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It’s National Microchip Month – are your pets microchipped?

7 June 2017

It’s National Microchip Month - Are your pets microchipped?


Following changes to the law in April last year, it is now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. The aim is to reduce the burden of stray dogs on local councils and animal charities, estimated to be approx. £33m per year. Compulsory microchipping also makes the theft of dogs more problematic, as identifying them is much easier.

Under the terms of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, all dogs over the age of eight weeks, which are not certified as working dogs, must be microchipped. In many cases, this means that breeders need to ensure that this is done before pups go to their new homes. Only in exceptional circumstances can a vet certify that a dog is medically unfit to be chipped. Owners of dogs who do not comply with the new regulations can be fined up to £500.

Microchipping involved the implantation of a small identity chip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades. This is done using a sterile needle and does not require an anaesthetic. Identity chips are coated in a bio-compatible glass which is the same as used for human pacemakers, so they should not cause any reaction.

What happens if my dog goes missing?
All establishments where stray dogs are routinely taken, including the local council, police and veterinary practices, have access to electronic scanners which read the identity chip’s unique fifteen-digit number. They then contact the relevant database to match the chip number with the owner’s contact details and quickly get in touch to let the owner know that the dog has been found. This can be done within minutes, but it is essential that you keep your contact details up to date by informing the database of any changes.

What about cats?
Cats are not currently covered by the new legislation which means that the decision to have them microchipped is still very much the owner’s choice. However, as they have such a tendency to roam (and to lose collars!), it is certainly something that we at Willows feel is very important.

What if I can’t remember whether my pet is microchipped or not?
It is very easy to check for a microchip using a scanner, so if you are unsure, let us know and we can arrange for a member of staff to scan your pet to check for a working chip. We always check for an existing chip before implanting a new one.

How do I arrange for my pet to be microchipped?
Implanting a microchip is a procedure that can be done in a routine consultation – please contact reception to book a slot.

For further information, please read our Pet Microchipping service.