Is Microchipping A Legal Pet Requirement?

PET CHECK BLOG microchip-dog-at-vet

\\\ Microchipping Pets

\\\ updated autumn 2022

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What Is Microchipping?

Why Do Pets Need Microchipping?

Image shows the special microchip reader being used that can electronically read the chip information secreted in the dog

\\\ New Microchip Laws

Do I Microchip My Dog And Cat?

Is It Pet Law?

It may seem harsh to pop a chip into your beloved pet but since April 2016 in England, Scotland, and Wales, it has been the law to microchip puppies between eight and twelve weeks old, before they go off to their new owner by the breeder selling the pups and all older dogs.

Breeders must be the puppy’s first registered keeper.

The new dog owner is then provided with details of the registration so that they could contact the government-approved database company and update the ownership details.

How Do You Microchip A Pet?

What Is Dog Microchipping?

Microchipping involves putting a special metal item, a chip, the size best described as a grain of rice, inserted by a fine needle into the scruff back of the neck area of the puppy or dog. It should be a painless procedure when carried out by a trained person who should not cause discomfort or pain to the pet.

The details of the coded chip are then placed into a specially held private database including the owners’ name and address and contact number for the pet.

If stray pets are found, they can be taken to a vet where they can scan the chip and access the details of ownership.

These database businesses, approved by the government operate the dog and pet microchip databases currently, holding invaluable pet information being necessary to help reunite the thousands of pets that go missing, stray, or sadly stolen, each year.

The approved databases can be subject to change. Check the government information.

Any dog owner was obliged to ensure their dog was microchipped by 2016, and fines are imposed if dogs are in public places without wearing a collar with their ID number on or ID tag.

It is important to keep your details up to date with the approved database company as you could be fined up to £500 if your dog is found to be on an unapproved list.

Has Microchipping Helped?

Environment Secretary, Mr. George Eustice MP, during 2021, informed the public that the policy monitored by vets has led to a 90% compliance amongst dog owners.

Microchipping has not been the only pet update with the government committing many new and amended updates on pet and animal welfare for decades.

Do I have To Microchip My Cat?

Whilst the law states that dogs must be microchipped in the UK from 6 April 2016, cats and other small pets currently do not have to as a legal requirement. However, this is all about to change in the forthcoming months with law amendments, with cats being treated the same as dogs, being required legally to be microchipped and registered.

The government is introducing revisions to existing laws that all pet cats in the UK must be microchipped by the time they are 20 weeks old, 5 months old. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to arrange for their pet to be microchipped or could face a fine of up to £500.

Whilst there is an estimated 12 million cats living in UK homes, (according to the PMFA latest 2021 figures) there are an estimated 2.6 million cats that are unchipped without permanent identification, with cat theft soaring to new heights.

Pet Rabbits And Small Pets

There are an estimated 1 million pet rabbits that reside in UK homes, literally, a third residing in the home with two-thirds kept outside, residing in secure rabbit hutches.

Whilst the law states that dogs must be microchipped in the UK from 6 April 2016, cats or other small pets currently do not have to, as a legal requirement.

Larger pet rabbits physically can be microchipped and there is a growing trend that more expensive breeds including small pets are being microchipped to help dwarf the problems of pet theft.

You can read more about pet theft in Pet Checks post, ‘Pet Theft Reform’ and ‘What Do I Do When My Pet Goes Missing?’

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Puppies and dogs must wear a collar with an ID plate or disc attached bearing contact details. Many owners add ‘I’m Tagged’ on the plate or disc which helps anyone finding a stray dog to know immediately to contact a vet or council dog warden to establish ownership by a special electronic reader put close to the back of the dogs’ scruff that can then display the details on its reading panel. The vet will then log those details into the national database and this will bring up the logged ownership details and the pet and owner can be reunited.

It is vital that pet owners keep their pet’s contact details up to date on the pet microchip databases.

Dogs have to wear a collar with a tag attached that includes the owners’ name and address when stepping outside of their home. Owners who fail to comply with microchipping pets can be fined up to £500.00 if caught.

When a dog has been microchipped by a trained professional, the dog owner is provided with details of the registration so that they could contact the database company and update the ownership details.

Dogs provided new homes from charity pet shelters are microchipped before leaving and their new owners are required to update their details and only vets can exempt dogs where they believe the dog should not be chipped for health reasons.

In Northern Ireland, there are different regulations and owners have to apply for a dog licence and must have their animals chipped before applying. See information on the website, Northern Ireland.gov.uk.

How Much Does Microchipping Cost?

The cost of microchipping is generally about £15.00 – £20.00. Plus the additional cost of buying the ID tag and can range from about £2.99. Most good pet suppliers stock these, as do high street stores, Timpson’s, who have a range including designer style and can inscribe your details on the spot.

Some owners prefer to have an inscription plate that is fixed on the pet’s collar particularly if the dog or cat keeps losing a dangling tag or finds it a nuisance. These do cost a little more and are available from several online quality pet stores.

Is There Free Dog Microchipping?

You can ask the following charitable organisations to microchip your dog for free –

What Are The Rules For Travelling Abroad?

Having left the EU during 2020, dogs and other pets when travelling abroad require a number of documents to be completed, jabs, most likely a rabies jab, a picture of the pet, and be microchipped. Read Pet Checks longer feature about the requirements –

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