As of the 6th of April 2016 all dogs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be legally required to be microchipped and their details registered on one of the authorised databases such as Petlog. Puppies must be chipped at the age of 8 weeks old. The idea behind this law is to encourage all dog owners to take responsibility for keeping their pet. Once chipped, you are legally obliged to keep your details up to date on the microchip database. Any failure to microchip and update data or failure to respond to an official warning to do so can result in a £500 fine for failure to comply.
Cats are currently not legally required to be microchipped.
The primary benefit of having your cat or dog microchipped is to help return your lost or stolen pet to you, once they are found. For this to work it is vitally important to keep your address, phone number and owner information records up to date with the microchip database. Shockingly, the National Dog Warden Association reports that around 40% of the dogs it deals with are chipped but have missing or inaccurate information on the database.
What does it involve?
Your vet will be able to place a microchip during a routine consultation appointment. The microchip is applied using an applicator to deliver the microchip through a needle, under the skin in the region between the shoulder blades. The microchips are quite small, approximately the size of a large grain of rice. Most pets tolerate the procedure very well, remember to take a tasty treat to reward them afterwards!
While the majority of dogs can be safely implanted with a microchip before 8 weeks of age some vets may not be comfortable placing a microchip in very small breed puppies, due to their size. In this case, your vet may decide to fill out a temporary exemption certificate and allow the puppy an additional period of time to grow. Your vet may also choose to write an exemption certificate if your dog is suffering from a severe illness, infection or injury at the site of microchipping, or from blood clotting abnormalities.