As of Wednesday April 6, the dog microchipping law is changing and if you don’t abide by it, you could be fined.
If you don’t know all about the new rules and what you need to do, we’ve got all of the information from the RSPCA and Dog’s Trust.
What is changing?
From Wednesday April 6, it is compulsory to have your dog microchipped . It will be a legal requirement under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015.
You should have your dog chipped before April 6.
As part of the new law, it is also essential that you keep your registered details up to date. This includes your address if you move house or change your telephone number.
What is microchipping?
Microchipping is a quick procedure when a vet puts a tiny chip (roughly the size of a grain of rice) under the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades. Each chip has its own unique code and so your dog can then be scanned and matched with your details.
The details are held on individual databases which are linked together.
Some dogs who are nervous about visiting the vet may get a little stressed, but having a microchip implanted does not hurt.
It is no different to having an injection. Vets are used to chipping much smaller animals than dogs, but if you do have a small breed and are concerned, you can opt for a mini microchip.
What is the importance of microchipping?
If you lose your dog or it is stolen, you are more likely to be reunited because if a dog is microchipped it can be scanned and identified and returned to its owner.
Lee Paris, campaigns manager at charity the Dogs Trust, says: “Having a dog microchipped should give owners peace of mind, because all dogs have the capacity to escape, no matter how responsible the owner is. This will make it much easier to reunite worried owners with their pets.”
Nearly 120,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year, and less than half of those are reunited with their owners. That leaves local councils and animal welfare charities facing a £57million bill to care for and re-home these unfortunate animals.
And nearly 7,000 dogs have to be put down each year because no one can care for them.
How much does it cost to get your dog microchipped?
The price can vary from place to place. Some animal charities and organisations offer free microchipping and vets can charge around £15, although some may be cheaper or more expensive.
Where can I get my dog microchipped?
Local animal charities and organisations also offer microchipping programmes, as do some local authorities.
What age do puppies need to be microchipped?
Any dog over the age of eight weeks will be legally required to be microchipped and registered to an approved database by April 6.
It is up to the breeder to have the puppy microchipped and then for the new owner to ensure the details are changed and are up to date.
A dog is only exempt from being microchipped if a vet certifies in writing that it cannot be microchipped for health reasons.
What happens if I don’t get my dog microchipped?
If your dog isn’t microchipped or registered to an approved database you could be given a notice ordering you to microchip your dog.
You will then 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 do not update your details on the database, then you could also receive a notice and may be liable to pay a fine of £500.
If I’m selling my dog, what should I do?
You should always have your dog microchipped and registered before selling it on. It is then down to the new owner to change the registered information over so that it matches their details.
How can I find out if my dog is microchipped or if my details are up-to-date?
If your dog is microchipped, you should have a confirmation letter or email including an ID or reference number as well as a microchip number.
If you know which database your pet’s details are on, then you can log in and check it to see if your details are up-to-date. Or you can call the database and ask.
To find out if your dog is microchipped, or to find out the microchip number, take him along to your local vet and have him scanned. Once you have the microchip number, you can put it in online to find out who it is registered with.
What if my dog’s microchip doesn’t work properly?
Microchips are designed to cover the dog’s lifespan but occasionally they fail to work.
Anyone who finds that an implanted microchip has migrated (moved), failed, or causes an adverse reaction in the animal, must report it to the microchip adverse event reporting scheme run by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
What if a puppy has been imported? Will these microchips work?
All microchips inserted in the EU should be compatible and should work, if the puppy is legally imported, and the details accessed through the European databases.
However, occasionally a puppy will have a microchip that is not readable. You will need to have the dog microchipped within 30 days of importing if this is the case.