Vets are using National Microchip Month to advise owners of almost two million dogs that they have less than 12 months to microchip their pets.
From April 6 2016 it will be compulsory for all dogs aged eight weeks and over in England and Scotland to be microchipped. It is already law in Northern Ireland, and Wales is due to introduce the legislation in the near future.
Current figures suggest 80 per cent of dogs are currently microchipped, but it still leaves approximately 1.8 million pet dogs needing to be microchipped in the next 10 months.
The microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice, will need to be officially registered with an approved microchip database, which will hold it along with up-to-date information about the dog and its owner’s contact details.
Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “We think National Microchip Month is an ideal time to provide dog owners with an early advisory notice of an important date for pet owners’ diary in 2016 – compulsory microchipping of dogs.
“All dog owners and breeders must keep these details up-to-date and only dogs that are deemed unfit by a qualified vet are exempt from having a microchip implanted.
“A sterile microchip is inserted painlessly under the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades and takes seconds to complete, meaning a dog can be in and out of a practice within a few minutes. A microchip is designed to last the lifetime of a dog.
“Microchips offer a quick, effective and permanent way of making sure your pet is always identifiable and that you can be contacted in the event of them being lost and subsequently found.
“Dog rescue centres, dog wardens and vets scan every stray or unidentified dog that is presented to them. An owner’s details are kept on a central computer, resulting in a quick and happy reunion should a dog become lost.“But owners must make sure that if they change their telephone number or move house that these details are updated on the central database; details of how to do this will be sent with the registration certificate.”
Microchipping is not restricted to dogs. Only 50 per cent of cats (four million) are microchipped compared to 80 per cent of dogs.
Dr Stacey said: “If all owners microchip their pets it will make reuniting lost pets and their owners a much easier process.
“But for the time being it’s important that dog owners are aware of the new legislation and have enough time to microchip their pet.”
If your dog is already microchipped and you have lost or forgotten the details or database where the information is stored, visit www.vets4pets.com/thevetreport/#28 to find out how to retrieve them.