As part of the Animal Health & Welfare act, 2013, microchipping is set to become compulsory for all dogs from the end of this month in Ireland; Microchipping of Dogs Regulations, 2015.
This is great news in terms of tracking dogs and their owners, holding owners responsible for their dogs’ behaviour and reuniting lost/stolen dogs. But before we reap some of the benefits there are going to be some hurdles to jump first.
What is microchipping?
Mircochipping involves implanting a tiny microchip (a little bigger than a grain of rice) under your dog’s skin, usually in the shoulder area.
The chip contains a unique barcode number that can be read with a scanner. The details linked with the barcode are recorded on a database that can be accessed.
Having the chip implanted certainly doesn’t seem to be comfortable as the needle used is larger than those used for vaccinations or blood samples.
Sometimes if a dog is being anaesthetised for another procedure the vet will chip then too, but for the most part the dog is conscious.
Holding the dog calmly against your body and providing him with a Kong toy lined with pate while this is going on will help. Here’s more on lining and stuffing Kongs, ideal for such procedures.
Once chipped the implanter will check the location and functioning of the chip by scanning over the dog’s back and shoulders.
You can also check your dog’s chip at Maxizoo stores around the country – this is a good idea as chips can move so knowing where your dog’s chip is can be recorded too.
Microchipping legislation…the story so far
Since September 2015 all puppies must be be chipped by the age of 12 weeks, or before leaving their birth home.
This has become one more way of identifying more responsible breeders, as those who put lots of other things in place plus make sure that each puppy they produce is chipped.
It became illegal to acquire or supply a puppy without a chip and certificate of microchip registration.
To collect and record all this microchipping data the department has approved FIDO as the first database.
Apparently, other databases will also be approved.
Microchips must only be implanted by vets, vet nurses or lay implanters who have a Unique Identifying Code (UIC) and the chips they use must meet specific technical standards.
Approved chip implanters will have completed specific training.
By 31st March, 2016 all dogs must be microchipped with an appropriately compliant chip, the dog’s details recorded on an approved database and the owner hold a Cert of Microchip Registration.
To help with this lots of different organisations have help microchipping events such as various SPCAs, Dog’s Trust and local rescue organisations, along with vets. Many offer reduced price and even free microchipping.
When bringing your dog to be chipped the owner must provide photo ID and proof of address too so that those details can be recorded with the dog’s chip.
So, first thing’s first, get your dog microchipped NOW!
My dog is chipped…?
This is where it gets a bit complicated. If your dog was chipped previously you may have had a cert printed out from the FIDO website, which previously acted as a database for reunification of lost/stolen dogs. This is no good any more.
Chipping prior to this legislation (so first half of last year or before) means that you probably didn’t get the required Certificate of Microchip Registration – you need that now, regardless of on which database your chip details are held.
FIDO, as the first approved government database, requires that you go here so that they can check all your details and make sure everything is in order according to the new legislation.
FIDO check your details and for €4.50 (correct as of last year) will send you the legally compliant certificate. Keep that safe!
On your cert will be a PIN that you can use to log into the database and check your details, keep contact details up to date or register change of ownership.
The details must be kept updated by law.
If your dog has not previously been registered with FIDO, you will need to return to the database that your chip is registered to, to get your cert. This may be AniMark, IKC or the Irish Coursing Club – all recently approved databases (we couldn’t find reference to it on the AniMark or Irish Kennel Club websites though!).
Unfortunately, none of these organisations seem to have done a whole lot to inform their clients and pet owners in general so this has been shrouded in confusion.
If you prefer you can re-register your chip with FIDO and request a cert that way. This costs €15.00.
Should you not know which database your dog’s chip is registered with or it’s not registered with one of the approved four, you will need to register with an approved database as soon as possible.
You can check Europetnet to see where your chip is registered. You will need your dog’s microchip number – if you don’t have that, go to your vet who can scan your dog and help you.
You can get a chip check card from your vet or Dog’s Trust and mail that to FIDO for further help also. Yes, snail mail…
From April, if you acquire any dog, of any age from any source the dog must be microchipped and you must receive a cert registering you as the dog’s owner.
The onus, for all of this legislation, is on the owner of the dog to comply.
More from Dog’s Trust here.
More from DSPCA here.
More from ISPCA here.