Do Dogs Need to be Microchipped and Wear ID Tags?

In the UK it has been compulsory and part of UK law to microchip all puppies and dogs over eight weeks old since 2016, so it’s important you check this has been done already if you have recently welcomed a new puppy or dog to your family. If your dog has already been microchipped it is important (and a legal requirement) to ensure you update the details. Your dog should also wear an ID tag in addition to being microchipped as this is also a legal requirement.  We are going to explain what the requirements are, how to know if your dog is microchipped, how to get your dog microchipped and why it’s important below.  

Legal Requirements in the UK for Dog Microchipping & Tags

As mentioned above, dog microchipping was introduced into UK law in 2016 under ‘The Microchipping Regulations 2015’, which state that ‘from 6th April 2016, subject to exceptions, all keepers of dogs in England must have their dog microchipped with their details and their dog’s details recorded on a database’. Full details of the law can be read on the UK Government website here. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own regulations so it is worth checking those seperately for any exceptions, but at the time of writing, there was the same requirement for dogs (subject to exceptions) over eight weeks old to be microchipped. If your dog is not microchipped you can be fined up to £500.

It is also a legal requirement for dogs to wear ID tags, although this has been a requirement for much longer, since 1992, under The Control of Dogs Order 1992. We look at the dog ID tag legal requirement and also what to put on a dog tag in the UK in more detail here.

What is a Microchip

A microchip is a very small electronic device (often described as being around the size of a grain of rice) that can be scanned with a microchip reader and is used to identify your furry friend. 

How Do I Know If My Dog is Microchipped

It’s likely that if you have adopted from a rescue centre, or bought your dog from a responsible breeder, your dog will already be microchipped, as it’s not common for dogs less than 8 weeks old to go to new homes. When you adopt or buy your dog you should be given a microchip certificate or it could be recorded on another document, such as a pet passport, vet record or insurance documents. If you aren’t given your dog’s microchip number you should ask for it from the animal rescue centre or breeder. Once you know the microchip number and database it’s registered to, you should update the details and ensure you keep them up to date. Microchip databases normally charge a small fee for updating contact details or an upfront fee to make multiple changes over a period of time. If you do find yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure if your dog is microchipped, you can take them to your local vet where they can scan to see if there is one. If you find a stray dog, you can take them to your local dog warden, animal rescue centre or local vet where they can scan the dog to see if they have a microchip. Once you know the microchip number you can use a website, such as the Kennel Club’s Petlog website or Identibase, to check which database the microchip number is registered on. You should make sure that any microchip database you use is government approved.

How Do I Microchip My Dog

If you do need to get your dog microchipped, you can take them to your local vet. Some local councils and animal charities will also be able to microchip your dog and sometimes this can be free of charge or for a small fee, so it’s worth finding out what your local options are, just be sure they are a qualified professional. The microchip itself is inserted by a painless injection under the skin in between your furry friend's shoulder blades. This will feel no different to any other injection that your dog may have as part of his or her usual health regime.

What Are the Benefits of Microchipping Your Dog

It’s important to keep your dog’s contact details up to date on your microchip database so that if your dog goes missing or is stolen, you have the best chance of being reunited. Don’t forget to do the same with their ID tag and ensure all the contact details are up to date. Dog ID tags are much more accessible to read than a microchip, as you don’t need a microchip scanner, but it’s super important to keep both up to date in case your dog loses their ID tag or if it’s removed from their collar. This will give you the best possible chance of being reunited with your furry friend as quickly as possible. It is also worth noting that if you plan to travel or move abroad your dog will require a microchip and it should meet ISO standards.

Dog ID tag in solid brass by Noggins & Binkles

Noggins & Binkles solid brass dog ID tag with personalised engraving

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