It is a legal requirement for ALL dogs in the UK to be microchipped, registered on an approved database and for the keeper’s contact details to be correct and up-to-date.
What is a microchip?
- A pet microchip is a tiny sterile chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that has a unique 15-digit number programmed into it. This number is used to identify your pet.
- A vet or trained professional implants the chip under your dog’s skin between its shoulder blades.
- The microchip remains completely inactive until scanned, when its unique number is transmitted to the scanner and displayed on the screen.
How does a microchip work?
- A pet can be identified from the unique number contained in its microchip. This number is registered with an approved database, and includes details such as the keeper’s name and address, breed, colour, breeder’s details, and the dog’s name.
- The number can be picked up by a microchip scanner – a small handheld instrument with a display screen. Once the microchip’s number is obtained, you can check to see which database it is registered with.
- Scanners are routinely used by vets, charities, rescue centres and dog wardens all over the country when presented with a lost or stolen pet. This enables them to contact the registered keeper.
Where can I get my dog microchipped?
A person has to be trained by a government-approved course in order to implant microchips:
- At your vets – there will be a small charge.
- Some animal charities and local authorities also offer microchipping. Sometimes they have events to offer microchipping for free.
- If you get a dog from a breeder, the breeder must microchip and register the dog.
Who is responsible for microchipping and registration?
- The keeper of the dog is required to ensure that their dog is microchipped, and their details registered to an approved database.
- It is also the keeper’s responsibility to ensure that the details are kept up-to-date.
- When a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must ensure their details are updated to the database where the dog is registered.
Who enforces microchipping?
Microchipping legislation is enforced by local authorities, the police, community support officers and any other person which the government may authorise to act as an enforcer of the regulations.
Getting puppies microchipped
- All puppies must be microchipped and registered by the time they are 8 weeks old.
- The microchipping can be done at any point before this, so long as the puppy is healthy enough to be implanted, but dog organisations advise not to chip before the age of 6 weeks.
- It also takes a short time for registration to be activated, so ensure that you get the microchipping done in good time.
- The breeder MUST be the first recorded keeper of a puppy on a database.
- The breeder MUST provide microchip documentation to the new owner to allow them to transfer the keepership of the puppy to their name/address. Make sure that the paperwork matches the puppy being sold/transferred.
Are any dogs exempt?
All dogs must be microchipped. The only exception is for health reasons – the law permits veterinary surgeons to exempt dogs from microchipping if, in their professional opinion, it would adversely affect the dog’s health. More information about at BVA.
Is there a penalty if I don’t microchip my dog?
Yes – if your dog is not microchipped, you are not complying with the regulations and a notice will be served. If you do not comply with the notice within 21 days, you are liable to a fine/penalty. The same applies to not keeping your contact details up-to-date on the database.
What are the approved databases?
- Used to be called Anibase
- Website: www.identibase.co.uk
- Tel: 01904 487600
- Tel: 01744 733229
- Its customer care team are based in the UK and available 24/7 all year round. It operates to ISO 9001/2 standards and is managed by the Kennel Club.
- Website: www.petlog.org.uk
- Tel: 0844 4633999
Tel: 0800 0778558
- Tel: 0800 6529977
- Tel: 0844 5420999
What if a microchip malfunctions?
It is rare for a microchip to malfunction. They are tough and designed to last for a dog’s lifetime. They can migrate a small distance, but a scanner will normally still be able to pick up its unique number.
- Check-a-Chip: check which database your unique number is registered to – www.check-a-chip.co.uk