All dogs in England, Scotland and Wales must be on a microchip database by the time they are 8 weeks old when the law comes into affect on 6th April.
Approximately one in five dogs have not been microchipped, according to DEFRA. The estimated dog population in the UK is 8.5 million – 86 per cent of which (7.34 million) of which have been microchipped.
The remaining 14 per cent need to have a microchip by 6th April 2016 when it will be compulsory for owners to ensure their dog is microchipped.
Here are some answers to questions you may have ahead of the law change.
Why should I microchip your dog?
Over 102,000 dogs are picked up from the streets having strayed or been stolen.
DEFRA estimate that stray dogs cost the tax payer and welfare charities £33 million annually. Microchipping your dog means there is a greater chance of you being reunited with your dog if they are lost or stolen.
In Northern Ireland microchipping is compulsory and they have seen a decrease in the number of stray, lost and abandoned dogs.
Animal Welfare Minister, George Eustice said: “Microchipping our dogs will not only help to reunite people with their lost or stolen pets, but also help to tackle the growing problem of strays roaming the streets and relieve the burden placed on animal charities and local authorities.”
Will the procedure hurt my dog?
No. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice that is injected by a syringe. The procedure is painless and does not require anesthetic.
How do I check that the microchip has been inserted properly?
In March, vet Neil McIntosh from Abbey Veterinary Group advised that everyone to have the microchip checked a month later. He explained: “If the chip is not placed midline it may migrate down the body wall. If placed in the neck, it may migrate to the legs.”
How will this be policed?
If authorities come across a dog after 6 April 2016 that does not have a chip, the owner will be given 21 days to comply with microchipping law. Dog owners face a £500 fine if they do not.
Dog owners also have the responsibility to update the database with any change of details, such as change of address, telephone or owner. Again, dog owners have 21 days to do so or face a £500 fine.
Are there any exceptions for working dogs or docked puppies?
No. All working dogs and hounds must be microchipped. There is no exemption for docked dogs. The only exemption from microchipping is if a vet signs a certificate to say that the dog it too ill to be chipped.
How much does the microchipping procedure cost?
Microchipping costs between £10 and £30 at a private vet. The lifetime cost of keeping a dog is £16,000 -so the cost for microchipping is small in comparison. There are plenty of places that are doing it for free.
Most microchipping databases, such as Petlog charge a fee to update your details on their databases. The fee that is paid at the point of microchip implantation does not go to the databases.
Where is doing it for free?
Any of the 20 Dogs Trust centres around the UK and is being provided to local authorities, housing associations and veterinary surgeries. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is also offering free microchipping at their three centres. Blue Cross is also providing free microchipping at their 16 hospitals and centres across England.
What should you do when you’re buying a dog?
Ask for proof that a microchip has been fitted. This can be provided by a microchip certificate, vet records, pet passport or dog’s pet insurance papers.
Will my dog still need to wear a collar in public?
Yes, your dog will still need to wear a collar with the name and address of the owner engraved on it when in a public place under the Control of Dogs Order 1992. You can be fined £5,000 if your dog does not wear an identification tag.
How many microchipping databases are there in the UK?
You should ask your vet which database the microchip is aligned to and you can check which database your dog is registered to on the Kennel Club’s new website Chip It Check It.