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How pet microchipping works?



We’ve got quite a few questions recently on how pet microchipping works. This article explains pet microchipping and how pet microchips and databases work in the UK.

How pet microchipping works

Pet microchipping works using a technology called radio frequency identification or RFID for short. RFID tags store data and communicates that data to a device that interprets it. (They use electromagnetic forces for power.) You can read more about RFID technology HERE.

RFID tags come in several different types. The type used in pet microchipping is a passive RFID tag. They just hold information. Generally a 15 digit number. (15 digits is the International standard.) A passive RFID tag has no power source.

A standard pet microchip is around the size of a grain of rice. It’s made of a few different sections.

Firstly the outer section which encases it is a glass material which is biocompatible. (Which means it’s not toxic for your pet and won’t give any kind of allergic reaction.) Many versions of pet microchips have a polymer coating which helps the microchip stay in the same place in your pet’s body so it’s easier for someone scanning for the microchip to find it.

Inside the capsule is the actual silicon microchip. This is where the information is. There is also a tuning capacitor and an antenna coil inside. The capacitor receives power and sends it to the microchip. The microchips information can then be picked up by the antenna coil.

A reader or scanner is used to read the microchip. There are international standards (International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785) for pet microchips to allow all readers and chips to work in the same way.

Remember if you don’t register your microchip, it’s completely useless.

How pet microchipping and microchip databases work in the UK

In the UK there are 15 government compliant databases. You can see a list of them HERE.

All of these databases are connected using a “look-up” tool, which allows each database to check all the other databases to see if that microchip is registered with them.

This means if your pet goes missing and is found any authorised user can search your pet’s microchip to check which database your information is stored on. Using their authorised account they can get your details to get your pet home as quickly as possible.

An authorised user is anyone with authority to access your information such as police officers, dog wardens, Registered animal charities, dog pounds and other officials.

Issues with microchipping in the UK

There are issues with the microchipping system in the UK. It is by far from perfect which is why we at MyPet decided to become a Defra compliant database. We want to help improve the system and give pet owners far more value than is currently on offer.

We put together THIS document which talks about the issues and our suggestions for improving pet microchipping in the UK. Here is a quick summary of the issues and our suggestions:

1.0 Technology
  • Method of exchanging information
  • Reducing instances of missing information
    • Shared database
    • Testing
2.0 Process
  • Transfers
  • Ability to register on any database
  • Display of keepers’ details
  • Display of information
  • Authorised user accounts
  • Display of rescue back-up
  • Implanter regulations
  • Audit
  • Database approval process
  • Good repute checks
3.0 GPDR & User privacy
  • GDPR – Agreed or provided execution
  • Member of ICO
  • Audit
4.0 Improvement to client services
  • Pet owners
  • Pet care Organisations

Why register your pet’s microchip with MyPet?

To keep it simple here are the 5 top reasons to register your pet’s microchip with MyPet:

  1. We only charge £1.99 to register your pet’s microchip. This is a lifetime account. You’ll only pay us once.
  2. We email you if your pet’s microchip is searched on another Defra compliant microchip database. You also get an email every 6 months to check your details are up to date.
  3. We give you access to an ever growing range of offers and discounts exclusive to MyPet.
  4. 10% off in the MyPet shop!
  5. Use our IOS and Android app free of charge

What to do next?

Here’s what you should do next:

  1. Check if your pet is registered with any microchip database HERE.
  2. Is your pet registered with us or another database? This is great news if they are, just make sure to check your details are up to date.
  3. If your pet isn’t registered click HERE to register with MyPet.

If you have any questions of if there’s anything we can do, just pop me an email –


  • Christine Ironside -

    Can I do my transfer to you or do I have to go with microchip central which the keeper registered with ?

    • Hey Christine,

      You can transfer to us. The first thing to do is get in touch with microchip central and ask them to de-register your pet. ( They should contact the previous keeper to confirm this. They can then de-register the chip. You can register with us before that’s happened but we recommend you get the microchip de-registered. The reason being if your pet ever went missing it would be confusing for the finder if they found 2 records of the pet.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to drop us a message in the green circle to right if you’ve any other specific questions or drop me an email – 🙂


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