Guide to microchipping your pet

On 6th April 2016 new government legislation came into force which made it a legal requirement for all dog owners in England, Scotland and Wales to microchip their pet (it’s already a requirement in Northern Ireland). So we’ve put together a guide on what it means for you and how it works.

Why is microchipping a dog important?

It is already a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar and tag but from 6th April they will need to be registered on a UK microchip database.

The regulation applies to all dogs older than 8 weeks which are not certified as a working dog.

This legislation has been introduced to encourage owners to take responsibility for their pet and requires them to ensure that their details are recorded and kept up to date on an approved database such as Petlog.

A dog is only exempt from being microchipped if a vet certifies in writing that they cannot be microchipped for health reasons.

As well as being a legal requirement, microchipping has benefits – it can make all the difference in being reunited with your pet should they stray or go missing, and some chips contain sensors that can be used to check your dog’s temperature.


What does dog microchipping entail?


It’s a simple, safe and quick procedure the can be carried out by your vet. The chip holds a unique 15-digit microchip code that will act as your pet’s identification.

The vet will use a microchip assigned to a specific database such as Petlogo or Anibase, and you will need to ensure your contact details are kept up to date on their records in the event your pet goes missing.

Many local organisations, authorities and animal charities, including some RSPCA branches, also offer microchipping programmes.


How much does it cost?


The cost of the implant will vary but typically vets charge around £15 while some charities and organisations will even offer free microchipping. You may also be charged by the database company to change or amend your records, for example if you move home.


What happens if I don’t microchip my dog?


If your dog isn’t registered on an approved database then you could be served with a notice ordering you to microchip your dog. Police and local authority employees will be able to use scanners to carry out on the spot checks and enforcement.

If your dog does not have a microchip fitted you will have 21 days to do so or you may be liable to pay a £500 fine and could face criminal prosecution.

If your contact details change and you don’t update your details on the database, then you could also receive a notice and may be liable to pay a fine of £500.


How can I check whether my dog is microchipped or my details are up to date?


When your dog was microchipped, you should have been sent a confirmation letter or email including an ID or reference number as well as a microchip number.

If you know which database your pet is registered on, you can check your details are up-to-date by logging in online or calling them.

If you’re not sure whether your dog is microchipped, or don’t have the ID number, take him along to your local vet to have him scanned.

Your vet should be able to provide you with the microchip number, and you can then use an online chip checker to find out which one he’s registered with.

Download and print our guide to getting your pet microchipped

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