Still fishing for chips - a quarter of dogs not microchipped with less than a year to go

01 July 2015

With under a year to go until the microchipping of dogs becomes compulsory across the UK, the majority of vets estimate that at least 25% of dogs are still not microchipped. 

Figures released today from the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Spring 2015 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show that there is still work to be done to get the microchipping message out to owners and encourage them to act before the law changes in Spring 2016. As National Microchipping Month (June 2015) comes to an end, vets across Great Britain hope to see an increase in the numbers of dogs microchipped.

When small animal and mixed practice vets were asked “What percentage of the dogs you see would you estimate are microchipped?” nearly 90% (87%) of respondents answered between 1 – 75%, meaning the vast majority of vets have a quarter of patients without microchips. 

Results for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) revealed:

  • 2% of vets thought that no more than a tenth of the dogs they saw were microchipped
  • 2% of vets thought no more than a quarter of the dogs they saw were microchipped
  • 41% of vets thought that no more than a half of the dogs they saw were microchipped
  • 87% of vets thought that no more than three quarters of the dogs they saw were microchipped

Results varied across Scotland, Wales and the English regions, with London vets seeing the most dogs microchipped and West Midlands vets the fewest: 

 Area of UK% of vets that estimate a
quarter of dogs are not
microchipped
 West Midlands 95%
 Scotland 94%
 Yorkshire and the Humber 94%
 East Midlands  93%
 South West 90%
 Wales 90%
 East of England 84%
 North East 83%
 North West 83%
 South East 81%
 London 68%

 

By Spring 2016 all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will have to be microchipped and registered on a database by law. Microchipping has been compulsory in Northern Ireland since 2012. Vets and animal welfare groups are working together with Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to reach as many owners as possible before the microchipping regulations come into force.

Practising vet and BVA President John Blackwell said:

“As a member of the Microchipping Alliance, BVA pushed hard for compulsory microchipping of all dogs and we are very pleased that microchipping will be mandatory in every country in the UK by Spring 2016. But with the vast majority of vets estimating that a quarter of dogs are unchipped there is no room for complacency.  

“We hope that all the activity during National Microchipping Month impacts on the amount of dogs microchipped. We know there is a job of work to be done in fishing out those unchipped dogs and helping owners take action to ensure that they not only comply with the law but that they protect their much loved pet.  

“Microchipping is a safe, effective and permanent way to ensure that lost dogs can be reunited with their owners, which is a positive outcome that affects many thousands each year. But microchipping on its own isn’t enough and dogs must be registered on one of the UK microchip databases.  We need to make sure owners understand the need to keep their details up to date, particularly in relation to change of address or contact numbers. Vets in practice see too many dogs with out-of-date information.

“Over the next nine months we will be working with our colleagues across the UK in veterinary practice, with animal welfare groups and all governments to create a reliable and trusted system that works effectively for dogs, their owners and their vets.” 

BVA has produced waiting room posters for veterinary practices in England, Wales and Scotland that are free to download from the BVA website.

BVA Media Office