. The microchip is then registered to the pet’s owner and includes their contact details. Using a scanner, vets, rescue centres, and some other professionals can scan the cat or dog and find the microchip serial number. This serial number is then checked against the chip company’s database and the owner can be contacted. Typically, having a chip means that a lost dog or cat can be reunited with its owner within a few hours. If a cat or dog has no microchip, it can take weeks or even months of advertising and searching, oftentimes being unfruitful for the owners.

If the worst happens and your cat or dog is killed in a road accident, for example, it also makes identification of the animal easier.

cat microchip getting scanned at vet
Image by: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

How Much Does Microchipping Cost?

The cost of microchipping a pet varies according to where you live and where you take your pet for chipping. Generally, it costs roughly the same for dogs as it does for cats and varies from £10 to £30. £15 is the typical price that owners pay, and the procedure can be done when a pet is being spayed or neutered or when they are getting vaccinated.

Vets and animal charities believe microchipping is extremely important, so some do offer low-cost or even free chipping. While some charities offer free chipping for low-income households, there are those that chip all dogs and cats free. Battersea Dog’s Home, for example, will microchip dogs for free.

If you adopt a cat or dog from a rescue centre, the centre will likely chip the pet before it leaves. And, because the law requires that dogs be chipped by the time they are 8 weeks old, this means that breeders should have microchipped a puppy before it leaves their kennel.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

Microchipping is a quick procedure. It doesn’t require any specific aftercare, although you should keep an eye on the injection site for a few days afterward. The simplicity of the operation means that you don’t need any medication or other potentially costly supplies after the procedure.

vet examining cat and dog
Image By: FamVeld, Shutterstock

Cost of Registration

The microchip must be registered with a pet database, and there may be a registration charge to pay when you first get your pet chipped. This fee is usually around £10 or less.

If you have bought your pet from a breeder, they may have a basic account, which means that you will have to pay the administration fee to change the registration to your details. Again, the cost of this is usually around £10.

Finally, you will need to pay an administrative charge if you move addresses or need to change any other details. A fee of £10 is common.

Do Microchips Ever Need Replacing?

The microchip will usually last the lifetime of your pet, but there are occasions when this may not be true, and you may need to get your pet re-chipped.

Chip migration is very rare but can occur when the microchip moves from the spot it was inserted, usually at the scruff of the neck, to another area of the body. While it might still be possible to locate and scan the chip, most vets and wardens scan the neck area and may not check the whole body. In this case, getting the dog or cat re-chipped is beneficial and the cost will be similar to the initial microchipping cost.

Even more rarely, a microchip may be faulty or stop working. This really is extremely rare, and it is more likely that a faulty scanner has failed to detect the chip in the first place. However, if it does happen, re-chipping will be necessary to ensure that your pet is registered.

If you are moving abroad, it may be necessary to have a new microchip once you reach your new destination. The cost will vary and will be determined by how much the procedure costs in your new location.

persian cat checked by vet.
Image by: 135pixels, Shutterstock

Does Pet Insurance Cover Microchipping?

Typically, pet insurance does not cover microchipping. Pet insurance usually protects against unexpected injuries and illness, neither of which covers microchipping. However, some insurance policies do include wellness or preventive care, and this can include microchipping.

If your pet insurance does not include these features, you can take out a separate policy that does. Some vets also offer similar wellness packages that cover the cost of microchipping as well as routine treatment including flea treatment, worming, and vaccinations.

Check your insurance policy details. If you do have a wellness package and aren’t taking advantage of it, you could be losing out.

Is the Procedure Painful?

A pet microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and this is injected under the pet’s skin, typically at the scruff of the neck. Microchips are implanted in the same spot on all animals to make it easier to locate them when scanning lost pets. The procedure takes a few seconds and is generally painless, but it does involve a needle. Some pets can take injections and barely notice, others may find the experience uncomfortable, and some may get stressed and anxious whenever they are at a vet’s surgery.

The procedure is simple, but it should be undertaken by a qualified professional. If you use a groomer, ensure they are qualified.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03 Conclusion

Pet microchipping helps ensure that lost pets are reunited with their owners quickly and relatively effortlessly. It is a legal requirement that dogs are microchipped before they reach eight weeks of age, and similar laws are starting to be introduced for cats. The procedure costs around £15 and, if you move house or need to change any other details associated with your pet’s microchip, you may be charged an administration fee of around £10.

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Featured Image Credit: olgagorovenko, Shutterstock

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