Chapter 5

How much does it cost to microchip a dog or cat?

The price of implanting a microchip in your dog or cat can vary from one veterinary clinic to another. In this article we give you the standard price ranges as well as the factors influencing the final price of the operation.

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A Pet ID Tag or collar with the owner’s name and address on it are a good way to ensure the safe return or urgent medical care your pet may need. But they can get lost or become illegible. Conversely, a microchip is a permanent and safe way to identify your pet.

Since April 2016, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales must be microchipped. As a result, this form of identification can only be carried out by veterinarians, as the implantation of the microchip becomes an act of veterinary medicine. The process involves inserting a needle that implants the chip under the skin.

How much does microchipping a pet cost?

Average cost for dog microchipping

In the UK you can expect to pay anywhere between £9 and £20, depending on where you live. On average, however, the costs are in the region of £14.50. This initial fee pays for the implantation of the microchip and initial registration.

Rescue centres, vets and charities occasionally have special offers or even provide the service for free on certain days. Otherwise, you can check with your local RSPCA to find out if you qualify to have your dog microchipped at a reduced fee.

To encourage pet owners to microchip their dogs, many animal shelters and UK charities like Battersea Dogs & Cats, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust offer free microchipping for dogs.

While anyone can get a free microchip for dogs from Battersea Dogs & Cats and Dogs Trust, only people who meet means-tested conditions and live in a catchment area can get free microchips from the Blue Cross.

There may be a charity or event running in your local area offering microchipping at a reduced cost or even free.

Average cost for cat microchipping

For cats, microchipping is not a legal requirement. However, it is advisable if you want to ensure the safety of your furry feline.

And it doesn't cost much, with the average price being £15-20.

Reasons why owners refuse to microchip their pet

Financial reasons are a barrier to animal identification

The economic argument is very often invoked when an owner hesitates or refuses to have his animal identified. Most owners pay for consultations to have their animals treated without complaint. But when they have to pay for a procedure that has no impact on their daily life, they don't see the point.

But this is taking the problem in the wrong direction because identification protects the animals and their owners from a brutal and often definitive separation when the animals get lost.

Moreover, microchips are designed to work for 25 years. It is therefore a sustainable investment.

The confusion between pedigree and identification

Confusion between pedigree and identification is also the reason why some pets are not identified. Some owners mistakenly think that origin and breed go hand in hand with identification. This is not the case!

Identification gives an official existence to all domestic animals without exception. This includes pedigree dogs and cats, cats and dogs of a racial type but also all European cats and crossbred dogs.

The feeling of depriving cats of their freedom.

It is no coincidence that cats have the largest population of unidentified individuals. The confusion between the identification chip and the GPS chip is persistent. When a feline goes out, it goes back and forth to cover its territory. Some cat owners think that implanting a cat means taking away some of its freedom.

However, the microchip is not a GPS chip, it does not have the same technology. This is because the microchip is actually an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) chip that is not intended to track but rather to contain information that is visible to a chip reader.

However, even if this microchip does not have the capacity to indicate the cat's whereabouts, it provides a precious help to the owner in his search when his four-legged friend does not come home as usual.

Ignorance of the law

From the above, it appears that many pet owners are unaware of the legal requirement to have their dog identified. You must get your pet microchipped before, or at the same time as their rabies vaccination.

But what is the fine for not chipping your dog? Owners who fail to microchip their dogs and register them on an approved database are liable to a fine of up to £500. The owner must make sure that his dog is registered on one of the databases approved by the government.

The only exception to this law for pet dogs is those whom a vet beliefs should not be microchipped for health reasons. It is also the keeper's responsibility to keep their contact details up to date on the database should their details change. Thousands of dog owners may never be reunited with their pets after failing to update their details associated with their pet’s chip number.

Pet microchip databases usually charge a fee of between £6 and £20 to change and update your dog's data. Some will charge you every time you want to change your data, others will charge an upfront fee that covers all changes throughout your dog's life.

If you rehome your dog to someone else, you must give the new owner the correct microchip registration paperwork so that they can contact the database and register as the dog’s new owner.

While it is always possible to give an average price of a microchip implant, it is however difficult to establish an exact price, as the price of identification is often diluted in the overall price of the consultation and varies according to the area.

Examining the veterinary surgeon's fees or requesting an estimate will give the owner a more accurate view of the expenses he will have to plan for the identification of his cat or dog. And if any questions remain, the owner should not hesitate to talk about them, as the veterinarian's role is as much to care for the animal as to advise the owner.

Read the rest of our guide

This article is part of a complete guide on the subject. Do not miss the next chapter: Implant or GPS chip, how to choose?

Find the previous chapter by clicking here: How to change pet microchip details?

Find here our complete guide on identification.