It is now a legal requirement throughout the United Kingdom for all dog owners to have their dog’s microchipped and recorded with a government compliant microchip database.
Dog breeders, meanwhile, must ensure that puppies are microchipped and recorded by the time they are eight weeks old and before they are sold. When a dog is transferred, the new owner’s details must be added to the database. Owner details must be kept updated. Failure to keep these details updated means that, in the eyes of the law, the dog is no longer considered microchipped and a fine can apply. Despite these microchipping laws, it is still mandatory for your dog to wear an ID tag.
There is no law requiring cats or other animals to have a microchip inserted although we strongly recommend it.
A microchip is a small electronic device about the size of a grain of rice. It is coded with an individual number which can be read with a microchip scanner. The scanner emits low frequency radio waves which lead to the temporary activation of the chip allowing it to be read.
The implantation of the microchip is with a sterile needle and it is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades, this should cause no more discomfort than a routine vaccination. Once the microchip has been inserted under the skin the surrounding tissue encapsulates the microchip and should prevent it from moving, occasionally the microchip can move to be slightly off centre but this is of no concern and the microchip will still be easily read. We can check your pet’s microchip position when we examine them at their annual vaccine or before your trip abroad if travelling with a pet’s passport. The microchip is coated with the same material as human pacemakers and this means that the body should not react to it as foreign material.
There are a huge number of organisations in the UK with scanners, including all veterinary practices, local authorities and animal welfare charities. All animals presented without an owner, for example as strays or following an accident, will be scanned. When they are microchipped they can be reunited with their owners easily and quickly.
Once your animal is microchipped you will be asked to fill in all your contact details on the submission form which will be stored on a confidential national database. It is important you remember to keep these details up to date with changes of address and mobile phone numbers. Your details will only be given out to recognised organisations with scanners that have your animal’s details.
There is no system at present that can safeguard your pets from being stolen, but having a microchip does allow you peace of mind that your pet may still be reunited with you if at some point it is presented to a vet or organisation that scan it for a microchip.
It is important that if your pet does go missing that your inform the microchip company who will make a note of this on their records and are then aware the animal is missing.
If you are considering starting a pet passport to allow your pet to travel abroad then a microchip is a statutory requirement to permanently identify your dog or cat.
Since April 2016 it is now law that all dogs must be microchipped and we strongly recommend that all cats are microchipped too.