National #CheckandChip Day is the 31st of March and it’s all about creating awareness amongst pet owners about the importance of microchipping your pets and keeping the contact details on the chip up to date. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things that you need to know about #CheckandChip.
1. All Dogs are legal required to be microchipped!
A dog microchipping law was introduced on the 6th of April 2016 requiring dog owners/keepers to get their dog microchipped. Failure to chip a dog can result in up to a £500 fine and a court case may be taken out against the owner/keeper.
It’s not compulsory to get other pets such as cats or rabbits microchipped however it is advised.
2. Your dog needs to be microchipped before 8 weeks
The law specifies that dogs must be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. Some people may worry that their dog is too small at that age, but mini microchips are available.
However, if you are worried about your dog being too small then talk to your vet and they can advise you on the best option.
3. If your dog can’t be chipped you need proof in the form of an exemption certificate
There are some circumstances where a vet may exempt your dog for a period of time this may be due to:
- Severe illness.
- An infection in the area the microchip would be implanted.
- A condition that affects blood clotting.
- Too small.
If this is the case a vet needs to provide an exemption certificate with the following details:
- Dog’s name and description.
- Keeper’s name and contact details.
- Name and address of the vet’s practice.
- Reason it can’t be chipped.
- How long the exemption will last.
- Keeper’s name and signature.
- Vet’s name and signature.
If the dog gets a new keeper during the exemption period then you must past the exemption certificate onto them.
4. Your pet needs to be chipped by a professional
- Vet or vet nurse.
- Student vet or student vet nurse under supervision from a qualified vet.
- Someone who has passed a training course approved by the Secretary of State.
- Someone who has had training, including practical experience of implanting microchips before January 2016.
It is illegal for anyone else to implant a microchip, with fines of up to £2,500 if you are found to be implanting microchips illegally. If you believe the a microchip implanter is working illegally or is not competent you should report them to your local council.
You can get them chipped by trained professionals at the following places:
- Animal charities such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross or the PDSA.
- Pet homes such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home or The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.
- Some local councils.
5. By September 2016 94% of dogs were microchipped!
Microchips are vital tools if your dog ever goes missing. Dogs Trust found that over 37,000 dogs were left unclaimed in council pounds last year because they weren’t chipped or the contact details were out of date! Having 94% of dogs in the UK microchipped is brilliant but we want it to be 100%, so that in the future fewer dogs will be left unclaimed.
However, owners need to remember to keep the microchip details up to date, as a chip is useless if the contact information is incorrect.
6. You need to register the chip with a microchip database
Sometimes the professional implanting the microchip will register the chip with a database for you however this is not always the case. So as an owner it will be your responsibility to register the chip with one of the following databases:
- Anibase 01904 487600
- Animal Tracker 01279 219777
- PetLog 01296 336579
- PetIndentity UK 0800 9751960
- PETtrac 0800 6529977
- National Veterinary Database 0330 1239924
- SmartTrace 01208 420999
- Protected Pet 08452 262712
- MicroChip Central 01223 790100
Some databases may be free to register, but other databases may charge a registration fee. So you may want to check with the database before registering.
7. You need to register the chip with your contact details
This is incredibly important! When you register the microchip you must provide contact details, including your home address, phone number(s) and email address. These details are then logged alongside the microchip ID number and will show up when scanned with a microchip scanner. A microchip is useless if the contact information is incorrect. Dogs Trust reported that up to 12 dogs a day face being put down because of out of date or incorrect microchip details!
8. You are also legally required to keep these contact details up to date!
Dogs Trust found that only 10% of dog owners who moved house thought updating their dog’s microchip details was a priority! If you move house, change phone numbers or get a new email address you need to contact the database that your pet’s microchip is registered with and update the chip’s contact details. Failure to chip a dog can result in up to a £500 fine and a court case may be taken out against the owner/keeper.
9. If your pet goes missing you can call the microchipping database and ask if they’ve been scanned during the time your pet’s been missing.
The microchipping databases keep a log of the times a microchip is scanned and will be able to tell you if your pet has been scanned since they went missing. This can be useful if you’ve forgotten to update your details on the pet’s microchip.
10. If you find a stray pet make sure a vet or microchip scanner scans the animal all over.
Although most pets will have a microchip implanted at the back of the neck between the shoulder blades, some may have been implanted in a different area such as ear or leg. Some microchips may have even migrated after implantation. So if a microchip can’t be found at the back of the neck, it’s worth checking the animal all over just in case.
If you want to know more about #CheckandChip or learn more about microchipping your pets then visit our blog. Or, if you have any question then feel free to post them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them for you!