On the 6th of April 2016 microchip legislation for every dog owner in the country is changing… are you ready?
So first things first, what is microchipping?
Microchipping is a simple, safe and quick procedure whereby a small device the size of a grain of rice is implanted under your dog’s skin. In most cases it only every has to be done once, and once in place it can make all the difference in returning your dog to you should it ever stray or go missing.
How does a microchip help to reunite a lost pet?
Once your pet is microchipped, you and your pet’s details are stored in a database along with the microchip’s unique 15 digit code. When a missing pet is found, an authorised user (for example a vet or dog warden) will scan the pet revealing the microchip’s unique 15 digit code, and contact the microchip database who will then provide your details, so that you and your pet can be reunited.
So what has changed?
It used to be up to owners whether they wanted to microchip their dog or not, and whether they chose to keep their registration details up to date. But as of the 6th of April 2016, by law all dogs MUST be microchipped AND registered to an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old.
What is the minimum age a puppy has to be before being chipped?
Although there is no minimum age specified in the regulations, it is likely that most puppies won’t be chipped until they are at least 6 weeks of age. The puppy has to be microchipped and registered by the time they are 8 weeks old and it will be the breeder’s legal responsibility to initially get their puppies’ microchipped and registered.
In Scotland the only exemption to this rule is where a vet certifies that a dog should not be microchipped because it could adversely affect its health. In such cases a vet would have to certify that this was the case and state when the exemption expired. The dog would then need to be microchipped on the expiry of that time limited certificate unless a veterinarian issued a further exemption certificate.
So what happens when I acquire a puppy or a new dog?
The breeder will ALWAYS be the first registered owner of the puppy, even if a new keeper has already been arranged. But as soon as the dog is transferred to a new keeper they become liable for that dog. The new keeper should ensure the contact details on the microchip database are up to date when they acquire the puppy. The new keeper’s details can be updated either by the previous keeper/breeder, or the new keeper.
What if I already own a dog and it isn’t microchipped?
Then under the new proposals it will also need to be chipped and registered before the 6th of April 2016, unless your vet certifies otherwise.
How much does it cost to microchip my pet?
At Lamond vets we charge a one-off £12 fee for a microchip, or if you sign up to our practice plan the chip is free.
Is there a fine/penalty if I don’t get my dog microchipped?
Yes. Under the regulations, your dog is considered microchipped when you (1) implant the dog with a chip and (2) register your details on an approved database. If you do not get your dog microchipped OR your details registered on an approved database, then it will be considered as not complying with the regulations and a notice may be served. You then have 21 days to correct matters or you will be liable to pay a fine, or an enforcer can seize your dog and microchip it at your expense.
Is there a fine/penalty if I don’t keep my database details up to date?
Yes, if any keeper subsequently moves home, changes contact telephone number, etc. then the dog is no longer considered microchipped under the regulations and enforcement can be taken and a notice served. Once again you will 21 days after the served notice to correct things, or you will be liable to pay a fine.
How can I check the details on my dog’s microchip are up to date?
Checking details is easy – you will need your microchip number and the database that the chip is registered on. With this information you can simply log on to the relevant database website and check your details – if they do need amending you can also do this online (a small fee may apply – but this fee is usually a one off for a lifetime membership.)
What if I can’t remember my dog’s microchip number?
If you do not have the microchip number or do not know which database your pet is registered with simply ask your vet to scan your pet and they should be able to tell you which database that chip is registered to.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the staff at Lamond Vets and we will be happy to help.