From today (6th April), it will become the law for all dogs aged eight weeks and over to be microchipped.
So if you haven’t had your pet chipped yet, here is everything you need to know:
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a small electronic device, around the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted between a dog’s shoulder blades. Each chip holds the contact details of a dog’s owner, such as their address and phone number. When scanned, the details will be accessed instantly from the national database. This makes it easier for wardens to reunite dogs with their owners, should they ever go missing.
If the microchip is inserted by a vet, it will cost between £20 and £30. However, there are some pet charities, such as Dog’s Trust that offer to chip your pet for free.
Almost 120,000 dogs are lost or dumped per year throughout the UK – and less than half of those are reunited with their owners.
This leaves local councils and charities left with a £57million bill to re-home dogs that are separated from their owners – so it comes as no surprise that pet charities have played a large role in campaigning for this new microchipping law to be brought into place.
The experts also expect that the new law will help to put an end to the stolen dog black market and to prosecute the owners of dangerous dogs.
What will happen if you don’t get your dog microchipped?
If you decide against getting your dog microchipped, then you will be breaking the law. If you are stopped by a police officer, or if your dog is picked up by the council, then you will be given an enforcement notice with 21 days to comply with the law.
A failure to chip your dog will result in a £500 fine.
How to get your dog microchipped:
If your dog is one of the 1.4million dogs throughout the UK that isn’t microchipped, then here are a few simple tips to comply with the law:
1) Make an appointment with your dog’s vet, or go along to a free microchipping event.
2) Register the device – a vet is likely to submit the paperwork for you, but if you go to a free session, then it’s important to complete a form and send it to the database company.
3) Update the database when your details change – if you move or swap your telephone number and don’t notify the database company, then you could face a £500 fine.