The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) supports the permanent identification and registration of all dogs and cats, and other companion animals as appropriate, since the ability to individually identify an animal and trace the owner has the potential to improve animal welfare by enabling:

  • Lost, stray and stolen animals to be returned to their owners more rapidly
  • Owners to be contacted more quickly in the case of injury so that veterinary treatment can be agreed and undertaken promptly
  • Health test results to be correctly attributed to an individual animal
  • Tracing of animals to their breeder helping to reduce the problems associated with unregulated breeders and providing accurate information on inherited diseases
  • Population data regarding companion animals to be collected allowing more accurate prevalence data to be calculated
  • Tracing and identification of animals in the event of a disease outbreak, such as Rabies

Background information

Background information on legal situation

It is now a legal requirement to microchip dogs throughout the United Kingdom.

The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, made under section 12 of The Animal Welfare Act 2006, came into effect on 24th February 2015. However, although some of the provisions of the act came into effect in February 2015 the requirement for all dogs over the age of eight weeks in England to be fitted with a microchip comes into effect on 6th April 2016.

The Microchipping of Dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015 have now been accepted by the Welsh Assembly Government and came into effect on 25th December 2015. The requirements for compulsory microchipping will also come into effect on 6th April 2016.

The Microchipping of Dogs (Scotland) Regulations 2016 came into effect in January 2016 and the requirements for compulsory microchipping will also come into effect on 6th April 2016.

Dogs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 requires the microchipping of dogs before a dog licence can be issued. The Act also includes provisions relating to the control of dogs. Further information is available from, which states that all dogs in Northern Ireland must be microchipped at eight weeks old and that dog owners are responsible for ensuring that the contact details held against their dog’s microchip number are accurate. If the details are not accurate, the dog is not considered as microchipped and the dog licence will not be valid.

Further details and guidance on the regulations can be accessed here

Other species may also require to be identified:

  • Cats and ferrets travelling under the Pet Passport Scheme
  • Animals traded under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix 1
  • Foals and adult horses identified after 31 July 2009 must be implanted with a microchip prior to passport applications being made for them. Click here

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