You may already be aware that as of 6th April 2016, all dogs over 8 weeks old are required to have a microchip and for their keeper’s details to be kept up to date on an approved national database. Penalties for persistent non-compliance can be a fine of up to £500.
A pet microchip is a tiny electronic device, implanted under an animal’s skin, that contains a unique 15 digit code. When registered with a national database this code allows the finder of a lost pet to trace the owner quickly and efficiently. The chip does not store your details directly so must be registered with a national database.
If you are unsure if your dog is microchipped or not then please have your dog checked by your vet – it shouldn’t cost you anything, and in many cases your vet will be able to instantly check registration details.
If you find they are not microchipped then it is relatively straightforward and cheap to rectify this.
Once implanted a microchip comes with free lifetime registration with a national database which because this is done electronically, registration is virtually instantaneous – no form filling!
You can even get ‘minichips’ that are 1/3 smaller than standard microchips – particularly useful for sensitive or small dogs. Please note that databases usually charge an administration fee for changing contact details although you may be able to upgrade to a ‘premium’ membership, which gives free changes for the lifetime of the animal.
If your dog has a microchip already and you have the registration documents you can easily check their status online or by phone – please find contact details for the most common databases below:
Database name Website Contact phone number
Petlog www.petlog.org 01296 336 579
Anibase www.anibase.com 01904 487600
PETrac www.pettrac.co.uk 0800 652 8 977 or 01273 408721
Pet Protect microchip.petprotect.co.uk 0800 077 8558
Pet Identity UK www.petidentityuk.info 0800 975 1960
If you are unsure which database your pet is registered with, but have their microchip number (e.g. in a vaccination certificate), then please visit www.check-a-chip.co.uk
Please don’t forget it’s not just dogs who can have a microchip implanted – although not legally required is really is a good idea for cats too – in fact most species can be microchipped – even parrots and tortoises!
Please be reassured that vets are not responsible for policing this new regulation, so concern over the lack of a microchip should never prevent an owner from seeking veterinary attention for a sick or injured animal.