Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Microchipping Dogs Is Now Mandatory in the UK

As of April 6th, 2016 it is mandatory to microchip all dogs in the UK (United Kingdom; England, Scotland, and Wales).  Ireland has also adopted mandatory microchipping.  Could the U.S. be far behind in enacting similar legislation?

Microchipping of all dogs in the UK is now mandatory
Puppies in the UK must now be microchipped by 12 weeks of age
This legislation was spearheaded by the Microchipping Alliance, which includes the BVA (British Veterinary Association), The Kennel Club (of UK), the Dogs Trust, and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

All puppies in the UK must now be microchipped and registered with an authorized microchip database by the time they are 8 weeks old, 12 weeks for certain working dogs.  Dog owners will be fined 500£, about $700 US, for non compliance if they fail to microchip their dogs! 

Dog owners are required to keep their dog's microchip information updated.  If someone sells or transfers ownership of their dog to someone else, they are responsible for making the updates on the transfer of their dog's ownership on the microchip database.

As of April, 2016 all puppies in the UK must be microchipped by the age of 12 weeks
By making microchipping mandatory for all dogs in the UK, the hope is that fewer dogs will end up in shelters
There are no standard exemptions for microchipping.  If a dog needs to be exempted from getting chipped for health reasons, their Veterinarian must submit a Certificate of Exemption Form.  The form must be submitted to DEFRA, the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs.

KEY BENEFITS THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, ANIMAL WELFARE, AND VETERINARY ORGANIZATIONS HOPE TO SEE BY MANDATORY MICROCHIPPING OF ALL DOGS ARE:

** Increase the odds of lost or stolen dogs being returned home.

** Reduce the number of dogs in animal shelters by aiding in the return of lost or stolen dogs.

** Reduce the burden & cost borne by animal control and animal sheltering entities.

** Hold puppy breeders accountable for the puppies they produce, addressing the issue of Puppy Farming (Puppy Mills), in the UK.  Breeders must microchip puppies before transferring them to their first owner.

** Hold dog owners more accountable for the care they provide to their dogs.

** Help identify and trace animal cruelty offenders.

You may be wondering how the new microchip laws will be enforced and by whom?  Police and other local authorities will have microchip readers on hand in order to enforce microchip laws.  So if you're strolling around Trafalgar Square with your dog off leash, a police officer just might grab him and scan to ensure he's been chipped!


I'm microchipped!  Are you?
Microchipping isn't required by law in the U.S. like it is in the UK, but I'm microchipped
Some people worry about potential health issues due to microchipping.  Specifically, cancers developing at the site of chip injection.  We don't have mandatory reporting on microchipping incidents in the U.S.  There also don't seem to be valid medical or scientific studies, at least not that I could find, that either link microchips to cancer or dispel the notion that they can contribute to cancer or other serious conditions. 

There does seem to be agreement among several medical professionals on one case I read about, a French Bulldog named Leon.  It is believed Leon developed cancer at the site of his microchip installation.  When the tumor was removed, the chip was found embedded into it.

I recently read on PETMD, by Dr. Patty Khuly: "...with every medical implant, there's always a risk.  And the risk-benefit ratio must be weighed accordingly, with all the information at our disposal".  I think that makes sense, do you agree?

Veterinarians in the UK are required to report adverse reactions of microchips.  They must submit a Microchip Adverse Event Reporting Form to the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate), a division of DEFRA. 

However, there doesn't seem to be any penalty to Veterinarians for not reporting on microchip failures, unless there are found to be repeated failures that go unreported by that Veterinarian.  The form lists microchip "Adverse Reaction" choices as; Reaction, Migration, or Failure. 

Microchipping helps get more lost dogs back home!
Huskies are hard wired to RUN! Icy is microchipped just in case the unthinkable should happen.  It can help her get back home to us.
Note: English, Scottish, and Welsh microchip legislation and processes have a couple of minor differences.  I've also learned that Ireland has enacted mandatory microchip law as well.

I'd love to hear from some of our British friends in the Comments.  How do you feel about this new law, are you happy about it or do you resent having a microchipping law imposed on you?  What do your friends and family with dogs think about it?  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!

I'd like to hear from our American friends in the Comments as well.  Would you like to see dog microchipping become mandatory in the U.S.? Or would you oppose the microchipping of all dogs made mandatory?  How does your Veterinarian feel about microchipping? 

