Microchipping of dogs

On 6 April 2016 it became law for all dogs in the UK to have a microchip - legislation we actively campaigned for.

The following sections provide information and resources on microchipping:

Responsibilities of the keeper

Get your dog microchipped

It is the keeper's responsibility to ensure their dog is microchipped and registered on one of the authorised commercial databases.

Keep your chip up to date

It is also the keeper's responsibility to keep their contact details up-to-date on the databases.

Where a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must, unless the previous keeper has already done so, record their details and any change in the dog’s name with the database on which the dog’s details are recorded.

Responsibilities of the vet

See our quick guide, Compulsory microchipping: FAQs for vets (41 KB PDF), which answers some common questions. 

For more detailed information, BSAVA and BVA developed Guidance on the Compulsory microchipping of dogs Regulations (455 KB PDF).

Reporting an adverse microchipping event

Since the Microchipping of Dogs (2015) Regulations came into force in England on 24 February 2015 veterinary surgeons are obliged to report:

  • Intermittently working or failed microchips
  • Migrated microchips
  • Microchips that have caused an adverse reaction (for example haematoma, infection or inflammatory response)

These should be reported through the online VMD microchip adverse event reporting form

It is an offence not to report a microchip adverse reaction, however we understand from Defra that it is highly unlikely they will pursue prosecutions. We also understand from RCVS that failure to report, except in the case of repeated failure to report, will not be considered sufficiently serious to result in disciplinary measures.

Certificates of Exemption

The compulsory microchipping legislation permits veterinary surgeons to exempt dogs from microchipping if in their professional opinion it would adversely affect the dog's health (the Welsh exemption requires certification that microchipping would significantly compromise the dog’s health). There are a limited number of situations in which exemption would be necessary. Scotland does not have a defined certificate of exemption, but does ask vets to follow their guidance which is linked below.

Scanning for microchips

The principal objective of compulsory microchipping dogs is to enable lost or stray dogs to be reunited with their owners and veterinary practices scan these animals when they are presented. We also recommend microchip scanning on first presentation to a veterinary practice. Where there is an ownership dispute or an animal is suspected stolen vets are advised to follow the RCVS Guidance on ‘Microchips, microchipping and animals without microchips'.

Microchipping awareness resources

Microchipping posters

Encourage your clients to microchip with our waiting room posters:

Microchipping posters

You can also share our microchipping graphics on your social media channels:

BVA activity on microchipping

BBC Radio 4 You and Yours: BVA President Sean Wensley talks about Microchipping 30/11/15 by Britishvets on Mixcloud

We are a founding member of the Microchipping Alliance and since 2009 we have campaigned for all dogs to be microchipped. There are numerous benefits to microchipping, including providing safe, effective and permanent identification; reuniting strays with their owners; tackling puppy farming; encouraging responsible ownership; and facilitating the reporting of hereditary health problems in pedigree dogs.

    The Alliance produced a briefing paper which outlined the economic case for compulsory microchipping in England and we have repeatedly called for compulsory microchipping in our representations to government:


    Compulsory microchipping became a requirement for a dog licence from 9 April 2012 (Dogs (Amendment) Act (NI) 2011)

    It will be compulsory for all dogs in Wales to be microchipped from 6 April 2016. See the Microchipping of Dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015

    Promote microchipping in your practice with our waiting room poster for Wales (190 KB PDF) and waiting room poster Welsh language version (193 KB PDF)

    It will be compulsory for all dogs in Scotland to be microchipped from 6 April 2016. See the Microchipping of Dogs (Scotland) Regulations 2015

    Encourage clients to find out more about changes to microchipping legislation with our waiting room poster for Scotland (196 KB PDF)