Over 5 million pets are not microchipped, says PDSA

June is National Microchip Month and PDSA reveal that over five million pets in the UK are not microchipped, despite it being a legal requirement for dogs.

Microchipping is the best way of permanently identifying your pet and can increase the chances of you being reunited should the worst ever happen.

However, research in the latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report revealed that 800,000 dogs (9%), 3.6 million cats (32%) and 810,000 rabbits (81%) in the UK aren’t microchipped.

Vets and animal charities strongly recommend microchipping to help track down your pet if they ever get separated from you, no matter what their species.

Dogs and indoor cats can escape and stray, while outdoor cats like to wander and its easy for them to get lost if they become frightened or get inside a vehicle by accident. Rabbits and small pets are also notorious escape artists, so getting them microchipped will help if they are found. Even unusual pets like reptiles and birds can be microchipped.

PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “A collar or tag can fall off or be removed, but a microchip is a more permanent way to identify your pet and keep them safe. Microchipping is the best way of being reunited with your pet if they ever go missing, are stolen or stray, so we would always recommend getting your pets microchipped. For dogs, it’s also a legal requirement.”

The law currently only covers dogs and states that:

  • Your dog must wear a collar and tag with your contact details on when in public
  • Any dog over eight weeks old must be microchipped

Owner details should be kept up-to-date with the microchip database – this will increase the likelihood of being reunited if anything were to happen to your beloved pet.

Olivia added: “It’s not good having a chip with out-of-date information, as then we still can’t get in touch if your pet is found as a stray. So, it’s important to keep your details up-to-date, for example when you change phone number or move house.”

PDSA tackle some myths about microchipping:

“It will hurt my pet”

Microchipping is usually done when pets are awake as it’s quick and most pets barely notice. Microchipping is a simple and quick procedure and if they do notice it, it’s just the discomfort of a sharp scratch as the needle goes in, which is over in an instant. Some animals won’t even blink an eye while others might complain a little. A little distraction like a treat will go a long way helping them forget about it.

“Microchipping is expensive”

The cost of having your pet microchipped varies, but most vets will only charge a small fee. There may be charities or events in your local area offering microchipping at a reduced cost or even free.

“My details aren’t safe”

Your details will be held securely by the database and they have to adhere to data protection laws. Information they hold would include your name, address, phone numbers and details of your pet. Only approved organisations can access your details (this would include veterinary staff, dog wardens and rescue centres), and they would typically only look up your details if you asked to check them or if your pet was presented to them as a stray.

As well as offering microchipping for eligible pet owners at our hospitals, PDSA also offer microchipping to all dog owners as part of our PetWise on Tour community visits. For more information please visit www.pdsa.org.uk/microchip.