Please leave a comment with your thoughts.  We always love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy reading about how to Protect Your Dog Against HEARTWORM DISEASE  OR  How PROBIOTICS can help your dog's upset stomach.


Information SOURCES for this blog post:
Microchipping Fact Sheet from the Kennel Club (UK) provides a good overview of the new requirements.
You can read the detail of the UK's Microchipping Legislation here.



59 comments:

  1. Wow, I can't wait to hear everyone's responses! My dogs have been microchipped but I really like the new technology coming out as well like PetHub & Whistle. Shasta is wearing both in addition to his Microchip.

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    1. I'm really interested to hear what everyone thinks as well. It's quite a bold move making it law. I really like PetHub as well and I got tags for both my dogs, in addition to microchipping them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Denise!

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  2. I think it would be a great idea! We have so many lost and homeless dogs and I feel that it would help in that regard. Personally, I like the bit of protection it gives in case mine were to get lost.

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    1. I like the peace of mind of microchipping my dogs too (I chipped my cat as well). I'm interested to hear what others think about it and how the new law impacts (or doesn't impact) the numbers of dogs that enter shelters.

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  3. All my pets are microchipped. Here in Canada it is not law, but I can see the benefits of it. I have not heard of any health issues of a pet being microchipped, but I do know that my cats chip has migrated down his shoulder.

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    1. Mine are chipped too. I was wondering about Canada and whether or not they may also adopt the law at some point. My Husky's chip had also migrated, but my Vet is always able to find it - I make him check it every year, I think he thinks I'm a little excessive, LOL!

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  4. My dog and Karma-Kat are both michrochipped. When I wrote about the procedure for a number of 'pet press' venues, at the time there were concerns about potential associated tumors but no real cause-effect cases. There was more concern about migrating chips, which can happen so even though the pet has a chip, it moves and can't be found. I believe companies are addressing those concerns. Interesting article--not sure if this would ever happen in the US...we love our independence too much! even mandating spay/neuter hasn't been done. *s*

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    1. There are still a lot of folks concerned about potential tumors and the one case I mentioned above (Leon) is believed by several professionals to have a direct correlation to his chip. Chips do migrate, but you can still find them if you scan properly. I believe most shelters do a full body scan, mine does. My Husky's chip migrated and my Vet always finds it, I make him check it annually. True, spay/neuter hasn't become mandatory here. Many people would oppose it. Thanks for weighing in on this Amy!

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  5. It's so interesting that UK has made in mandatory! Most (good) rescues in the US microchip all animals before they leave rescue...

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    1. It is very interesting, I'm anxious to see published results of shelter intake numbers a year or so down the line. I hope it lowers the number of dogs that end up in shelters. Sadly, not all shelters here microchip. Municipal shelters often don't have the funds. The one I volunteer at doesn't chip unless we get a donation that's specifically earmarked for chipping. Even then it's only for a small number of pets. I wish we could microchip them all!

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  6. I think it should be mandatory everywhere in the world just like mandating spay/neuter for pets. It helps solve many issues and the benefits of promoting accountable and responsible pet ownership is a must. Haven't heard anything against microchipping personally, but I'm sure there are people against it.

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    1. Yes, there are people against both microchipping as well as spay/neuter. Personally I'm a supporter of both of these, I wish everyone would chip and spay/neuter their pets.

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  7. I read about this recently and even though I had Haley microchipped, I have mixed feelings about it being mandatory. It sounds like complications and tumors are rare but if it were your dog that had an issue, I can understand the reluctance to have it done again with another dog.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the mandatory aspect of chipping. I'd live to see everyone chip their pets for safety and accountability. You have to weigh the potential small risk vs. the benefit of chipping. I like the mandatory aspect but I can understand why some people don't. I think shelter pets should all be chipped before being placed in a home though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

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  8. I think it is so important to have you pet micro chipped, Layla is and it helps me relax when I am not at home just in case there is an earthquake

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    1. It's important to me that my pets are all chipped. Great point about earthquakes or other natural disasters, thanks for bringing that up! Many pets get lost during emergency situations and collars can easily get lost under those conditions. Thanks Ruth!

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  10. That's interesting that the UK made it mandatory...micro chipping sounds like a good idea overall though.

