From 6th April 2016, all dogs and puppies of 8 weeks and older in England, must be microchipped and registered on an approved database.

  • Any dog owners who are found not to have had their dog microchipped and registered on an approved database may be served with a notice.
  • If the owner/keeper does not microchip their dog within 21 days of the served notice, then they will be liable to pay a fine of £500.
  • These regulations will be enforced by local authorities, police constables and community support officers, NOT veterinary staff.

As the owner/keeper of the dog it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog is microchipped and that your contact details such as your home address, phone numbers and email address (if you have one)  are kept up to date.

If You Breed A Litter Of Puppies

From 6th April 2016, it will be illegal to sell a puppy that has not been microchipped and registered by the time it is 8 weeks old.

  • If you breed a litter of puppies, whether they are planned or accidental, you must have them all microchipped and registered before they go to their new homes.
  • You will need to supply a transfer of keeper form to the new owners of the puppy which can be found on the website of database company for the microchips that have been used. For example, if your puppies are microchipped by Castle Vets, you will find the Transfer of Keeper form on the Petlog website


Buying or Rehoming A Puppy or A Dog

If you buy or offer a new home to a puppy or dog, the breeder, rescue centre or previous owner should have had them microchipped. They will supply a Transfer of Keeper form so that you can change the information held on the database into your name and details.

Remember that it will be illegal for a breeder of the litter to sell/rehome a puppy that has not been microchipped and registered on an approved database.

If your dog is already microchipped

I recommend that if your dog is already microchipped, you contact your microchip database company to ensure that your contact details such as your home address, phone number and email address are up to date.

The Chip It Check It website has lots of information for both pet owners and breeders. You can also enter your pet’s microchip number into this website to find out which database your pet’s information is held on.

If your dog has a foreign microchip number, you may need to register him or her on a microchip database in the UK.

Identification (Control of Dogs Order)

Your dog must wear an identity disk or tag on his or her collar or harness while in a public place i.e. anywhere outside your property. Even if your dog is microchipped, this law still applies.

  • The tag must have, at the very least, your surname and address on it; a contact telephone number is optional.
  • There is a fine of up to £5000 that may be given if your dog is in a public place and not wearing some form of identification. This applies regardless of whether you are with your dog or not.

Dog Law ID Tag

Who Can Implant A Microchip?

Microchip implantation can be performed by a qualified veterinary nurse or vet during a routine consultation, or by a student veterinary nurse under direct supervision of a qualified nurse or vet.

They can also be implanted by someone who has completed a training course and been assessed and certificated in microchip implantation techniques.

How Much Will A Microchip Cost?

Most Microchip implanters charge between £9.00 and £25.00 to microchip a pet.

The implanter should register your pet’s details with the database for you when your pet is microchipped.

The Microchip database company may offer you an optional extended membership for around £16.00, which will enable you to log in and change your contact details at any time.

Will It Hurt and Is It Safe?

Some animals may feel a slight and temporary discomfort during the procedure, but this is far outweighed by the benefits of having a microchip. Most animals do not react at all.
The material that surrounds the microchip is bio-compatible, which means that it is non toxic and should not do any damage to your pet’s body or cause any kind of allergic reaction.


Further Information

If you would like to have your pet microchipped or have any questions, then please contact your veterinary practice to make an appointment or talk to them over the phone. You could also read:

The importance of Microchipping your pet

How Microchips Work

Dog Breeder’s Guide To Microchipping

Approved Microchip Registration Database companies

There are currently several microchip databases operating in the UK. When a pet is microchipped, registration paperwork is supplied and should provide the information you need to know about the database your pet is registered with.



The importance of microchipping your pet

dog cat rabbit missing

Pets go missing from home for a whole variety of reasons and stray animals are usually picked up by members of the public, then passed on to the local dog wardens, animal charities or taken to the veterinary surgery if they are injured. If they cannot be identified by means of a microchip or id tag, sadly they may never be reunited with their owners and often end up in rescue centers to be re-homed, or even put to sleep if there is no room for them or they are ill.

Every year in the UK, animal welfare organisations estimate that over 180,000 pets go missing and that only half of these pets are ever reunited with their owners because there is no way of knowing who they belong to. According to the Dogs Trust Stray Dog Survey 2015, dog wardens reported that only 20% of the dogs taken by local authorities last year were microchipped (Sadly there is no such data kept on cats). Animal Search UK reports that they have between 20 and 100 missing and found pets registered with them every day and in the last 3 months alone, we at Castle Vets have had reports of 34 missing pets!

