Compulsory Microchipping: Your Questions Answered

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You would never want your dog to go missing, but in the unfortunate event that they do, we are sure you will agree that a microchip will greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your best friend.

From 6th April 2016, it will become a legal requirement for all dogs in England to be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks old, and for their details to be registered on one of the authorities’ databases, such as Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets.

So what will the new law mean for all you dog owners out there in the UK?

With April fast approaching, we thought it would be useful to gather our most frequently asked questions to help you understand what the new law will mean for you, and what you will need to do to ensure you comply with the new legal requirements.

Why is there a need for a microchipping law for dogs?

The new microchipping law for dogs in England has been implemented to reduce the burden on animal charities and local authorities, and to protect the welfare of dogs. The new law aims to reunite more lost or stolen pets with their owners, reduce the number of stray animals, and help to track down owners of vicious or illegal dogs.

Is microchipping compulsory for all animals?

Microchipping is compulsory in England, Northern Ireland and Wales for dogs only. Scotland have not yet introduced this law and they are waiting to see the results from England before they make their final decision.

How will the new law be enforced?

The new microchipping law will be enforced through local authorities, police officers, and community support officers.

All dogs must be microchipped by 6th April 2016 and by the time they reach 8 weeks old.

If a keeper of an unmicrochipped dog is spotted and is served with a notice requiring them to have their dog microchipped, they will have 21 days to do so before they face a hefty fine.

Where can I get my dog microchipped?

You can visit any local Medivet practice to book your dog in for a microchipping appointment.

We are offering free microchips to any dogs who are signed up to our Medivet Healthcare Plan. Find out more about what’s included and how your dog could benefit from being on the Medivet Healthcare Plan.

What happens if I do not microchip my dog?

Your dog is considered microchipped when you have completed both of the following: 1) get your dog microchipped and 2) register your details with an approved database.

If you do not get your dog microchipped and you do not register your details with an approved database, you will be served a notice of 21 days to ensure you have completed both criteria.

If you do not complete both criteria within 21 days of your notice, you will be liable to pay a £500 fine.

How do I update my contact details?

Sadly, owners forget to update their new contact details if they move to a new home or change their telephone number, rendering the microchip useless and making it difficult for them to be reunited with their canine companion.

Depending on which microchipping database your pet is registered to, you can contact the database by phone or post (you can even do it online) to make your changes.

Contact your veterinary surgeon to find out which database your pet’s microchip is registered at.

At what age does my dog need to be microchipped?

All dogs must be microchipped by the time they reach 8 weeks old. There is no minimum age specified in the regulations and there are no age exemptions.

What happens if my dog is exempt from microchipping for health reasons?

Your dog will be legally exempt from being microchipped only if your vet certifies that they cannot be microchipped for health reasons. An approved form by the Secretary of State will need to be completed by your veterinary surgeon.

How does a microchip work?

If your dog is found and taken to a local animal rescue centre, shelter or veterinary practice, they will be scanned for identification.

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays the information. When the chip is scanned, the shelter or vet clinic can contact the registry to get your name and phone number to let you know your pet has been found.

How is a microchip fitted?

A small chip – about the size of a grain of rice – is inserted under your dog’s skin between their shoulder blades. This procedure only takes a few minutes but it lasts a lifetime!

Is the procedure painful for my dog?

The whole procedure of fitting a microchip under your dog’s skin takes a couple of minutes. Your dog will feel no more discomfort than a standard vaccination, and no anaesthetic is used because they do not experience pain.

What should I do if I find a missing dog?

If you find a stray dog, check to see if they’re wearing a collar and a tag with the owner’s details on. If they are, and you are happy to do so, contact the owner to let them know.

Otherwise, you must contact your local authority dog warden via your local council, as they are legally responsible for stray dogs and will come and collect the dog from you. They will take them to a holding kennels to wait and see if their owner claims them.

What happens if my pet passes away?

Losing a pet is a very distressing time. You can contact your database and they will ensure your pet’s record is amended. They will simply need your pet’s microchip number in order to do this.

There you have it – a whole host of frequently asked questions about the new microchipping law that have been answered.

If you have a burning question that does not appear to have been answered in the list above, please contact your local veterinarian by using our online practice finder tool – our friendly team will be more than happy to assist with any queries that you may have.

Don’t forget, your dog’s microchip is completely free of charge when you sign them up to our Medivet Healthcare Plan – contact your local Medivet practice today to see how your pet can benefit from being on the plan.

Further reading, information and advice can be found on the official DEFRA website.

Posted February 9, 2016 by Cara Zaleski in Pet Care Advice

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