In February 2013 the government announced that every dog owner in England, Scotland and Wales would have to have their dog microchipped from April 6th 2016. The microchips will hold all of the owner’s details and aim to crack down on the number of strays. If you fail to comply, you could be hit with a fine of up to £500, so if you haven’t already had your four-legged friend chipped then make sure you do so before the rule change comes in next month.  So what do you need to know?

What do I need to do?

If you have a dog over the age of eight weeks you will need to have them microchipped and registered with your details, and keep these details up to date. Older dogs are not exempt from microchipping, but if they are in seriously ill health your vet can deem them to be exempt in writing. If you’re wondering where to go and have your dog chipped (and if it’s expensive) the Dog’s Trust will help you find somewhere to have it done completely free of charge. The process is simple and painless, and the chip itself is no bigger than a grain of rice.

How do they work?

Dog microchips do not act as GPS trackers. This means that if your dog is lost you won’t simply be able to locate them on a map.

Instead, it means that if your dog is found, and scanned with a handheld scanner, it should reveal a unique number that identifies you as the owner and allows you to be contacted, this is why it’s so important to keep your contact details up to date.

What if I don’t have my dog chipped?

If your dog still isn’t chipped after the law comes into effect on the 6th of April, you’re liable to be fined.

If the authorities find out your dog isn’t chipped they’ll initially serve you with a notice to have it done within the next 21 days, and if this is not complied with then you’ll face possible prosecution and up to a £500 fine.

Remember that as well as actually having the chip implanted, you’ll also have to have your own details registered on an approved database.

What if I’m buying from a breeder?

The onus will be on dog breeders to have the dogs chipped, not you as the customer.

What about collars and tags?

Regardless of whether your dog has been microchipped, it will still need to wear a collar and tag with your name and address engraved or written onto it.

While this may seem a bit unnecessary once your dog is chipped, dogs with collars and tags are usually returned much more quickly.

Did you know that you can also get personalised dog tags matched to your dog’s breed from sites such as

The government estimates that 100,000 dogs are either abandoned or lost every year, costing £57m of taxpayer money, and it’s hoped that these new rules will help reduce that burden and reunite more lost dogs with their owners.

So if you haven’t already had your pooch chipped, make sure you do in the next couple of weeks or you could be looking at a hefty fine!