Have you microchipped your dog? Because if you haven’t had your canine companion chipped by the 6th April then you may be breaking the law. It is estimated that around 1.8 million dogs have yet to be microchipped meaning that some owners may face fines of up to £500 if it’s discovered and not rectified within 21 days.

It’s all part of the government’s new animal welfare legislation that states all dogs over eight weeks old need to be microchipped. The legislation is in place for a number of reasons and all of them ultimately to protect dogs and make sure they’re looked after properly.

Almost 40% (39%) of owners who have lost or had their dogs stolen never see them again and it’s hoped that microchipping will see happier endings as animals are reunited with their families. In turn, this could save taxpayers and animal welfare charities a whopping £57 million every year – that’s a lot of doggie treats.

But it’s not just about reuniting dogs that end up miles from home. It’s hoped that it will see a decline in animal cruelty as owners will be traceable and more likely to be prosecuted. The new law also aims to prevent diseases and defects associated with intensive puppy farming as animals can be traced back to their breeders.

Microchipping also means that your dog can be quickly and easily identified in an emergency as well as acting as a deterrent for would be dog-nappers who probably don’t intend to give your best friend an inviting home and three meals a day.

Responsibility

All breeders will need to microchip dogs more than eight weeks old. If you buy your dog from a reputable breeder they’ll provide you with all the relevant paperwork. But once you own that dog, it’ll be your responsibility to check and change the details stored in the chip and make sure that you’re the registered ‘keeper’. If you don’t do this, you could be fined.

You can get your dog chipped and data checked at your vet’s, some animal welfare charities and some pet stores.

You should also make sure your dog has a collar with an ID tag which is compulsory under the 1992 Control of Dogs Act. Although it’s not a commonly enforced ruling, it’s another quick win that ensures your dog can be traced back to you if it decides to take itself for a walk.

Animal lovers

In the UK, 11 million households have pets – with a total pet population of 57 million. We also spent more than £410 million on dog treats last year so we know that your furry friends are important to you.

Our favourite four legged friend is (of course) a dog, with 8.5 million of them in the UK. We found from our data that 27.5% of owners hadn’t microchipped their pooches*** – so many dog owners could be affected by the change.

While we’re sure you’re ready for the microchipping news today, do you also have insurance to protect your dog? You can insure your four-legged friend from as little as £2.74** a month to give yourself added peace of mind. Why not start a quote now? It could save you more in the long run.

** All average price amounts based on comparethemarket.com data in February 2016
*** comparethemarket.com data from September 2015 to February 2016