Microchipping your dog will be compulsory from next week

It’s a sad fact that many thousands of dogs go missing in the UK each and every year. In fact, the Kennel Club has stated that over “100,000 dogs either, stray, are lost or stolen each year with many having to be kept in kennels before being re-homed.” A missing dog of course results in a great deal of distress for owners as well as their pet. Microchipping is a way of creating a link between a dog and its owner, meaning that they can be reunited as quickly as possible. Surely the outcome that we all want as dogs are our family members after all.

As part of secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the government have made it a requirement for all dogs over eight weeks old to be microchipped from 6 April 2016. Here’s what you need to know about the new law.

Why is microchipping going to become a legal requirement?

Dogs that have gone missing, as well as stray dogs, cost taxpayers and charities £33 million a year and because microchipping makes reuniting a dog with its owner that much faster, there are financial savings to be made on top of the fact that we as owners want to find our missing pets as fast we can.

Microchips also connect owners to pets that have been abused meaning that they can be held criminally responsible.

Finally, it will enable a crackdown on the dog black market which is worth thousands of pounds every year.

Although all dogs will need to be microchipped when out in public your dog will still need to wear a collar and a name tag that includes your address.

How does microchipping work?

The microchip, which is approximately the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under your dog’s skin on the back of their neck and is usually a painless procedure.

The microchip gives your dog their own unique code which can be scanned and matched against your details should they become lost. Details are kept on a database so be sure to confirm that your dog’s chip is registered. You can check that your dog’s chip is registered by visiting chipmydog.org.uk. Remember if your contact details change, be sure to let the microchipping database know.

How to get your dog microchipped

Microchipping can be carried out quickly and easily by a vet and will usually cost approximately £30. Alternatively, certain charities such as Dogs Trust offer to microchip for free, visit the Chip my Dog website for details of services in your area.

Importantly anyone breeding dogs will be responsible for microchipping puppies before they are sold.

Also if you sell your dog then you will be legally required to register the new owner.

What happens if I don’t get my dog microchipped?

It’s pretty simple, if your dog is over eight weeks old and not microchipped by April 6 then you will be breaking the law. If your dog is caught without a microchip then you will have 21 days in order to get them chipped. The fine for not doing so is £500 or you face a conviction. A dog warden may even seize your dog, microchip them and then pass the bill back to you.

To be officially microchipped, your dog must have a chip implanted and be registered on an approved database.

In essence, we can all appreciate the heart break of having our dog go missing, and with that in mind, it’s best to take as many steps as possible to ensure that if it were to happen, we could be reunited with our pet as quickly as possible.

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