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    1. I was surprised they were able to get it made mandatory, I'm not sure that would be so easy in the U.S. I chipped my dogs & cat, it's so important. It's disheartening when a pet enters the shelter without a collar/tags, you scan them & and they're not chipped. In 4 days that dog gets adopted by someone else - if they're lucky.

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  11. We say yay to microchipping. Interesting that it is mandatory

    Lily & Edward

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    1. I'm a fan of microchipping myself. It is really interesting that the UK has made it mandatory.

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  12. I'd be for mandatory microchipping. I see so many dogs wandering loose without tags... or chips. There are some slight risks but I believe it's outweighed by the greater good. Mr. N had to get re-chipped because they couldn't find his chip. I don't know if it migrated or they never properly inserted it.

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    1. Oh wow, I'm sorry Mr. N had to be rechipped, but I'm glad he has a working chip now. That's scary! I have chipped my dogs, and I chipped my 15 yr. old cat after volunteering at the shelter & seeing all the heartbreak of lost unchipped pets.

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  13. My pets are chipped (cats and dogs), but I never would have if not for my corgi's breeder requiring it several years ago (then I followed suit with all the rest). All our local shelters chip animals before they're adopted out. I've reunited two lost animals with their people as a result of a chip. They're a wonderful thing. Not sure there will ever be a lw for it in the U.S., though.

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    1. I chip all mine too. Unfortunately, our county shelter doesn't chip adopted pets unless a sponsor steps up to do so. I'm glad so many others do though. I think spay/neuter will become law before microchipping ever would in the US.

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  14. Well you said you wanted to hear from some American Friends .. . so here goes! I am not a huge fan of the government being able to force people into doing something. All of my dogs are micro-chipped, and we actually have them scanned each time we go to the vet to make sure they are still working. I think micro-chipping your pet is very important (cats and dogs). But just pitting the chip in is not enough! You have to keep them updated, make sure your information is always up to date (if you move, change a phone number), and make sure they are still working!

    I just wish people would be responsible enough to do this on their own, without having to make it a law.

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    1. I am a big supporter of microchipping & I chip my pets. You're right, it's so important to keep the information updated. Many people move, the connection is broken and the chip is worthless. Many people don't like the fact that government forces owners into microchipping. I have mixed feelings about it but I lean more to the side of allowing it for the sake of the animals. I doubt it will be law in the US anytime soon though.

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  15. Canadian here (kind of half British/half American teehee) - both mine are microchipped because of the rescues policy. I would want some studies on cancer vs return rates . . . I like the cost-benefit analysis.

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    1. LOL, I think of Canadians as half American too! We're so much alike! I'd like to see more info on the health impacts as well, but I do chip my pets.

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  16. Our Huskies and cat are all microchipped (and spayed/neutered) by choice. I understand how making it mandatory will certainly help lost & found pets...and I also agree with Jessica's point that I wish people would take on the responsibility themselves and not have to have it be mandated. However, that said, we know how so many choice things can go by the wayside, and in my opinion, sometimes mandatory, like now in the UK, for the benefit of the animals well-being, is a necessary move to try and help the large numbers of lost/found pets and overcrowding of shelters.

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    1. I wish everyone would be more responsible too, but that's unfortunately not the case. I'm glad that many shelters microchip, that's such a great thing. It definitely has an impact on shelter crowding. A chipped pet can get home fast!

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  17. None of mine are microchipped. I would like to see more studies done as a dog or cat ages, it makes me a little nervous.

    I know they do microchip all now when they are adopted from the shelter. But the microchip only serves a purpose if it is updated and the person finding a lost dog or cat knows to get the pet scanned. That being said, I'm still on the fence about this topic.

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    1. Yes, it's critical that people keep their address updated when they move. I always check my chip information and make sure they're working. I'd like to see more studies on the safety of them as well, but so far it seems like the risks are very small so I'm glad I microchip.

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  18. I know that microchips can be very useful to reunite pets with their people.

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    1. Yes, they certainly can. It's so joyful when you know a pet is chipped and their owner is on the way to pick them up from the shelter!

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  19. Both my dogs are microchipped and I'm really thankful they are. Last week we found a lost dog and took it to the vet to be scanned and sure enough there was a chip so we were able to reach the owners fast!

