A new law to microchip your dog comes in to force on 6th April 2016. The legislation will create a central database listing every dog in the United Kingdom.
The measures are designed to crack down on vicious or illegal dogs as well as help animals who have become lost.
Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)’s companion animals department, said: “We believe compulsory microchipping is a step in the right direction and, if implemented effectively, could lead to significant benefits to dog owners and their pets – for example reuniting them more quickly if they become lost or stray.
Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33 million per year. A microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner.
Microchipping will reduce the burden on animal charities and local authorities and help protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.
As part of the new law, it will also be a requirement for pet-owners and breeders to keep their registered details up to date. This includes if you move house or change your telephone number.
Dr Gaines, said: “A critical issue will be ensuring people keep their contact details and information up-to-date on the databases, for example if they change address or phone number. This has been a real challenge in the past.
“Although compulsory microchipping is a positive scheme, it isn’t the answer to all dog issues such as attacks on people and other dogs.”
What happens when your dog is microchipped?
Your dog’s microchip is given a number, which will show up whenever your dog is scanned.
The professional who microchips your dog will also take your contact details.
These details are kept alongside the microchip number on a database, so that your dog can be returned to you if it’s lost or stolen.
Your dog must still wear a collar and tag with your name and address when in a public place.
Contact the database company your dog is registered with to update any of your details.
Rebecca Turner, 23, is a dog trainer at Oakwood Dog Rescue in Hull. She said it was important to keep your microchip details up to date.
She said: “I know that a lot of people have 10 to 12 year old dogs who believe that they’ll never go missing.
“It’s important to keep their details up to date because what you find is that people get them chipped and then move across country.”
Owners who fail to get their dog microchipped could face a £500 fine or criminal prosecution.