Microchipping

Microchipping is compulsory for all dogs over 8 weeks old* in the UK. Any owners whose dog is discovered not to be microchipped face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine.

Before you get your dog microchipped it is beneficial to research the different microchipping databases available and where you need to register them as different databases attract different costs.

Registration fee

The initial registration fee is usually covered by the payment towards the implanter, if there is any charge at all. However, charges may be required if the dog changes ownership. Many microchip databases offer a premium cost to cover all charges during the lifetime of the dog or while it remains in your ownership.

It is important to remember that breeders will be required to microchip puppies before they are rehomed, meaning a microchip of a dog may contain the details of both the breeder and the new owner.

Making changes to data stored on the microchip database is easy and can be done online, over the telephone or by post depending upon the database your pet is registered with.

*This does not include dogs that have been certified by the vet under health reasons or puppies which have had their tails docked. Puppies with docked tails have until they are three months in which to get microchipped.

Microchipping

The microchip itself will only contain a unique code. This code when entered into a microchip database will bring up details of the owner. Some databases will also allow the owner to store any medical information relating to the dog.

It is important that any change of information (e.g. address of owner) are given to the microchipping database.

No. Dogs can be microchipped by other qualified technicians. Some organisations that offer microchipping are The Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs Trust.

The microchip is injected under the skin and is no more painful than a typical injection. It can be carried out during a routine vet appointment.

Yes. The microchip itself only contains the unique code which links to the details stored on a database.

It is a good idea to always follow up and check with the database to make sure the chip has been registered correctly.

UK Microchip Databases

The microchip number will be on the confirmation letter or email sent by the microchipping database you chose to register with.

However, if these have been misplaced then the easiest way of recovering your details is to contact the vet or company who carried out the procedure as they should have a record of the microchip number. The other option is to take your dog into the vets or an animal shelter and have the microchip scanned.

Databases usually charge a premium cost that will cover any change to the microchip details over the lifetime of your dog (while in your care) but you should check with the database operator.

When a pet is found, the animal professional (e.g. vet or a dog warden) will scan for a microchip. The unique code will be read, and contact will be made with the database the pet is registered with. The staff at the database will perform security checks before releasing any contact details.

Any adverse effects such as microchip failure, microchip migration or reactions to implantation should be reported to Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Microchip Adverse Event Reporting Scheme. The microchip should then be replaced.

The law states that “microchipping doesn’t have to happen as long as a veterinary surgeon certifies, on a form approved by the secretary of state, that the dog shouldn’t be microchipped for reasons of the animal’s health”.

This means that a dog needs to be checked by a vet to determine whether it is fit enough to be microchipped or not and is entirely at the vets’ discretion. Its age will not automatically disqualify it from the microchipping scheme.

No. A dog could be tattooed alongside the microchip but the microchip still has to be present.

No. In accordance to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, if a certified working dog has qualified for tail docking then the owner needs to ensure that it is microchipped before it is three months old rather than the eight-week period for other dogs.

No. The microchip is aligned to a specific database. It is important you research the databases available and check with the implanter (e.g. vet) as to which chips they use and which database they are aligned to.

The Dogs Trust website holds a range of information on the new microchipping rules and how to find centres offering free microchipping.

The British Veterinary Association has a range of information on microchipping and your responsibilities.[RJ(1] 

It is a small, electronic chip in a glass cylinder approximately the size of a grain of rice. When activated by a scanner, the chip will transmit a unique identification number.

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