Vets have launched a campaign to help dog owners understand and comply with a new law regarding dog ownership.
In just one month, from Wednesday, April 6, all dogs aged eight weeks and over in the UK will be legally required to have a microchip.
Statistics show approximately 1.8 million dogs still do not have a microchip in the UK, but 80 per cent of the pet dog population does currently comply with the new law.
To help dog owners check if their dog has a microchip, vets are increasing awareness of the new law and helping owners understand more about the legal requirements.
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “In just a few weeks’ time, tens of thousands of dog owners could be breaking the law and facing a fine of up to £500.
“But pet owners shouldn’t worry about microchipping their pet. It is an easy and simple procedure.
“A microchip is about the same size of a grain of rice and is injected under the skin at the scruff of a dog’s neck.
“Each microchip has a 15-digit code which is unique to the pet and can be read through a special scanner.”
The new legislation is designed to prevent illegal breeding of dogs, bring owners to account for a dog’s aggressive behaviour and reunite lost pets with their rightful owners quickly.
But microchipping is also carried out on other pets, including cats and rabbits.
Dr Stacey added: “The statistics show, the vast majority of dog owners are caring and responsible when it comes to pet welfare and their dogs are highly likely to be microchipped.
“By adding a traceable element to all dogs it will help lost or stolen pets be reunited with their owner.
“Of course this also applies to cats, rabbits and other pets, and while legally only dogs will be required to be microchipped, it is sensible to microchip a cat or rabbit too.
“It is also vital that all owners keep their contact details up-to-date on a microchip database. Previous research has shown some pets cannot be returned to their owner because the chip has incomplete or inaccurate data.”