Chipping away at the lost dog problem

In 2016 it became a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped, but new research* by Dogs Trust reveals that many owners wrongly think this is the only form of identification their dog needs. Since 1992** dog owners have also been required to ensure their dog has a collar and tag with their contact details on – but this is sadly often overlooked and could mean dogs are delayed in being reunited with their owners, and potentially face being put to sleep by local authorities. 

Says Alex Jackson, Dogs Trust Head of Campaigns: 

“It is great that so many owners are aware of the need for their dog to be microchipped, but it is concerning that this awareness comes at the expense of dogs wearing more visible forms of identification. As outlined in 1992’s Control of Dogs Act your dog’s tag should display your name, address and postcode, but our research revealed that 16% of people thought that including a telephone number was enough. The details held on the tag and microchip containing the essential details of the owner is one of the simplest ways for a dog to be reunited with its owners should they become accidentally separated. We urge everyone to check they have a tag with the right information on today.” 

Research also revealed that some owners simply hadn’t got around to microchipping their dogs, even though over 90% know it’s a legal requirement. Dogs Trust is just one of many charities and organisations that offers microchipping free of charge at its community events around the country.

Last week the importance of up-to-date microchip details was highlighted after Hunter, a young Spaniel, was separated from his owner whilst on a walk. After being found by a member of the public and taken into the Essex-based rehoming centre, the team were able to scan his microchip and ensure that he was on his way home in no time. 

Alex continues: 

“We were delighted that after years of campaigning microchipping became law in 2016, but it is ineffective if owners aren’t updating the details.  

“The simple process of keeping microchip contact details up to date could be the lifesaving difference for a much-loved pet going home to their owner instead of potentially being put to sleep in a local pound if they aren’t reunited with their owner within seven days. But worryingly 41% of owners, who have had their dogs microchipped, said that they hadn’t got around to doing it.  

“Sadly, there is still a stray dog problem in this country, and the combination of a lack of collar and tag or a microchip that hasn’t been updated could be the difference between a dog ending up in a Council-run pound or curling up in its bed at home.” 

To get your dog a new tag click here and pick from one of the eight designs, a percentage of the sales also go to Dogs Trust in order to help us continue to care for nearly 15,000 dogs every year.

*Research conducted via Dogs Trust Twitter and Facebook followers during 9th – 20th January. A total of 6,574 respondents involved.
**As outlined in Control of Dogs order 1992 it was outlined that a dog must wear a collar and tag with the latter displaying the name and address (including postcode) of the owner.
** 63% of respondents, totalling 4,110 people.
Additional statistics:
  • 63%*** of owners wrongly believe that their dog only needs to wear their collar when outside their home.
  • But 2,800 dogs have been taken from homes and gardens in the last three years