Already we are making changes, including financially, to our lives because of the living crisis. One unwanted expenditure is paying around £20 to update our pet’s microchip with a new address or mobile number, activating a missing pet service, or paying a one-off fee to register a microchip. These are all costs we do not need right now; after all, we’ve already paid for the microchip implantation. Don’t forget, in 2023 your cat has to be microchipped by law too.
Unfortunately, databases charge to register or update contact details – the highest is over £30. I suspect some 63% of stray dogs with out-of-date details have owners who could not afford to change microchip details. Furthermore, I expect the figure to increase next year.
As pet owners, it is easy to believe we will never lose our pets, but it can happen. If contact details are not current, how can we be reunited with them? Usually, found dogs, for example, serve seven days in the pound, then are transferred to a rescue (or euthanised if the council pound does not have rescue backup). The rescue then advertises that pet for adoption if unclaimed.
Two FREE options exist to update microchip details and activate your pet’s lost pet profile so alerts are sent to animal professionals.
How many U.K. microchip databases are there?
The databases below are taken from the U.K.’s government website; there are 19 companies. The databases below meet government standards, so you must ensure your pet is registered with a legitimate microchip database. If it isn’t, what is happening to your data? It’s probably being sold.
If you join a microchip database not listed below, you can be fined up to £500. And another consideration is – your data could be sold.
You must use a microchip database listed below
|Animal Microchips||Animal Tracker||Chipworks||Identibase||MicroChipCentral|
|MicroDogID||My Animal Trace||My Pet||National Veterinary Data Service||Pet Chip Register|
|Pet Database||Pet Identity UK||Petlog||PetScanner||ProtectedPet|
|SmartTrace||Track Your Paws||UK PETtrac MicroChip Database||We Trace Pets|
Next, we must consider which companies do not charge to update personal information or activate the lost pet service.
How do I know which microchip company my pet is registered with?
If you are unsure which database your pet’s chip is registered to, there is an easy way to find out, and it’s free.
Visit Check a Chip and type in the microchip number. It will display the microchip database your pet is currently registered to. You may have paid for the microchip implantation but must register the chip. If you do not register the chip, you won’t be reunited with your missing pet because your contact details won’t be assigned to your pet.
Does it cost to change details on a microchip?
I went through every single database mentioned above. Animal Microchips and Pet Database were the only two companies that did not charge and offered a free service.
Some databases charge to upgrade to allow you to update details. Others charge to register the microchip after implant.
Before your pet is microchipped, ask your professional implanter which company they use and then look at their charges.
|Database||Free Contact Detail Update?||Free Lost Pet Activation|
|Animal Microchips ***||Yes||Unknown|
|Pet Database||Yes||Yes, although Social Media links do not highlight it’s a missing pet|
***Animal Microchips do not charge to amend contact details. Please get in touch with them to check if they charge a registration fee to join.
How to change microchip details for free?
This is what I did.
I registered Tabitha (my cat) and Teddy (Dave’s dog) with Pet Database. I learned of Pet Database when Jayne, owner of Dog Lost UK, telephoned me because I was publishing the faces of missing pets in my column in an East Yorkshire newspaper (hard copy format).
I will use Pet Database as an example.
If your pet is missing, you can still transfer the data and activate the missing pet service for free.
1: Click on Sign Up and enter your personal information.
2: Next enter details for each pet (**click edit to access information):
- Pet’s name
- Microchip number **
- Pet Type
- Vets postcode **
- Your vet’s address **
- Neutered or spayed
- Colours or markings
- Any existing conditions (include any health issues and medication and dosage here)
3: Go to My Account, and ensure the following is entered:
- Your full name
- Email address
- Primary contact number
- Secondary contact number
- Primary address
- Secondary address
- Two emergency contacts (don’t forget to include any Rescue Back Up)
4: Your contact details are now updated with Pet Database, but the microchip is still registered with the original company until the chip transfer is concluded. However, your pet is protected with Pet Database.
- Discount codes
- Budget-friendly pet products: cut costs
- Dogs & cats featured in the Withernsea District & Community News
- Tips to raise money & rethink purchases
- Raise money to pay for pet care
- 10 Items to keep your pets warm in winter
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- DogLost UK article coming April 2023
How do I transfer my pet’s microchip to another database?
Pet Database did it all for me.
I had to authorise the transfer from PetLog to Pet Database for Tabitha, and Dave had to authorise the transfer from IdentiBase. It wasn’t easy contacting PetLog in whatever option I selected, despite receiving an email to telephone them to authorise data transfer. Instead, I found a section on their website to give my authorisation, but it isn’t easy to find. Dave telephoned IdentiBase and approved verbally.
Pet Database kept me up to date throughout the process. They verify the details you supply against information stored with the original database. This is for any anomalies. They also state that your current database cannot charge you to leave.
Be assured that throughout the transfer, your pet is covered by both until the transfer is complete. And you have the peace of mind of knowing it’s FREE, and should your pet go missing, you will be reunited when the chip is scanned and contacted.
Tip: ask your vet or nurse to scan the chip at each visit. This is to check the chip is still active (My Molly’s chip malfunctioned). Chips can also leave the body and can move to another body part. (eg the leg).
Pet Database microchip scan tested: I scanned Tabitha’s microchip with my Angel scanner and received an email alert that she had been scanned. Furthermore, I used the Check a Chip, which confirmed that she is registered with Pet Database, and I received an alert that her chip number had been checked. These results were backed up on her account.
Read more about Pet Database and How It Works
Read more about Animal Microchips
Will a SmartTag help me find my pet, and is the tag worth the money?
The Smart Tag is available today. It is a modern ID tag with a QR code and a unique reference for your pet. Scanning the QR with a mobile phone camera gives the finder the owner’s contact details.
You can buy other types of Smart Tags on Amazon. Some charge a monthly fee; others, like Pet Database, charge a one-off fee. Pet Database’s Smart Tag is optional and not compulsory, and the cost is £6.99 plus £2.99 for postage.
I purchased a SmartTag from Pet Database for Tabitha even though she is an indoor cat but she goes into the garden supervised because she is blind and deaf.
I tested the SmartTag and never received the promise pings that alerts me my cat has been found. I contacted Pet Database; the company was having a technical issue that was being worked on. Over two days I have received three SMS alerts saying Tabitha’s tag has been scanned. It hadn’t.
Eventually, I returned the Smart Tag for a full refund.
Poppy’s Pets has a column in an East Yorkshire newspaper, including faces of the missing.