Pets go missing from home for a whole variety of reasons but some of the most common ones are

  • Hormone related – Male animals wander off after scenting a female in season, or females in season wander off to find a mate.
  • Fear – Animals may run off after hearing a particularly loud and scary noise, such as fireworks or thunder. Or a stranger in the home may scare them away.
  • Moving house – Animals may become lost after a house move when they are in unfamiliar territory.
  • Natural inquisitiveness – You pet may start following a scent or another animal for a while and get lost.
  • Illness – Poorly animals may become disorientated and get lost easily, others may have had an accident and be unable to get back home before someone picks them up and takes them to the local vet.
  • Theft – unfortunately people stealing pets is still on the increase especially cute younger animals and in pedigree or working breeds that can be sold on.

Continue reading

Do You Know Your Pet Law?

Owning and caring for a pet can be a source of great enjoyment, but being a pet owner is a major responsibility and part of being a responsible owner includes knowing about and understanding the law surrounding pet ownership.  Many pet owners in the UK are not aware of the law or of what they are required to provide for their pets to ensure their physical and mental well being. The PDSA’s Annual PAW Report 2014 reported that only 36% of pet owners surveyed were familiar with the Animal Welfare Act.

Although not all owners are familiar with the ins and outs of the actual Animal Welfare Act, the majority are providing everything their pet needs already. However, the RSPCA investigated a shocking 159,831 cruelty complaints and secured 2,419 convictions by private prosecution to protect animals last year.

The Animal Welfare Act

This came into force on April 6th 2007. It increased and introduced new penalties for acts of cruelty, neglect, mutilation, tail docking and animal fighting but importantly, it also introduced a duty of care for all pet owners. There is no particularly perfect way to care for pets because each pet will have it’s own individual needs, so it is up to you as the owner to find out what your particular pet’s needs are and ensure that you can meet them.

The Animal Welfare Act applies to anyone who is responsible for an animal whether permanently or temporarily and includes fines of up to £20,000, a maximum jail term of 51 weeks and a lifetime ban on some owners keeping pets.

Under Section 9  of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 you must  take all reasonable steps to ensure that you meet  the following needs that your pet has,

1. Provide a suitable environment and living space 

  • You pet will need a safe, clean environment with protection from hazards. If your pet is kept outside you need to check it frequently to ensure he or she is safe and well.
  • A comfortable, clean, dry, quiet, draught-free rest area.
  • Somewhere to hide in order to avoid things that frighten it.
  • Access to an appropriate place, away from its resting area, which it can use as a toilet area.
  • The living area should be large enough to be comfortable and provide sufficient space to move around in. Minimum cage sizes for small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and other rodents should be taken into consideration – the bigger the better!
  • The living area should be properly ventilated and at the correct temperature so that the pet does not get too hot or cold.
  • You should never leave your pet unattended in any situation, or for any period of time that is likely to cause it distress or harm.
  • When transporting your pet, make sure it is comfortable, safe and secure at all times. The transport must be well ventilated and at the correct temperature. Your pet should have access to water if the journey is longer than a few hours (small furries and birds should have access to food and water all of the time). Bedding or flooring must be adequate and absorb any moisture if the pet goes to the toilet during transport. Dogs should be given toilet breaks on longer journeys, but ensure they cannot escape in an unfamiliar place!

2. Provide a diet suitable to the pet’s needs

  • Your pet will need clean fresh drinking water at all times. If  you own a dog, this may mean taking water with you on walks where clean water is unlikely  to be available.
  • You must provide your pet with a balanced diet that is suited to its individual needs including its age, level of activity and health.
  • You must ensure that you feed the correct amount of food and that your pet is maintained at the correct weight and does not become underweight or overweight/obese.
  •  Your pet must be able to reach it’s food and water easily.
  • If you are uncertain what diet is best for your pet you should seek advice from a veterinary practice or suitably qualified pet care specialist.

