Millions of dog owners confused about microchipping and upcoming legislation

  • 46% of dog owners are unaware that microchipping is to be made compulsory in England.
  • Of the 54% of owners that were aware, only one in five knew that microchipping for dogs was to be made compulsory in England in 2016.
  • 12% of pet owners think that a microchip acts as some sort of GPS device.
  • Half of pet owners do not know if the contact details on their pet's microchip record are up to date.

Four million dog owners are unaware of upcoming legislation which requires all dogs to be microchipped, research by Petlog has revealed.

The research, carried out by the UK's largest lost and found database for microchipped pets, Petlog, has found that almost half of all dog owners are unaware of the impending compulsory microchipping legislation. Just 54% of dog owners answered that they knew compulsory microchipping for dogs was to be implemented in the UK and only one in five of those knew that the legislation was coming in to force in 2016.

More worryingly however was the lack of understanding of how a microchip works, 12%, which would amount to more than 900,000 dog owners in the UK, thought a microchip acted as a GPS device.

Petlog organises National Microchipping Month which takes place this June, and it conducted the research to find out exactly how much pet owners knew about the microchip, how it works and the compulsory dog microchipping legislation that will come into force in April 2016.

For ten years Petlog has been running National Microchipping Month to raise the profile of pet microchipping and its benefits, and also to educate pet owners about how it works, the need to keep contact details up to date and how to make the most from a database.

Celia Walsom, Petlog Executive explained: "Making sure that awareness about microchipping was our first priority when we began National Microchipping Month in 2004, but now we want to ensure pet owners fully understand exactly how the microchip works, that they need to keep their contact details up to date and of course are aware of what is happening in regards to legislation.

"Microchipping is the most popular form of permanent identification, and has reunited hundreds of thousands of pets and owners in the UK since it was introduced here over twenty years ago, and yet pet owners do not seem to fully understand how the microchip works and why it is so important to keep their contact details up to date.

"Worryingly the research found that around 12% of pet owners wrongly believe that the microchip acts as some sort of GPS device, or can stop a pet from wandering a certain distance. It is important that people understand how a microchip works so that they know how to make the most of it.

"The rules of responsible pet ownership still stand - the microchip is an added benefit and should work alongside a collar and tag. The research found that half of pet owners (51%) didn't know if their contact details were up to date with their microchip database. We need pet owners to understand that they need to keep their contact details up to date as it becomes a lot harder and slower, if possible at all, to reunite pets when contact details become outdated."

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and each microchip has a unique number which is identified when scanned. Welfare organisations, vets, dog wardens and other authorised users will scan a pet when it comes to them and contact the microchip's database to find the owner's details.

For several years Petlog has raised concerns that pet owners' contact details can become out of date and they have been using National Microchipping Month as a catalyst to get pet owners to check their contact details by working with vets, welfare and local authorities to raise awareness.

Talking about Petlog's annual campaign, Animal Welfare Minister, Lord de Mauley commented: "I fully support National Microchipping Month. Campaigns like this are important in showing dog owners that microchipping is a safe, easy and quick procedure that can save owners a lot of potential heartbreak if their dogs stray. With Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and Blue Cross all offering free microchipping, there is no excuse for dog owners not to chip their dogs before the April 2016 deadline."

National Microchipping month is sponsored by Petlog and takes place throughout June. To find out more about National Microchipping Month and events that are taking place in your area, visit

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