Do I have to microchip my dog?
Although they can be done at any age, it’s usual to wait until a puppy is seven or eight weeks old to have it done.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny, computerised chip, about the size of a grain of rice. This chip contains a unique reference number, which will show the dog owner's contact details when scanned by a vet or dog warden.
How does a dog microchip work?
A microchip must always be inserted by a trained professional, most likely a vet. There is usually a charge, although some charities will carry this out for free. Your puppy will have its microchip inserted via a small needle in a tool called an inserter, and it will go into the scruff of the neck.
Some dogs find it slightly uncomfortable, but many don’t notice it, and once it’s in, your puppy won’t feel it. To begin with, the microchip will have the breeder’s contact details, ready for you to update with your own details once you bring your puppy home. If your dog gets lost and is brought into any vet, rescue centre or dog warden, dog tagging means they will be able to quickly scan your dog and immediately bring up your contact details.
Microchips and the law
Since April 2016, it has been the law that all dogs must be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks, and, in fact, there can be a fine of up to £500 if this isn’t done. In addition to a microchip, all dogs must also wear a collar and name tag.
Apart from being a legal requirement, microchips are a guaranteed way to ensure that your dog can always be returned to you if found. Even if they have lost their name tag or collar, it means your dog can always be identified.
Changing your puppy microchip details
When you first collect your puppy from the breeder or rescue centre, you should be given the microchip paperwork. This will include details of how to update microchip details with your address and phone number, and this will generally be done online or over the phone. As the new dog owner, it’s your responsibility to update the details, and sometimes there is a charge to do this. You will also need to ensure your details are updated should you move house or change your phone number.
If you are rehoming your dog, you need to make sure that you pass on the microchip paperwork to the new owner for them to update.
For further information and a list of all government-approved microchip databases, please click here: https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped
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