As of the 6th of April 2016 it has been illegal for dogs to not be microchipped. Microchipping is a simple process where a microchip the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the skin of the animal. Each microchip has a unique number assigned to it which shows up when scanned by a microchip scanner. After the chip is implanted, it needs to be registered on a database along with your contact details. Without contact details the microchip is useless and is necessary for reunited dogs with their keepers. We understand that the microchipping law may be confusing, so we’ve compiled the information that you as a breeder need to know.
By law a breeder must microchip a dog before they can legally sell it onto a new keeper. If this is not done, you can be fined up to £500 and a court case can be launched against you. So before a dog leaves you, you must:
- Microchip puppies before they’re 8 weeks old
- Register the chip and your details on a microchip database as you are the dog’s first keeper
You cannot register the person buying the dog off you as the first keeper! Failure to get any dog in your keepership chipped can result in a £500 fine and a court case can be taken against you.
You can get your puppies microchipped at the following places:
- Animal charities such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and PDSA
- Some local councils
- Pets homes such as the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Some places may charge between £8-30 for the microchipping service. However, some animal charities and pet homes may offer microchipping for free or at a reduced cost. If you think a microchip implanter is working illegally or incompetently you should report them to the local authority.
If the dog cannot be chipped for health reasons you must get an exemption certificate as proof. You as a breeder cannot just exempt a dog, only a vet has the authority to do this. A dog may be exempt for the following reasons:
- Severe illness
- An infection in the area where the microchip is implanted
- A condition which affects blood clotting
A vet may also exempt your dog if it feels it is too small, however mini microchips are available for smaller breeds and small animals. If your vet does exempt your dog they must provide you with an exemption form containing the following details:
- The dog’s name and description
- Your name and contact details
- The name and address of your veterinary practice
- Why the dog can’t be microchipped
- How long the exemption will last
- Your name and signature
- Vets name and signature
If you pass the dog to a new owner/keeper during the exemption period you must give them the exemption certificate.
After the microchip has been implanted, the chip needs to be registered with a government approved database:
- Animal Tracker
- MicroChip Central
- National Veterinary Database
- Protected Pet
- Pet Log
- Pet Identity UK
In most cases the microchip implanter will register the chip for you with your contact details, however you may have to register the chip yourself. To register the chip you need to contact one of the UK microchip databases and they will ask for:
- The breeder’s licence number and the name of the local authority by which they are licensed (if relevant)
- The original name given to the dog by the breeder
- The breed of the dog, or a description if it is a crossbreed
- The sex of the dog
- The colour(s) of the dog e.g. blue, brindle and white
- The most accurate estimate of the dog’s date of birth which the keeper can give. If the keeper is the breeder then the exact date of birth should be known
- The full name and address of the keeper (including the full postcode)
- The contact telephone number(s) for the keeper
- The email address of the keeper
- The name given to the dog by the keeper if different to those already recorded
- The unique microchip number (NB: This may be found on the registration certificate issued by the database operator)
Most microchip databases give you the option of registering these details either by post, phone or online. Some databases may charge a fee for registration.
You must also tell the new owner/keeper the following information:
- Dog’s microchip number.
- Which database the microchip information is stored with.
- That they must update the contact details when they take the dog home and update their details every time they change.