3. Allow the pet to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

  • Make sure your pet has enough things to do in it’s environment so that it does not become distressed or bored. This may mean adding toys, hiding places, climbing places, scratching posts, ladders, digging places, activity toys and feeders etc to suit your pet’s individual requirements.  For example giving cats access to high places and scratching places.
  • Make sure your pet has access to safe toys and suitable objects to play with and, in the cases of some pets ,chew.
  • Ensure that your pet can rest undisturbed when it needs to – this may mean giving them a bed, crate or separate part in their living space where they will not be disturbed by people or other animals when they are resting.
  • Provide your pet with regular opportunities for exercise and play with people or other pets, depending on the species of your pet.
  • Make sure that your pet has the opportunity to exercise properly every day. It is important to keep your pet fit, active and mentally stimulated. If you are unsure how much or what type of exercise to provide, seek advice from a veterinary practice or suitably qualified pet care specialist.
  • Ensure that where appropriate you train your pet. Use only positive reward based training and avoid harsh, painful or frightening training methods. Training is not only necessary for a well behaved pet, it is great for mental stimulation and bonding. Although most people associate training with dogs, almost any pet can be trained including cats, rabbits, rodents and birds. (View our training article)

4. To house their pet with, or apart from, other animals 

  • Make sure that your pet is never left alone long enough for it to become distressed.
  • Some pets are solitary and do not need to live with other animals, for example some dogs, cats and certain types of rodents prefer to be live as a sole pet, but others such as rabbits, guinea pigs and rats are very social and should be housed with one or more companions of the same species.
  • If your pet lives on it’s own make sure that it has opportunities to spend enough time with people so that it does not become lonely or bored.
  • In the case of dogs, you should  ensure that your dog has plenty of opportunity to meet, socialise and play with other friendly dogs. Encourage your dog to be friendly towards other dogs from an early age. There are some dogs that just don’t like other dogs, so in this case you will need to ensure they have plenty of contact from you.
  • Animals should be given regular opportunities to socialise with people and, where appropriate for the species of pet, other animals from an early age.
  • It is important that if you keep more than one pet that they get on well together and do not fight. They need the opportunity to be close to each other but have plenty of space to move away or hide from each other if necessary.
  • When pets live together adequate extra resources must be provided for some species, for example separate water bowls, food bowls, litter trays and toys. This will help avoid any conflict and tension over valuable resources. With dogs you may need to make an effort to provide them with 1-1 time with you and without the other dog.
  • If your dog is fearful of, or aggressive towards other dogs or people, or if certain social  interactions distress or frighten your dog you should seek appropriate advice from a qualified canine behaviourist.

5. To protect their pet from pain, suffering, injury, illness and disease

  • You need to take precautions to keep your pet safe from injury.
  • If you notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour or normal routine you should contact a veterinary practice and follow the advice you are given.
  • Check your pet regularly for signs of injury, disease or illness.
  • Maintain your pet’s condition, for example grooming and removing any knots in the coat (or get a groomer to do this for you) , making sure there is no faecal matter and urine on the the coat and making sure that your pet is fit and well.
  • If you recognise signs and symptoms of disease, suspect that your pet is in pain, ill or injured or if you have any concerns about its health or welfare contact a veterinary practice and follow the advice regarding treatment.
  • Ensure that your pet has regular veterinary health checks and that you provide preventative health care, where appropriate to the species of pet, for example vaccinations, booster vaccinations, worming, flea treatment and neutering.
  • Clean up after your pet including cleaning the toileting area and cage or enclosure regularly and with the appropriate, safe cleaning products to avoid disease and illness.
  • Protect your pets from ingesting or coming in to contact with harmful household items and substances such as medicines and foods intended for humans or other animals, cleaning products or antifreeze.  You should always seek veterinary advice if you suspect that your pet has eaten anything harmful.
  • Collars on cats and dogs should be of the correct size and fit, and should not cause any pain or discomfort; dogs are required to wear a collar and identity tag when in a public place by law.
  • If your pet is microchipped remember to keep the microchip database up to date with any changes in your contact details.
  • You should seek the advice of your veterinary practice before breeding your pet and take all reasonable steps to ensure that both the male and female pets are fit and healthy, with no inheritable diseases or conditions and that you will be able to find suitable homes for the offspring.
As a responsible dog owner, there are several laws regarding dog ownership that you should be aware of and we have put the most important ones into this article.

Identification (Control of Dogs Order)

Your dog must wear an identity disk or tag on his or her collar or harness while in a public place i.e. anywhere outside your property. The tag must have, at the very least, your surname and address on it; a contact telephone number is optional. This law applies even if your dog is microchipped (the law has not caught up with modern technological advances yet!) There is a fine of up to £5000 that may be given if your dog is in a public place and not wearing some form of ID. This applies regardless of whether you are with your dog or not.

