Dogs Trust

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Time is chipping away for UK dog owners

Compulsory dog microchipping comes into effect on 6th April 2016

With just one day to go before compulsory dog microchipping legislation comes into effect, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is urging dog owners to ensure their pets are chipped and that their contact details on the microchip database are up-to-date. Official figures reveal that 16% of dogs in the UK are still not chipped*.


The new English, Welsh and Scottish microchipping laws dictate that from 6th April 2016, any dog owners who do not microchip their pets within 21 days of being served notice will be liable to pay a fine of up to £500. Dogs Trust has long campaigned for this important aspect of dog welfare and has invested substantial resources in free microchipping services.


Microchipping is an essential part of responsible dog ownership and the most effective permanent way of ensuring a lost dog is returned to their owner. In 2015 alone, over a quarter (28%) of stray dogs were reunited with their owners thanks to a chip**. The chip itself lasts a lifetime, however, owners must ensure their address details are updated after every house move so that the data remains an effective reunification tool.


In the last month, Dogs Trust has dealt with over 4,500 phonecalls regarding microchipping queries, more than eight times the amount received during the same period last year, but there are many owners still looking for advice and action***.


Dogs Trust offers free microchipping appointments across all of its 21 Rehoming Centres around the country. Most recently, the charity launched a nationwide tour, led by their 3 metre high dog mascot, Dogcilla, hosting free microchipping roadshows and events. In total Dogcilla travelled the equivalent of the Earth’s circumference 5.8 times in her quest to get dogs across the UK chipped before the impending legal change.


Adrian Burder, CEO of Dogs Trust says, “For many years Dogs Trust has campaigned to bring about the introduction of compulsory microchipping and registration. Therefore, we are very pleased to welcome the legislation, which will go a long way to improving dog welfare. Losing a dog is an extremely upsetting time for both dog and owner so we urge the public to check their pets are chipped and address details are up to date before 6th April. To date, Dogs Trust has microchipped nearly a million dogs and we’re still working tirelessly to ensure as many dogs as possible are given these essential pieces of technology before compulsory microchipping comes into force.”


Microchipping and updating dogs’ microchips with the correct details will be compulsory in England, Wales and Scotland from 6th April 2016. To find out more information on microchip databases and how to update a microchip, please visit




For further information please contact:


Dogs Trust  – 020 7837 0006 /


Broadcast location available: Maria Wickes, Rehoming Centre Manager of Dogs Trust Basildon is available for interviews and further comment.


B-roll footage available:

  1. Maria Wickes, Rehoming Centre Manager, Dogs Trust Basildon, speaking further about microchipping


* 2016 PFMA data sources

**Survey of 3,000 UK-based dog owners carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Dogs Trust from Friday 17th February to Tuesday 23rd February 2015

*** Dogs Trust received 4,548 phonecalls regarding microchipping queries between 1st March and 28th March 2016. This compares to 554 calls received during the same period in 2015


Notes to Editors


About Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for nearly 17,000 dogs each year through its network of 20 Rehoming Centres across the UK and one in Dublin.


Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.


Microchipping FAQ


About microchipping

A microchip is a small electronic chip, around the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under the dog’s skin and contains a unique number that can be read by a scanner.

The dog owner’s contact details relating to each number are logged on a central database, so should the dog ever go missing or be stolen it can be scanned by the authorities and returned to his owner swiftly and safely. It is vital that the owner takes responsibility for updating their details with the database should their circumstances change.


Why is Dogs Trust offering free microchipping?

Microchipping will be soon be compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales, which we have long campaigned for. The charity wants to help as many people as possible comply with the new laws by helping to provide the procedure free of charge with the help of vet practices.


How do I go about getting my dog microchipped for free?

Simply visit to find details of local events, Rehoming Centres and participating vets.


How and where is the microchip implanted?

Using a specially designed implanting device, the microchip is injected through a sterile needle under the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades.


Will it hurt my dog?

No anaesthetic is required and the procedure should cause no more discomfort than a standard vaccination.


How are the owners traced?

If a stray dog is found to have a microchip, the local authority, vet practice or animal welfare organisation will contact the national database to find the owner’s details. The owner can then be contacted and reunited with their dog.


Does microchipping replace the existing collar and tag law?

No, your dog will still need to wear a collar and tag that states the name and address of the owner when in a public place.


Do I have to pay to update my details?

Yes, you will have to pay a fee every time you amend your contact details to the database. Most databases offer a premium service which often works out cheaper over the course of your dog’s life. Check with your provider for more details.