A Dog Owner’s Guide to Microchipping

Getting a new puppy or dog can be a really exciting time and there are so many things you need to do when you first get them; including buying items such as a collar, bed and bowls and registering them with a local vet. You may even want to sign up for training classes. But a really important thing to do is to get your dog microchipped, since April 6th 2016 by law all dogs must have a microchip. We understand that the microchipping law may be confusing, so we’ve compiled the information that you as an owner need to know.



Your dog must have a microchip implanted by 8 weeks old and it can be implanted by the following places:

  • Vets
  • 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 do not get your dog chipped by 8 weeks, then you could face a fine of up to £500 and a court case against you. If you think a microchip implanter is working illegally or incompetently you should report them to the local authority.


Microchipping Exemptions

In some circumstances, you may not be able to get your dog chipped before 8 weeks. However, a vet is the only person who has the authority to exempt your dog from having a microchip implanted. Your 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 your dog gets a new owner or keeper during the exemption period assigned by the vet then you must pass on the exemption certificate.


Microchipping Databases

After the microchip has been implanted, the chip needs to be registered with a government approved database:

  • Anibase
  • Animal Tracker
  • MicroChip Central
  • National Veterinary Database
  • Protected Pet
  • Pet Log
  • PETtrac
  • Pet Identity UK
  • SmartTrace

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 dogs’ details (breed, DOB, etc.), the microchip number and your personal details (address, phone number, email etc.). 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.


Updating Your Contact Details

Another component of the microchipping law is about keeping the contact details stored on the microchip up to date. If a dog is found, but the chip details are out of date it makes it difficult to reunite them with their owners. You need to update the contact details on the microchip if you move house, change phone number or email address. If you buy or rehome a dog which is has been microchipped then you need to update the details on the microchip listing you as the new owner.

You can update your details by getting in contact with the database that you registered the microchip with. Most databases let you update your details via post, phone or online. To update these details you’ll need to know the microchip number. The microchip ID number can be found on the following:

  • Microchip certificate.
  • Vet records.
  • Pet passport.
  • Sometimes on the dog’s pet insurance papers.

However, if you can’t find any of these records you can find out the dog’s microchip ID number by going to the following places to get your dog scanned:

  • A vet.
  • A dog warden.
  • A dog rescue centre.

Scanning will also reveal which database the microchip is registered with. Or you can go to http://www.check-a-chip.co.uk/ and find out by entering your ID number. Some databases may charge a fee for updating details. Failure to keep the details on the chip up to date can result in up to a £500 fine and a court case.


Buying A Dog

By law a breeder or importer must have had a dog microchipped before they can legally sell it onto a new keeper. If they have not done this they can be fined up to £500 and a court case can be launched against them. A breeder or importer must tell buyers the following information:

  • Dog’s microchip number.
  • Which database the microchip information is stored on.
  • That they must update the contact details when they take the dog home.

As a buyer, you should ask if it’s had a chip fitted and get proof in the form of:

  • Microchip certificate.
  • Vet records.
  • Pet passport.
  • Sometimes on the dog’s pet insurance papers.

If they haven’t had the dog chipped and registered they must provide an exemption certificate, which will explain why this has not been done. If they cannot offer you an exemption certificate do not buy the dog from them and report them to the local council.


Other Information

It is advised that whenever you buy or rescue a dog you should get your vet to scan them, to make sure the chip corresponds to the paperwork you’ve been given.

Only dogs are affected by this microchipping law. You may also own other pets such as cats and rabbits, although you are not legally required to get them chipped it is recommended. As for dogs, if your cat or rabbit goes missing the chip will help find and reunite them with you. The microchipping process is the same for other animals, but a mini microchip might be used depending on the animal’s size.


If you have any other queries about microchipping your dog you can read the FAQs about microchipping or leave us a comment below. Don’t forget to #CheckandChip!

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