Microchipping your dog…

Don’t leave it too late, or you’ll be breaking the law!

If you share your home with a dog, hopefully you are already aware that as of the 6th April this year, your dog must be microchipped. Under the The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, all dogs over the age of eight weeks must now be microchipped and their keeper’s details registered with one of the UK’s six central databases. The only permitted exemption is when the animal is deemed by a vet, in writing, to be unfit to undergo the chipping procedure.

So if your dog has not already had a microchip implanted, please remember that you have only a few weeks left in order to make the necessary arrangements – anyone who does not comply with the new legislation can be served with a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped, and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not subsequently comply.
The full statute is available for reference here.

The advantages of microchipping are many (in theory at least) including:

  • Helping to reunite lost and stolen dogs with their carers
  • Acting as a deterrent to dog theft
  • Enforcing lifelong responsibility on puppy farmers
  • Making it easier for vets to contact owners in emergency situations

It seems unlikely that everyone will initially comply with the law – it is estimated that between ten and twenty percent of dogs in the UK will remain unchipped after April 6th and it’s difficult to see how the law can be enforced. However, with time, veterinary practices, animal welfare centres and local authorities will be able to identify dogs that have not previously been chipped when they are routinely scanned on being brought in for treatment or re-homing. The animals will then be chipped and prosecutions potentially brought.

At The Ralph Site we are supporters of microchipping, whether or not the law requires it. Several of our Facebook friends have shared the feelings of emptiness, frustration and guilt they experienced after their pets went missing, and a microchip greatly increases the chance of pets that are subsequently found being reunited with their families. The new law applies only to dogs, but we always recommend that cats and rabbits are chipped too, as there is always a risk of wandering off, getting locked in somewhere or escaping from the garden run.

The procedure itself is quick and relatively painless – the microchip capsule is smaller than a grain of rice and is implanted gently under the skin at the back of your pet’s neck. Once in place it provides a unique, and permanent method of identification – all you need to do is remember to update your contact details whenever you change mobile numbers or email addresses, or if you move house.

Many veterinary practices are offering free or reduced price microchipping throughout March, so if your pet is not already microchipped, don’t delay – give your vet a call today.
You might also like to know that The Dogs Trust is offering free microchipping at a number of locations across the UK – you can find more details here.

Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

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