Microchipping – The Hidden Costs and Everything You Need To Know About the New Regulations

From 6th April 2016 it becomes compulsory under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 that all dogs are microchipped. But with only a few months to go before the legislation comes into force there is still much confusion and lack of understanding about the law and particularly the hidden charges that so many people are now beginning to discover. So before you go rushing out to chip your dogs ahead of the legislation deadline, there are a few things you really should know. Here I will explain the new regulations and provide some information about microchipping and some of the hidden costs associated with it.

What is a microchip and how does it work?

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A microchip is a small electronic component, about the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted subcutaneously (under the dog’s skin). The RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip contains a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Contrary to common belief, the microchip does not continuously emit a radio frequency signal. When the scanner is close enough to a microchip, the scanner energizes the microchip to transmit a very weak radio signal which displays the microchip’s 15 digit number on the scanners LCD screen. The unique number is the only information stored on the chip itself. The name and contact details relating to each unique number are logged onto a database, so should the dog ever stray it can be scanned by the authorities who will then contact the relevant database operator who will then contact the owner.

Beware of Hidden Charges!

Like countless others, when I went to a free microchipping event provided by the local council and in partnership with Dogs Trust, I wasn’t informed that if I changed my phone number or address it was going to cost me. I was also not aware that there were several other pet ID databases I could have used, most of them cheaper to amend details too. There are now seven, in fact. But it was a rather pleasant surprise to learn that there is a pet identity database operator right here in my hometown of St Helens AND it is the only one with no hidden extra charges.

Based in Duke Street, St Helens, Pet Identity UK™ is one of the fastest growing pet identification database systems in Europe and it is very easy to see why.

Once the chip is registered to Pet Identity UK™ database there are no more costs for the life of the pet. Regardless how many times you need to change your telephone number, address or even change of keeper – it’s all completely FREE! With Pet Identity UK’s Register Your Pet For Life service you will also be able to share important information by uploading recent photos that they post through their website and their Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition you can use their website to print off missing alert posters that you can distribute around your neighbourhood to help raise awareness of your missing pet. Some database operators only offer this service as part of their premium membership with costs upto £17.95 or more. (See table below)

So before you have your dog microchipped make sure you know which database your details will be entered onto and more importantly, how much it will cost you to amend those details.

From April 2016, when you buy a new puppy, it should already be chipped by law, so make sure you are getting the best deal by asking the breeder which database they use.

If you live in or around St Helens then help keep the local economy alive -Keep It Local by using Pet Identity UK™.

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My dog has already been chipped so how will I know which Database my details are stored?

At the time of writing there are currently seven database operators, each one is a separate organisation or company. They are: Pet Identity UK; SmartTrac; Petlog; PetProtect; Anibase; Protected Pet and PetTrac. Under the new regulations each one must be able to communicate with all others for the purpose of locating where information is stored. So, if you use any of the websites listed in the table below you can search for the unique microchip number (usually 15 digits) for your dog. If the details associated with this number are not held on their database they should be able to display the website and telephone number of the correct one. Similarly, if you give any one of then a call with your microchip number, they should be able to connect you with the relevant database operator.

Transferring keepership and amending details usually comes with a cost, each database having different costs and procedures for doing so. Most database operators offer a premium account which is usually a one-off payment for the life of the dog which allows as many amendments as you need. Providers also offer various services and discounts for Premium membership accounts. For example, a SmartTrac Premium account provides Lost and Found Posters as part of the service. Check out each database provider’s website for full details. The seven databases and associated costs are as follows:

Database Operators and Costs

Database

Amend details/ Change Keeper(£)

Premium
Membership (£)

Website

Tel No.

Pet Identity UK

FREE for life

FREE for life

www.petidentityuk.info

0800 975 1960

SmartTrac

9.95/9.95

9.95

www.smarttrac.org.uk

08445 420 999

Petlog

16.00

16.00

www.petlog.org.uk

01296 336 579

PetProtect

FREE for 1st year then
you need to sign up for premium

4.95 pa or

14.05 for life

microchip.petprotect.co.uk

0800 587 0660

PetTrac

6.00/12.00

16.65

www.pettrac.co.uk

01273 408721 or

0800 652 9 977

ProtectedPet

15.99/15.99

15.99

protectedpet.com

08452
262 712

Anibase

6.00/

17.95

www.anibase.com

01904 487600

How much will it cost to microchip my dog?

The cost of having a dog microchipped varies and is set by the Implanter. Prices range from completely free to as much as £20 or more for each dog. Charities such as Dog’s Trust often offer free microchipping and have been working with local authorities to provide microchipping events in communities to provide this service for free but as I’ve already discussed, be aware of the hidden costs. Vet practices appear to be the most expensive although there are now many who are charging just the average £10.

