With only just over 6 months until legislation comes into place making it a criminal offence to own a dog that has not been microchipped, a search of the Donaldson’s Vets database suggests that perhaps 35% of dogs in the area have not yet been microchipped.

It looks certain that, from 6 April 2016, the law on compulsory microchipping will come into force. This law will mean that any dog owner without a microchipped dog or where the microchip has not been registered on an approved database or where the appropriate contact details for the owner of the dog have not been registered, could suffer criminal prosecution.

The legislation has been much delayed but is aimed to encourage responsible dog ownership and should allow stray dogs to be re-united with their owners. A microchip will also prove ownership and responsibility in the case of an aggressive dog which can be a difficult issue currently for the Police or the RSPCA.

Awareness is still low of the legislative changes and Vets are trying to raise the profile of the requirement to avoid a last-minute panic in the run up to 6 April.

While many dogs have no chip at all, there are also many chips in circulation that have never been registered. Our policy at Donaldson’s is to register the chip on behalf of the owner but there are organisations in the area that implant chips but do not take on the registration process. All pet owners with registered microchips should have registration documentation from the microchip database. Without that documentation, it can be difficult to know if your dog is registered. Unfortunately, we often scan stray animals, find a chip, but find no record of ownership on the microchip database.

More pets still have been chipped but the owners have moved house or changed their contact telephone number but not updated the database. This too will lead to dog owners falling fowl of the law, and not being reunited with their missing pets.

Microchip implantation is a quick and straightforward process. The chips we use at Donaldson’s have a special coating to hold them in place and the implant needle is silicone coated to reduce discomfort during the implantation process. I would urge all pet owners to check their pet’s microchip status and contact their Vet’s should they be in any doubt.