We are a nation of dog lovers and microchipping is crucial for both good dog welfare and to provide dog owners with peace of mind.
Even if your dog is microchipped, you MUST still ensure that it is provided with a collar and tag bearing the name and contact details of the owner. Failure to do so is also an offence and you can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog is in a public place without this information.
The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 requires that, from 6 April 2016, every dog that is older than 8 weeks must be microchipped and their details recorded on an approved UK database. Breeders must ensure that their puppies are microchipped before they leave for their new home.
If you buy or rehome a dog, or if you change your address, you MUST also update your details on the database. If your details are not up-to-date, this results in the dog not being properly microchipped in accordance with the Regulations and you may therefore be subject to enforcement action.
A lack of microchip, or incorrect details linked to the microchip, can result in dogs having to be rehomed as their owners cannot be identified.
What is a microchip and how does it work?
A microchip is a passive device no bigger than a grain of rice. Once a microchip is in place, it can be scanned and its 15 digit identification code can be checked against the microchip databases to quickly identify the owner, allowing a stray dog to be reunited with its owner quickly. A microchip is therefore a quick and permanent way of identifying a dog, taking no more than a few minutes to implant.
Microchipping is a relatively simple process that can be undertaken by all veterinary surgeons or anyone trained to carry out the procedure. The procedure is no more uncomfortable than a standard vaccination injection.
What happens if I don't microchip my dog?
It is an offence not to have your dog microchipped and you can be fined up to £500.
The local authority can serve a notice on the owner of a dog requiring them to have the dog microchipped within 21 days. If the owner fails to comply with the notice they may be prosecuted and fined. The local authority can also seize the dog, arrange for the animal to be microchipped and recover the cost of doing so from the owner.
The Government's guidance on getting your dog microchipped was published in February 2016.