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Keep Track: Microchip your dog

From 6th April 2016 it will be compulsory to microchip all dogs in England, Scotland, and Wales. So here's a bit more information about the process, and what you need to do.

What is a microchip?

The size of a grain of rice, a microchip is usually implanted in the scruff of the neck. Its unique number sits in a central database, along with your contact details.

When do I need to microchip my dog?

By the 6th April 2016, you must microchip all dogs aged 8 weeks or over.

What happens if I don't microchip my dog?

If you haven't microchipped your dog by the 6th April 2016, you'll get a penalty notice. If you don't microchip your dog within 21 days of getting this, you may need to pay a fine of up to £500.

What if my details aren't up to date?

It's important to make sure the details on the central database are correct. If they're not, you could get a penalty notice, followed by a fine.

If you've inherited a dog with a microchip and aren't sure how to update the details, speak to your vet. They can scan your dog and give you the existing registration details. You can also visit and check your pet's details.

How do I get my dog microchipped?

All vets - and some charities – will microchip dogs of any age.

My dog is small - will he be ok?

Vets are able to microchip tiny animals such as tortoises and birds with no problem. Modern microchip needles are now much smaller than they used to be. Plus, there are few nerve endings in the neck, where the chip is inserted.

In my experience, most puppies don't mind the needle, especially if they're distracted with food.

Could a microchip harm my dog?

You might see some bruising on your dog's neck, and this area may be sensitive for a few days. Although infection is a possibility, it rarely happens. You can reduce the risk of infection by dabbing some surgical spirit on the skin before the procedure.

The chip may move from its original location. If this happens, just make a note on your microchip paperwork. This way, the chip can be found in the future.

Are there any reasons my dog can't be microchipped?

Only for health reasons. You'll need a vet's certificate stating this in order for your dog to be exempt.

Can microchips fail?

Yes, but rarely. It's worth asking your vet to check your dog's microchip when you visit, just to make sure it's working. You must report any chip failures to DEFRA. 

If you have questions about microchipping, dont forget you can ask our team of vets through the our Ask the Vet email service.