Did you know that from April 2016, The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations, come into force? This legislation requires all dogs to be microchipped and registered to a database, and for puppies this must be done by the time they are 8 weeks of age.
With an estimated 100,000 dogs dumped or lost in the UK each year, it is hoped that compulsory microchipping will go some way to tackling this problem. Under the new law, dog owners must also keep their registration database contact details up-to-date, or risk being fined. Likewise if you re-home or sell a pet dog, you will need to ensure the details on the microchip are changed to reflect those of the new owners in advance - similar to how you transfer ownership when you sell a car - and if you don’t do this, you risk being held accountable for the dog’s future actions.
Microchipping your pet is increasingly viewed as a fundamental part of being a responsible pet owner. Microchips are a fantastic invention - I have seen so many owners reunited with their pets after losing them weeks, months, or even years earlier - we can only guess what stories these pets could tell! The main reason to microchip is obvious - should your pet become lost or be stolen, they’re much more likely to be returned to you safe and sound. However microchipping is also a requirement of the Pet Travel Scheme, and it can even act as a deterrent to dog theft - you may wish to get “I’m Microchipped” engraved on your pet’s tag to reinforce this.
COLLARS & TAGS – THE LAW
Whilst the Dog Licence no longer exists, it is often forgotten that as well as being microchipped, it is also still a legal requirement for any dog in a public place to wear a collar and tag with the owner details engraved or written-on. This forms part of the Control of Dogs Order 1992, and the information required is specifically:
• owner name
• owner address (including postcode)
Your telephone number is not legally required on the tag, but is obviously advisable if you want the best chance of being reunited with your pet. Also take note that you don’t have to put your dog’s name on the tag, just yours – and in fact many people decide against having their pet’s name on display, in case an unscrupulous person were to use this information to help steal your pet. While not a legal requirement, you may also wish to consider providing your cat with a collar and tag, or a barrel device. Ultimately you, as the pet owner, need to decide what information you are comfortable having displayed on your pet, but if you have a dog, just don’t forget to put your name and address on, or you could end up with a hefty fine!
Dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises, birds... in fact virtually any pet can be microchipped! The microchip itself is a tiny device the size of a grain of rice, implanted under the skin by injection. Once implanted, the pet's body tissue surrounds the microchip, attaching itself to it and preventing movement. Well that’s the theory - and whilst microchips do occasionally move, they rarely fail - so they give lifelong permanent identification. At Broad Lane Vets, we now use “Mini-Chips”, which are 30% smaller than the standard size, to minimise discomfort, especially for toy dog breeds, cats, puppies/kittens and small pet species.
People often think the chip has some sort of Sat-Nav or GPS technology, and whilst those devices are being developed, they’re still pretty expensive and so not widely-used. The common basic microchip works through being coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. The chip number itself is completely meaningless until it is registered on a national database together with the owner’s contact details. And that is the key point; the chip is only as good as the data associated with it – the biggest failing being owners forgetting to update their contact details when they change their phone number or move house! The new legislation addresses this by requiring owners not only to get their dog microchipped, but also to register their contact details and then keep these details updated should they re-home their dog, move house, or even change their phone number.
Only Veterinary Surgeons, Veterinary Nurses and Student Vets/Nurses (acting under direction of a Vet), or Trained Implanters, are legally allowed to microchip dogs. The microchip fee charged covers the cost of the chip and its implantation, and may or may not include the initial database registration. At Broad Lane Vets, we charge around £20 for a microchip, which includes the registration of your pet with Petlog (the largest database, which is managed by the Kennel Club).
So if you haven’t yet microchipped your dog, or you wish to get your cat, rabbit or other pet microchipped, please contact us today on 02476 464789!