As well as being a legal requirement, microchipping your dogs means they can be easily identified should they ever go missing.
What is a dog microchip?
A microchip is a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice. It contains a unique code that links to your pet’s details, including their owner’s name, address and phone number, which are stored on the microchip database.
Should your dog ever need to be identified by a vet or rescue centre, their microchip can be scanned to display their details. This is often the only way to return lost or stolen dogs back to their owner.
As of 2016, it’s a legal requirement that all dogs over the age of eight weeks are microchipped.
Inserting a microchip
A microchip can be inserted by your vet or rescue service using a specially designed tool that injects the microchip under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades.
No anaesthetic is needed to insert a microchip and most dogs don’t even notice it being done.
The benefits of a microchip
Unlike a collar and nametag which can be removed, a microchip is a permanent form of identification for your dog. Many pets who are found without a microchip are unable to be returned their owner and often end up rehomed.
As long as you keep your details up to date, your dog can be identified and you can be contacted straight away, alleviating unnecessary stress for both you and your pet.
Is there a GPS chip for dogs?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have a GPS tracker implant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the size of even the smallest GPS tracker is too large to be implanted under the skin. Secondly, most GPS trackers have an integrated battery which not only needs regular charging but could also cause health risks if embedded into your pet.
You can, however, invest in a GPS tracker which clips to your dog’s collar. Although they can be costly and need regular charging, they allow you to track their location. It’s important to remember that these GPS trackers aren’t a substitute for an up-to-date microchip.
What’s the law around dog microchips?
As of 6 April 2016, all dogs are required to be microchipped and owners are legally required to keep their details up to date.
It’s also a legal requirement for all breeders to microchip and register their own details to a puppy before they’re sold. Once you’ve picked up your new puppy, you’ll need to apply for a transfer of keepership and register their microchip to your details. You’ll need to contact the microchip database to do this. Remember, it’s against the law for your breeder to offer to microchip and register it directly to your name.
If your dog is over the age of eight weeks and isn’t microchipped, or if your details aren’t up to date on the database, you could face a fine of up to £500.