It's always been a legal requirement for any dog to be identifiable, and the law still requires dogs to wear a collar and identity tag when out in a public place, but the legal requirement for microchipping is new.
On the face of it, that seems like a good enough idea. A microchip is the only means to definitively identify an animal, and is reckoned to be sufficiently secure to be the basis of identification for the pet passport scheme. So it's fine. A good idea all in all.
It means that if ever you and your dog are separated (whether lost or stolen), there's no argument about who's dog belongs to who. And then if there's any question of legal liability in case of a fight, bite or accident, the same applies. We do have to be responsible for our dogs and their behaviour.
Our only concern is that all dogs over the age of 8 weeks have to have a microchip and some of the 8 week old puppies that come into this clinic - and no doubt many others across the land - are still pretty tiny, the poor little mites.
There's us, going out of our way to try to make sure the whole vet experience is a nice one, so they don't become fearful, and then we have to spike them with a great big chip needle. Ouch. But that's the law so if your dog is not yet microchipped, get on with it before it becomes illegal not to.
Call us on 020 7723 0453 if you need any more information or need to have your dog microchipped - we have a special discount price available until the end of February. It can be done during a routine consultation.
Oh, and by the way, don't you love government legislation terminology? Here it is:
Obligation to microchip dogs
3.—(1) Subject to a certificate issued under paragraph (2) or (3), from 6th April 2016 every keeper of a dog which has not been implanted with a microchip by that date—
(a)which is older than 8 weeks; and
(b)which is not a certified working dog for the purposes of section 6(3) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006(1),
must ensure that it is microchipped.
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply for as long as a veterinary surgeon certifies, on a form approved by the Secretary of State, that a dog should not be microchipped for reasons of the animal’s health.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), from 6th April 2016 a keeper who imports a dog must ensure that the dog is microchipped in accordance with paragraph (5) within 30 days of importing the dog unless a veterinary surgeon certifies, on a form approved by the Secretary of State, that the dog should not be microchipped for reasons of the animal’s health.
(4) A certificate issued under paragraph (2) or (3) must state the period for which the dog will be unfit to be microchipped.
(5) A dog is microchipped where—
(a)a microchip which complies with regulation 4 has been implanted in the dog; and