If you’re the owner of a lovable pooch, you’ll probably know whether they’ve been microchipped. This tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is usually inserted into the scruff of your dog’s neck when they’re a puppy, and contains important identification details so they can be returned to you should they ever get lost.
However, there seems to be a widespread knowledge gap regarding microchipping - ranging from what’s expected of you as a pet owner, to the vast number of UK pet databases your lovely pet could be listed on.
As Monday 15th August is Check The Chip Day, we’re here to give you the lowdown on all things pet chipping. By the end of the article you’ll hopefully feel empowered with the right information to keep your pet’s microchip up to date - and to choose a first-rate pet database that does everything possible to keep your pet safe.
Every pet in the UK needs to be chipped, from dogs, cats, horses, rabbits - even lizards and tortoises. Microchipping for dogs by the time they’re eight weeks old became compulsory in 2016, and the same law for cats comes in 2023. Chipping is usually done by a vet and takes seconds to do; in fact, if you picked up your pet from a breeder or rescue centre, they legally should have been chipped already.
It’s also compulsory to keep your pet’s details up to date - you risk a hefty fine of £500 if you fail to do so. The thing is, plenty of pet owners aren’t aware of this; many don’t know where their pet’s information is even stored, and those that do are often shocked to find that most pet database providers charge steep admin fees for making changes.
So right now, there are multiple blockers in the pet chipping industry that ultimately discourage missing pets from being found. There are a few key steps you can take to combat this and keep your pet safe.
Do you know who your pet is listed with? There are 17 pet databases in the UK alone that are registered by DEFRA, so that’s a lot of places to check if you aren’t sure - and even more confusing if you have a number of pets assigned to different databases!
Being DEFRA registered means they have to maintain their records, answer requests at all times and back up their data daily, but even the ‘top’ UK pet database brands such as Petlog have received a bunch of negative press over the years - for everything from losing the data of millions of beloved pets, to charging a premium to pet owners for simply changing their details.
According to research conducted by Tailster, 35% of pet owners have no idea who their pet is registered with. To find out, you can start by getting their chip checked.
Is your dog or cat prancing around with a useless chip? Your pet’s details are as important as any other identification records in your life - so learn how to check your pet’s microchip to be sure their information is up to date.
When your perfect pooch bounded onto the scene, you should have received a confirmation letter or email with their chip information and ID number. If you’ve misplaced this, don’t worry - you can check your pet’s chip by taking them to the vet for a quick scan.
Once you have your pet’s 15 digit ID number and the adjoining database information, keep a copy safe, as you’ll then be able to check your pet’s details whenever you like using an online chip checker.
All DEFRA compliant databases should have a chip checker on their site, so once you have your pet’s ID number, you only have to enter it into the homepage of a compliant database, such as Pet Database, to find out for certain where your pooch’s details are stored.
It’s the law to keep your pet’s details up to date, and it’s in your own interests - you don’t want your missing dog being returned to the wrong house!
Despite this, 22% of pet owners who have moved home admit they didn’t update their pet’s records when they did so. Combined with more than a third who said they didn’t know who their pet was registered with, that’s a lot of dated doggie details floating around in the ether.
Moving house is full of overwhelming admin and documentation, but remember - your pet is changing addresses too. Inform your pet database whenever you move home, your phone number changes or if your pet passes away; your pet’s records should reflect their current situation, just like for any precious member of your family.
As mentioned, most pet database providers charge pet owners steep admin fees to make simple but crucial changes to their details - this shouldn’t be the case!
That’s why Pooch & Mutt are supporting PetDatabase.com, which offers a new, more helpful way of storing your pet’s chip details - one that doesn’t include the pesky fees charged by the ‘top dogs’ of the chipping industry.
Unlike the standard in the UK right now, PetDatabase.com believes in putting pets and their owners before profit.
With 12 million dogs and 12 million cats currently residing in the UK, we believe pet chipping can be done better, and it’s about time, too. Now that you’re fully in the know over how to check your pet’s chip and keep it updated, sign up to PetDatabase.com to learn more about how they keep your adored animals safe and found.
*Research from a 2021 survey of 1400 dog and cat owners