Q&A: What you need to know about microchipping your dog

Failure to comply with regulations to mean fine of up to €5,000 and/or six months in jail

An authorised officer can seize the dog, chip and register it and pass the costs on to the owner. Photograph: EPA

An authorised officer can seize the dog, chip and register it and pass the costs on to the owner. Photograph: EPA

 

The Dogs Trust Ireland, Department of Agriculture and Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) have provided information on microchipping your dog on their websites. The following is a selection of the advice:

What does microchipping involve?

A small microchip about the size of a grain of rice bearing a 15 digit number is injected under the animal’s skin.

Is it painful for my dog?

The procedure is not more painful than a standard vaccination. Anaesthetic is not required.

Why are we doing this?

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney says it will help reunite dogs with owners, assist in disease prevention and help with the problem of marauding dogs that “pose a threat to livestock or people”.

Why do I have to register as well as chip?

The number on the microchip must be registered on one of four approved databases so it can be linked to the owner’s name and contact details. The registration should normally be done at the same time as the insertion of by microchip.

Can anyone do this?

No. Only authorised personnel such as vets or nurses or suitably trained personnel employed by the holders of the databases, are allowed to microchip dogs.

Can I microchip my own dog?

No. To do so would be an offence punishable by a fine of up to €5,000 and/or six months in jail on conviction.

How much does microchipping and registering cost?

The DSPCA will microchip a dog and register the owner’s details for €15. Costs charged by vets may vary.

Is there a waiver for pensioners?

No. But the Department of Agriculture says the cost of microchipping may be less than the cost of putting up posters for a lost dog.

What age does the dog have to be chipped at?

A microchip can be implanted at any age. Legally, they must be chipped by the time they are 12 weeks old.

What if I do nothing?

Failure to microchip a dog will expose the owner to court action and fines of up to €5,000.

Who will implement and police this system?

Local authorities, the Department of Agriculture, gardaí and “authorised officers” who can include those running animal welfare shelters will police the regime.

What will happen to my dog if I do not chip and register?

An authorised officer can seize the dog, chip and register it and pass the costs on to the owner.

Can I sell an unchipped dog?

No. This would be illegal.

How do I sell a dog?

The certificate of registration which issues from the database carries space for a change of owner’s details which should be filled in and returned after the seller and buyer provide proof of identity and address to each other.

What if the owner is a child?

If the owner is a child and does not have a utility bill to verify their address, the dog should be chipped and registered in an adult’s name.

My dog is microchipped for a pet passport. Is this enough to comply?

No. The chip that was used should be suitable, but the owner’s details will need to be registered.

Can my dog be located remotely using the microchip?

No. Such technology is available, but it is rare and more expensive.

I still want to know more

Further information is available on a range of websites. Try agriculture.gov.ie for a question and answer format. dogstrust.ie has good information while the dspca.ie has all round information on animal welfare.