Why are we compulsory microchipping dogs?

According to figures released by DEFRA – 102,000 stray dogs in England are taken into the care of local authorities every year, resulting in an overall cost of £9.7m to the taxpayer. Of these, over half are reunited with their owners. Local authorities are permitted to rehome or destroy every dog whose owner cannot be traced after seven days.

DEFRA claims that 27,500 stray dogs that haven’t been chipped are rehomed every year but an unfortunate 8,000 strays are not so lucky and are consequently put to sleep. This means we are putting to sleep 22 dogs every day.

Microchipping greatly helps to reunite lost pets and helps crack down on vicious or illegal dogs, unscrupulous breeders and the theft of our pets. Scotland will also introduce this regulation in April. Northern Ireland has been compulsory microchipping since April 2012, followed by Wales in March 2015.

Does Microchipping hurt the dog?

Microchipping is said to cause no more discomfortmicrochippingeddy than a standard injection. I can honestly say that the majority of dogs I have microchipped don’t appear to even notice the procedure at all. Some dogs do yelp but in my experience this is likely to be fear rather than pain. In fact, some dogs will yelp even before the needle has penetrated.

What do the regulations state?

Under the new regulations it becomes the responsibility of the breeder of a dog to have it microchipped before it leaves for its new home, so the breeder should always be the first person to record the puppy’s details. There is no minimum age specified in the regulations but the puppy has to be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old.

There are a few exemptions. A dog that is certified as a working dog under Section 6(3) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, or is deemed unfit for microchipping by a vet due to health reasons, will not be required to have a microchip implanted.

The details on the database should include: Name and Address of the keeper, the original name or ID Number given to the dog, a contact telephone number, sex, breed or description if cross breed, colour, date of birth as best as possible (approx. year if DoB unknown) and the microchips unique number.

It is the keeper’s responsibility to keep updated the information held on the database, so if you change address or telephone number etc, this must be amended on the relevant database.

No dog can be transferred to a new keeper unless it is microchipped, or is exempt. If a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must record their full name, address and contact telephone number and any change in the dog’s name with the database, unless the previous keeper has already done so.

Note: Microchipping does not provide proof of ownership, it records the details of the keeper of the dog (just as a vehicle logbook registers the keeper and not the owner).

Anyone who implants microchips must be suitably authorised such as a vet or veterinary nurse acting under vet supervision/instruction, or someone who holds a relevant qualification provided by an authorised training provider.

These regulations will be enforced by local authority dog wardens, police constables, community support officers etc. If a dog is found to have no microchip implanted, the keeper will be issued with a notice of 21 days to get the dog ‘chipped. Failure to comply with the notice may result in a £500 fine and may have the dog seized to have it chipped.

Anyone who identifies an adverse reaction to a microchip or the failure of a microchip or the migration of a microchip from the site of implanting must report that reaction or failure. Reporting can be done using the Government website:
https://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/microchipeventreporting/

Note: this is not a method of reporting any bad practices by an implanter, this is merely a method of gathering data on adverse reactions and migrations. I should also add here that occurrences of adverse reactions are extremely rare and there is said to be no more risk involved than a standard injection. Microchips have been known to migrate and is not uncommon, particularly in those dogs microchipped in the early days of chipping where microchips have been found to migrate to the belly, chest and even down the legs of some animals. Microchips have improved greatly since the early days and a special coating allows the tissue fibres within the animal to bond and grow around the microchip, holding it in place.

All microchips must have a unique number which includes the manufacturer’s code (first 3 digits). They must be compliant with ISO standard 11784:1996 and with ISO standard 11785:1996 of the International Standards Organisation’s standards for microchips.

The legislation also covers database operators (the organisation who holds the information related to each microchip) of which there are currently seven. Each operator must comply with the regulations to provide a secure means of holding the information with suitable off site backup. They must have a system for answering telephone and on-line requests for details stored on their database at all times and have a system of communicating with other database operators.

What if I rehome the dog?

Under the regulations, if a dog is transferred to a new keeper then the new keeper is responsible for updating the details on the database, if the previous keeper has not already done so. There may be a charge for this and will depend on which database the details are stored. (See table above)

What if I change address or Telephone number?

Again, details must be amended on the relevant database. There may be a charge for this and will depend on which database the details are stored. (See table above).

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3 thoughts on “Microchipping – The Hidden Costs and Everything You Need To Know About the New Regulations

  1. wooftas

    Just to add, I have since heard the The Kennel Club who manage Petlog are offering their Premium Membership free to those who complete the new puppy registration form which comes with pedigree dogs registered with the Kennel Club which currently costs £16

    Like

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