Do dogs have to be microchipped?

Anna Maxwell Martin is interrupted by dog during interview

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Dogs are one of Britain’s favourite pets. Around 24 percent of UK pet owners have a dog. The number of pets being stolen during the coronavirus pandemic has jumped with dog theft rising by a fifth in one year. Dogs became hugely popular during Covid with more than two million people buying pets for the first time during the pandemic.

What is a microchip?

A pet microchip is a tiny computer chip which is around the size of a grain of rice.

This microchip contains a unique code which matches up to your pet’s information.

Microchipping a dog is a quick and simple procedure where the chip is placed under the dog’s skin, usually around the scruff of the neck, using a needle.

Do dogs have to be microchipped?

Dog microchipping became compulsory in 2016.

Under those laws, all owners must ensure their dog is microchipped and their details are kept up to date.

This means the 10.1 million dogs in the UK can be returned to their owners more quickly if they wander too far from home.

It is also easier to track down the owners of dogs who carry out attacks on other people.

All dog breeders are responsible for ensuring their puppies are microchipped before selling them.

Puppies cannot be sold until they reach eight weeks old and must be microchipped before they are sold on.

If you buy a puppy, it is best to make sure it is microchipped before you take it home.

Breeders must register their details on the database to be recorded against the microchip for the life of the dog.

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How much does it cost to microchip your dog?

You can usually arrange to microchip your dog at your local vet.

Prices vary for this service, but you can usually undertake it for around £15.

Some animal charities may offer the service for free.

What happens if you do not microchip your dog?

If you fail to microchip your dog, you could be served with a notice requiring you to do so.

You will then have 21 days to undertake this or you may be liable to pay a £500 fine.

Those who fail to microchip their dog could be forced to pay a fine of £500.

How to check if your dog microchip details are up to date and how do you change them?

You should receive information from the database your dog’s details are registered with when the dog is microchipped.

You can check if the details are correct using this database.

If you do not have a certificate with the registration details, you can check which database the chip is with here.

If you move addresses or change your name, you must update your dog’s details too.

You can get in touch with the database either online, on the phone or by post.

Some pet microchip databases will charge an admin fee of between £6 and £20 to update your dog’s details.

If you do not keep your details up to date, the chances of you being reunited with your pet if they go missing significantly decrease.

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