Microchip Laws are changing – don’t get caught out!
Lots of dog owners are not aware that as from the 6th of April 2016 it will be a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. Figures from the PDSA suggest that as many as one in six dogs is currently not microchipped. Even if your dog IS microchipped you could still run afoul of the law so please read on.
What is a microchip and how does it work?
A microchip is a safe and permanent way of identifying your pet. Unlike collars which could be removed and tattoos which fade or can be altered, a microchip is essentially impossible to tamper with. Microchips are tiny devices which are implanted under the skin and carry an internationally unique code which can only be read by a special scanner. This code is registered on a database with the information you choose to supply. Only specifically licensed people can access the database so your details are kept safe.
Whilst the change in law applies only to dogs, many types of pets can be microchipped and indeed some rare and exotic pets must be microchipped under CITES rules. Of course it is a very good idea to microchip cats too as they are prone to wandering and to losing collars!
Microchips are usually implanted consciously. At Winton Lodge we use the smallest size of microchip available which means the needle is smaller and the implanting less painful. Most animals tolerate it very well.
How has the law changed?
All dogs over the age of 8 weeks must be microchipped and registered. If a dog is scanned by a local authority and found not to have a chip then the keeper of the dog will be served a notice to get the dog chipped within 30 days. Failure to do this would result in a criminal record and a £500 fine.
My dog is already chipped – does the law affect me?
Yes it does! Not only must the dog be chipped but the database records must be up to date. Microchips must be registered to what the law calls the “keeper” – the individual with whom the dog currently resides. If the record is inaccurate the law will regard the dog as NOT chipped even if one is implanted.
Luckily chip failures are very rare but should this have happened you would of course also be in breach of the law. At Winton Lodge we have long made a point of scanning every pet at the time of booster vaccinations so if your pet’s vaccines are up to date chances are the microchip is working too!
How do I check if my chip is working and registered correctly?
To check the registration details you can get the id chip number from the paperwork you were issued – or alternatively pop down to the practice to have your pet scanned. At Winton Lodge we use the biggest database nationally which is Petlog – so if we implanted your chip you can then enter the number into the Petlog database here: https://www.petlog.org.uk/pet-owners.aspx . Using your Petlog ID (found on the confirmation email or paperwork) you can check your details are current. If they are not they can be updated here: Update your contact details
What about new puppies?
Under the new law all dogs must be microchipped and the chips registered by eight weeks of age. This means that most if not all puppies will initially be registered to the breeder as they would be the keeper at the time. These details would then need to be changed by the new owner. A change of ownership form should be supplied by the breeder. Alternatively it can be done online as above.
How are Winton Lodge helping with the new change of laws?
At Winton Lodge we will be running a campaign to help get pets microchipped during the month of March. Not only will there be a 20% discount off all microchips but we will also do a free health check at the same time. This applies to cats as well as dogs – we don’t want our feline friends to be left out! Please call us to arrange an appointment for this on 01372 722313 for Epsom, 01372 360699 for Leatherhead.
If you are worried about whether your pet’s microchip is still working feel free to pop down to the clinic and we can quickly scan your pet for you – free of charge!
The new laws do not change the fact that it is still a legal requirement for all dogs to wear a collar with a tag with the owner’s contact information on. We can have these engraved for you at Winton lodge if you need one.