According to the PDSA’s Annual report, more than 1.5 million dogs don’t wear a collar and tag and 30% of dog owners are unaware that this is a legal requirement!

Dog Law ID Tag

Microchipping of Dogs (Control of Dogs Order)

Governments across the UK have announced measures to promote responsible dog ownership. In England this includes the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs as of April 2016. From this time all dogs currently not microchipped will have to be microchipped and registered with a database compliant with the new regulations. Breeders will need to microchip their puppies by the time they are eight weeks of age, and before they are transferred to a new owner. The new owner will be responsible for updating the microchip with their details. The owners/keepers of the dog must ensure that their details are kept up to date on the microchip database for their dog.

Please be aware that when this law comes into force in April 2016, it will not replace the current law regarding identification of dogs. this means that all dogs must still wear an id tag or disk when out in public.

More information on Microchipping 

Public Spaces Protection Orders (Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act
and the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policing Act)

Some public areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) – previously called Dog Control Orders (DCOs). There should be signs up designating these controlled areas

In public areas with PSPOs, you may have to:

  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Put your dog on a lead if told to by a police officer, police community support officer or someone from the council
  • Stop your dog going to certain places – like farmland or parts of a park
  • Limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)

If you ignore a PSPO, you can be fined £100 on the spot fixed penalty notice or up to £1,000 if it goes to court (You can’t be fined if you’re a registered blind dog owner).

Cleaning Up After Your Dog – Poop Scooping (Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act)

It is illegal to let your dog foul in a public place and not clean it up. Claiming that you are unaware that your dog had defecated or not having the correct equipment with you (poo bags), is not an acceptable excuse. Dog poo on pavements and in playing/green areas is not only unpleasant for other people and animals, but it also carries health hazards.

You can face an on the spot fixed penalty fine of £50 -£80 if you do not clean up after your dog. If you refuse to pay the fine you can be prosecuted and face a court appearance with a fine of up to £1000

Clean up after your dog. Not only is it against the law to let your dog foul in public places, it's unpleasant for other people too.

Clean up after your dog. Not only is it against the law to let your dog foul in public places, it’s unpleasant for other people too.

Stray Dogs (Environmental Protection Act)

The Council must serve notice on a known owner of a stray dog. If the owner fails to come forward and pay the Council’s fees within 7 days from date of seizure or service of the notice, the Council may rehome the dog or may have it put to sleep.

Another reason why your dog should wear and id tag and be microchipped.

Control Of Your Dog (Dangerous Dogs Act and the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policing Act)

It is against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control. This now applies to both private property and public places.

  • You must be able to control your dog at all times, this means being able to call your dog back to you and making sure that he or she responds to you.
  • Your dog must not jump up at or chase other members of the public. Even the friendliest or smallest of dogs can cause damage by jumping up at someone, especially a child or an elderly person.
  • If there is any possibility that your dog is might attack another dog or a person he or she must be muzzled in public places.
  • You must not train or encourage your dog to attack/threaten people or other dogs.

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  1. Injures someone
  2. Makes someone worried that it might injure them
  3. It attacks a Guide Dog

A court may also consider your dog dangerously out of control if

  1. It injures someone’s animal
  2. If the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

Depending on the severity of the offence you could be faced with a prison sentence of  between 6 months and 14 years and/or an unlimited fine. Your dog may be destroyed and you may not be able to own dogs in the future.

If your dog is likely to bite someone then you must take every precaution to prevent this from happening

If you think your dog might bite or attack someone then you must take every precaution to prevent this from happening

Walking and Travelling With your Dog (The Road Traffic Act)

It is an offence to have a dog on a designated road without it being held on a lead.

Dogs (or indeed any animal) travelling in vehicles should not be a nuisance or in any way distract the driver during a journey. When travelling in a vehicle, you must ensure that your dog is suitably restrained, either in a crate/carrier, behind a dog guard or by using a seatbelt harness. A dog that is loose in a car can cause an accident very easily.

If you are involved in a collision between your vehicle and a dog, you must stop, and the police must be informed. It’s the law!

The driver of a car involved in a collision with a dog MUST stop and stay on the scene until the police have given the driver permission to leave, which usually happens after they have attended the scene (If you see someone hit a dog with a car and drive off, inform the police and give them as much detail as possible).

If the dog was loose at the time of the incident, the owner of the dog may be liable for any damage caused to the car or any injury caused to the driver (see third party liability below), which is another great reason to insure your pet.

