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Microchipping your pet

Microchipping your dog

Microchipping your dog is a legal requirement in the UK and makes it easier to get your pooch back to you if they’re lost. Explore the benefits, the process and more below.

Why should you get your dog microchipped?

Getting your dog microchipped is a safe and simple procedure that can help get your four-legged friend back if they’re ever lost or stolen. 

Microchipping your dog is compulsory under UK law, and provided you keep your details up to date, it means you should be contactable if your pet is ever lost. While collars or ID tags can also be used for identification, microchips sit under the skin and last for life. 

Pet insurance doesn’t cover the cost of microchipping your dog – but it’s still a worthwhile precaution for any pet parent. And if your pet does go missing, we can always help out in other ways. 

What happens when you microchip your dog?

The microchip that goes in your dog is tiny. Size-wise, it’s as small as a grain of rice and is injected with minimal pain under your dog’s skin to help identify them if they’re ever lost or stolen.

Each microchip has its own one-off code, which links through to a file on a database – this file contains your contact details and important information about your pet.

If your lost pet is found and handed in to a vet or rescue centre, a professional can scan your dog’s microchip to find your details.

The rules around microchipping your dog

Since early 2016, all dogs over eight weeks old in the UK are required by law to be microchipped. If you don’t microchip your dog by the time it’s eight weeks old, you could face a fine of up to £500.

As well as microchipping your dog, it’s also a legal requirement to register the microchip number and your details on a government-approved database.

In Northern Ireland microchipping your dog is one of the conditions of your dog licence.

Where can you get your dog microchipped?

A number of pet health professionals and organisations can microchip your pet, including:

  • Your local vet
  • Animal wardens
  • Local councils
  • Pet shops
  • Welfare centres and charities

How much is microchipping a dog?

The cost for microchipping a dog can vary – but you’ll typically pay between £10 and £30.

Some vets will include microchipping as part of their health plans, and some animal charities and organisations will even microchip your dog for free, including:

  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
  • Blue Cross
  • Dogs Trust

How is a microchip fitted?

Getting a microchip fitted should be quick and pain-free for your dog. The chip is placed underneath your dog’s skin, usually on the back of its neck just behind their shoulder blade.

Once the microchip is fitted, it shouldn’t ever move or bother your dog at all.

What details are included on a microchip?

Each microchip links through to a government-approved database, which contains important and useful information about you and your dog. This could include:

  • Your name
  • Home address
  • Telephone number
  • Emergency contact number
  • License number of a breeder (if applicable)
  • Your vet's contact details
  • Information about your dog’s health, for example, allergies, dietary requirements, and behavioural traits
  • Your dog’s name, date of birth, and gender

It’s you that’s responsible for keeping your dog’s microchip information up to date. So if you ever make any changes, for example moving home or changing your telephone number, it’s important to update your details.

Your pet insurance and microchipping

Although our pet insurance doesn’t cover the cost of microchipping your dog, we can still help protect your pooch.

It’s important for insurance purposes that your dog is microchipped, as there are certain circumstances where we won’t pay out if it’s not.

Finding your lost or stolen dog

If your dog has gone missing, we’ll reimburse you for any advertising expenses or rewards you’ve paid for to try and find them. The amount we’ll pay depends on your policy.

If you’ve lost your dog and you’re unable to find them at all, we’ll reimburse the price you paid for them – up to the limit set out in your certificate of insurance. 

If your dog goes missing and isn’t microchipped in accordance with the legal requirement, we won’t pay out on your pet insurance.

Quarantine and travel document costs

If you’re on holiday and your dog’s microchip has failed, meaning they can’t return to the UK or must be quarantined on return to the UK, we’re here to help.

We’ll help cover the costs up to the policy limits of:

  • Keeping your dog in quarantine
  • Getting duplicate travel documents

We will not cover the above costs if your dog’s microchip:

  • Doesn’t meet ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 standards
  • Wasn’t checked or functioning properly before you departed on your trip

Frequently asked questions

What is the best age to microchip a dog?

In short, as soon as possible. All dogs are legally required to be microchipped before they’re eight weeks old, so the sooner the better. If you’re buying a puppy or rescuing an older dog, they should already be microchipped. If you come into ownership of a dog, a vet will be able to tell you if they’re microchipped and be able to microchip your dog if not.

Is microchipping a dog worth it?

The cost for microchipping a dog is roughly £10 - £30. The fine for not microchipping your dog can be £500. Unless there are legitimate medical reasons, you’re legally required to microchip your four-legged friend. Legality aside, a microchip also provides a way of contacting you should your dog ever become lost.

Is it illegal to buy a dog without a microchip?

Microchipping a dog is the responsibility of the seller. A responsible breeder will be happy to microchip a dog and should be able to provide you with the details.

Helpful dog guides

Our handy guides can help keep your dog safe and help find them if they ever go missing.

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Ready to protect your dog?

If you’d like to get a quote for your pet insurance, you can get started right away. If you’re ready, we’re ready.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance is provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc.


Need to talk to us?

Call 0344 543 1032

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Important information

Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.

Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.