Lost dogs currently cost UK taxpayers and animal charities a staggering £33 million a year so legislation is being introduced as from the 6th April 2016. This new legislation will mean that all dogs over the age of eight weeks old in England and Scotland will have to be microchipped. Failure to comply with this new legislation could result in a fine of up to £500 per dog.
The cost of microchipping can vary but the majority of vets and groomers will charge a fixed price to carry out the microchipping of your dog. Also some charities like Dogs Trust offer a free microchipping service, so it’s worth contacting your local Dogs Trust Charity to see if they would provide this free service to you.
The microchip itself is very small, about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under your dog’s skin in the shoulder blade area. The procedure is quick it only takes a matter of seconds and is relatively painless. It is believed that the sensation is similar to humans having their ears pierced and once the process is completed the dog will not even know that the chip is in place. There have been cases where the microchip has moved over time, so I personally always have my dog chip tested and checked when I take her to the vets for her annual boosters.
Every microchip has a unique 15-digit code, these are recorded on a national database along with the owners details which include your name, address and emergency contact telephone number. However it is the responsibility of the dogs owner to keep theses details up to date, some providers do charge an admin fee to change any details on the central database, but this is usually minimal and is well worth it.
If in the unfortunate event you and your dog get separated it will be a quick and simple process for a rescue shelter or vet to run a scanner over the dog and find your details enabling both you and your beloved pet to be reunited.
In the majority it is thought that this new legislation will be a good thing but some people have expressed concerns that it does not go far enough and that it has only been put into place to save money on the management of stray dogs. Currently there has been no advancement of making scanning and registration checks to help find missing and stolen dogs as compulsory processes. Vets and animal professionals should be made to do this at every check to ensure that the animal is with the person it is registered to. There are many loving dog owners out there who may have inadvertently purchased a stolen pet and having these checks in place would help to reunite many owners of stolen dogs with their missing family pets.