Noise Nuisance (Environmental Protection Act)

Dog barking can be classed as a statutory nuisance if it is intrusive and irritating and is effecting someone’s quiet enjoyment of their property. If a complaint is made to the local authority may serve a Noise Abatement Notice.

Causing Distress to Farm Animals (Protection of Livestock Act)

You must never let your dog off the lead anywhere near livestock (farm animals/horses) unless you can be absolutely sure that he or she wont go anywhere near them. You are responsible for what your dog does, and if your dog causes damage to livestock by worrying, chasing, injuring or killing them, you can be fined up to £1,000 plus compensation to the farmer.


Farm animals get worried by dogs very easily

Third Party Liability (Animals Act and Dangerous Dogs Act)

The keeper of a dog is strictly liable for any damage caused by the dog in certain circumstances. This can include destruction of property and personal injury, illness or death (including the damage done to a person or their car if they hit your dog in the road!) It is recommended that you take out third party insurance liability cover as a precaution.

Please note

The above information is only a guideline of the laws involved in pet ownership, for further and more in-depth information on dog law we recommend that you visit

The law surrounding dog ownership can be very complicated especially if a dog has injured someone. If you are concerned or you are involved in a case about your own dog, we recommend that you contact a dog law specialist as soon as possible for advice.

Pet Theft Is On The Increase

Missing Pets WP

Pet theft is on the increase in the UK and we want to make pet owners aware of this worrying trend. The theft of a much loved pet and companion can be absolutely devastating to the whole family and it is not just something that happens to pedigree dogs. Any pet is a target for thieves if they think they can sell it on quickly, breed from it, hold it for ransom or, with dogs, use them in organised fights.

The Pet Theft Awareness website has statistics to show that 52% of dogs are stolen from their own gardens! With other commonly reported locations being from inside the house, from vehicles, while out on walks and when left outside shops. We also know that small pedigrees and ‘designer’ dog breeds are more likely to be stolen than larger breeds. Popular cat breeds to be taken are Siamese, Ragdolls and Persians.

MPs and peers are urging the government to do more to tackle organised dog theft and many charities are also petitioning the government to impose tougher punishments to people who steal pets. There is also the ‘vets get scanning‘ campaign which is urging vets to routinely scan any newly registered pets for microchips.

How to prevent dog theft
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car
  • Never leave your dog tied up outside while you pop into the shop or visit a friend.
  • Make sure that your garden is secure and supervise your pet while outside.
  • Supervise your dog while he or she is outside and off the lead

Microchip your pet. It won’t prevent theft, but it will prove that your pet belongs to you should there be any dispute of ownership or if your pet is found and taken to a rescue centre.  Some microchip readers also alert the operator that the pet has been reported as missing or stolen when they are scanned. The Tag stating your pet is microchipped may also act as a deterrent. More Microchipping information can be found here.

Take lots of pictures of your pet from all angles and include any distinguishing markings or features and make sure you record the date on the photos if your camera is able to do this. Again this won’t prevent theft but it can aid identification and will be useful if you ever need to make posters.

Pixie txt 2

What to do if your pet goes missing
  • Make posters of your pet and put them up in your local area and online
  • Report your missing pet to the local dog warden and veterinary surgeries
  • Phone your pet’s microchip company (details will be on the paperwork) to report your pet as missing, this will automatically update any linked microchip readers and alert anyone that scans your pet.
  • Register your pet on as many social media sites and pet lost sites as you can find (a few links are given at the end of the article)
  • Contact rescue centres so they can get in touch if your pet is handed in.
  • Don’t give up – some dogs are returned after many months or years
What should you do if you believe your pet has been stolen
  • Write down as many details as you can remember as soon as you can, about where and when your pet was taken and people that may have seen it happen.
  • Talk to anyone who may have seen your pet get taken.
  • Report the crime to the police and make sure you get a crime reference or incident number from them. You will need this if you make a claim on your pet insurance.
  • Talk to the local newspapers to see if they will cover your story.
  • Don’t give up – some dogs are returned after many months or years.
Castle Vets is offering microchips for the low price of £9.50. Microchipping is free to our Pet Health Club members. If your dog is already microchipped you can pop into the surgery and we will scan your dog to ensure the microchip is working correctly, no appointment necessary.

Useful links to lost pet websites

Useful links for theft prevention

  • Pawtrax – GPS tracking for dogs
  • Microchips – Microchip your pet at Castle Vets
  • Petloc – Secure lead and collar

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