The change in the law
What does the change in the law mean?
From the 6 April 2016 it became a legal requirement for all dogs over eight weeks of age to be microchipped, and for the details of the owner to be up-to-date and held by an approved database company. It is still a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar and tag with your contact details on when in public.
What will happen if I haven’t had my dog microchipped after the 6 April in England?
Its important to get your dog microchipped as soon as possible. If your dog is scanned and identified as having no microchip you will be served with a notice requiring them to be microchipped within 21 days. If your dog is not microchipped, or if your details are not up to date on the database after 21 days you will be liable to pay a fine of £500.
Does the change in the law affect cats, rabbits and other pets?
The change in the law will only apply to dogs. It’s still a great idea to have all your pets microchipped as it is the best way of you being reunited with them as quickly as possible should they become lost or stolen.
How microchipping works
How does a microchip work?
A microchip is a tiny radio chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under your dog’s skin between its shoulder blades. When this chip is scanned it shows their unique identification number. This identification number is logged on a national database, which can be matched against your contact details, so you can be reunited with your precious pooch.
Will it hurt my dog when they are microchipped?
No it does not hurt your dog – it’s similar to any other injection like a vaccination. Microchips are made of non-reactive material so don’t cause your dog any problems throughout their life.
Where can I get my dog microchipped?
All vets offer microchipping or can direct you to the best place local to you that does. Microchips should only be implanted by veterinary professionals or suitably qualified people.
PDSA offer microchipping at all our hospitals to eligible clients. Find out if you're eligible
We also offer microchipping to all dog owners as part of our PetCheck programme. It currently costs £10. Find out when PetCheck is in your area visit
How much does it cost?
The cost of having your dog microchipped varies and there may be a charity or event running in your local area offering microchipping at a reduced cost or even free.
Are my personal details safe on the database and who can contact me?
You supply all the details to the database company when the microchip is implanted. These usually include your name, address, phone numbers and details of your dog. These are held securely and only passed onto registered premises such as vets, dog wardens and re-homing centres in the event that your pet is handed in so that you can be contacted.
What if I move house or change my phone number?
It’s important to keep your details up to date, so if you move house or change your phone number you’ll need to contact the database company and let them know your new details.
You may have to pay to update your details.
You will find your dog’s microchip number along with the database company contact details on the original paperwork you were given when you had your dog microchipped, but if you have lost this, take your dog into any vets and they can scan the chip and let you know your microchip number.
The contact phone numbers for the main UK database companies are:
What should I do if I re-home or sell my dog?
- Anibase 01904 487600
- PetIdentity UK 01744 733229
- PetLog 0844 4633999
- Pet Protect 0800 0778558
- Pettrac 0800 6529977
- Smarttrac 0844 5420999
There is no need to replace or remove a microchip, it will last for your dog’s lifetime. You need to contact the database company to tell them you have re-homed your dog. If you give the new owners your dog’s microchip number they can contact the database company and get their details registered against the dog.
What should I do if my dog is lost or stolen?
If your dog becomes lost or is stolen, phone the database company your pet’s microchip is registered with and inform them as soon as possible. They will flag your pet’s details so that if they are scanned by a vet or re-homing centre they know to contact you straight away.
Can a microchip break?
Microchips are extremely tough and hardwearing and should last for your dog's life. They can sometimes migrate or move under the skin, a small distance away from where they are implanted. This will not hurt your pet and is completely normal. The chip will still be picked up by a scanner, as all around the neck, head, shoulders and back are scanned. The likelihood of a chip breaking or becoming faulty is extremely small. If you are worried about your dog’s microchip, or to check if it has migrated, you should book an appointment with your vet and they can check it for you.