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    1. Wonderful!! I'm so glad you were able to help a lost dog get home by scanning for a microchip. Kudos to you for caring enough to do that for someone's dog!

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  20. That is wonderful! I've been chipped all my life and it's just an extra precaution if your pup goes missing. One thing we found is not all facilities have the chip reader or they can be hard to find due to moving around. But it is wonderful!!! :)

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    1. I chip all my pets too now, after volunteering at the shelter & seeing so much heartbreak! All Vets and shelters should have a scanner, shame on them if they don't!

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  21. I know microchipping is important, but with the advice of my vet, we've chosen not to microchip Truffle and Brulee at this time. Truffle's only littermate died of a sarcoma at the vaccination site at 11 weeks of age, which was very rare. Our vet found one study where rats developed a sarcoma from a microchip. We're going to continue to follow the research before making a final decision.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about Truffle's littermate, that is awful! Yes, rats have died, I read that rats actually grow tumors faster & more readily. I would follow my Vets advice, that's always best. Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts on this, Paula.

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  22. I am not for mandatory chipping. I'm not a fan of the government having their fingers in every pie when it comes to the aspects of my life. I want to research and choose what works best for my pet, not because it's the law. I feel the same about spaying and neutering.

    That's coming from a US blogger with two chipped and spayed/neutered pets. The third has an appointment in two weeks to be chipped, and is intact for at least another 6 months.

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    1. I know many people get sick of government interfering in every choice. I do wish more people were as responsible as you and I with their pets. I do like the idea that many shelters (sadly, not all) microchip pets they adopt out, I wouldn't mind that being mandatory at all!

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  23. I believe in micro chipping andPet Hub, and anything else that will help me if I became separated from my dogs.

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    1. I'm a big fan of microchipping too, and I got some PetHub tags last year which I won on Fidose of Reality - they're terrific!

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  24. I think this is great! I can't see the US following any time soon...it would probably be by state too. Most shelters and rescues already microchip their dogs now though! Both my babies are microchipped!

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    1. I agree, it doesn't seem likely that the US will do it and it probably would be on a state by state basis. Many shelters don't microchip the pets they adopt out, they don't have the funding. The shelter I volunteer for in Phoenix is one of the largest in the country & they don't microchip the pets we adopt out. They offer low cost chipping but it's not mandatory. I chip my pets.

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  25. I wish that it would become mandatory but I don't expect it anytime soon. Microchipping reunites families with their pets. ♥

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    1. I just wish more people would be responsible with their pets! I also wish every shelter or rescue had mandatory microchipping.

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  26. Personally, I think micro-chipping should become mandatory if only for the ability to link a dog and rabies vaccine together.

    Another benefit would be the inability to dump a dog by the side of the road without being responsible for the crime.

    I wish the US would take up a similar law.

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    1. That's a good point Erin, linking rabies vaccine to microchipping. I do like anything that prevents someone from dumping or otherwise abusing a pet without accountability! We'll see if the US decides to jump in as well, although I doubt it would happen anytime soon.

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  27. Such a great initiative in the UK - hopefully it'll help reunite more lost dogs with their parents.

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    1. Definitely, I'm sure it will. So many times my heart breaks when a dog comes into the shelter with no tags and no microchip.

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  28. I wish it was mandatory in the US. It will avoid so many heartbroken pet parents

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    1. That it would! I'd like to see every shelter & rescue microchip and more owners seriously discuss microchipping with their Veterinarian.

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  29. This is such a great idea to do! This would probably save rescues a lot of time, work, and energy when it comes to having strays brought in. It would also save family members a lot of angst and heartbreak when a pet escapes.

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    1. Oh absolutely, on both counts! Less heartbreak and less time & work to get a lost pet back home!

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  30. Did you want to hear from Australia???? It is law here in most states and rescue groups won't adopt out pets without microchipping & desexing first. The downside is that there are too many separate databases, having them all unified would be much more efficient. I didn't realise it wasn't law in the USA. I hope it passes there too.
    Annette @PetsAreFound

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    1. Of course I want to hear from our Aussie friends, Annette! It's so funny, I didn't know it WAS law there and you didn't know it WASN'T law here in the US, LOL! We need to talk more! It's too bad all your dbases are not linked, that would really help. Thanks so much for joining the conversation on this, it's great hearing from you!

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