Dog owners could face a fine of £500 if they do not get their pets microchipped before April this year.
From April 6 all dogs in England and Scotland will have to be microchipped as part of Government plans to reduce numbers of lost and stolen dogs and promote responsible dog ownership. In addition, all puppies will have to be chipped by the time they are eight weeks old.
Similar legislation was introduced in Wales in March 2015 and Northern Ireland made microchipping dogs compulsory in 2012.
Nishi Jani, clinic director at White Cross Vets in Northampton, said: “Microchipping is by far the most effective reunification tool for lost pets and especially because it typically costs less than £20 and lasts a lifetime.
“The system sees a tiny identity chip, the size of a grain of rice, inserted under the skin that can be scanned by a vet, dog warden or charity if the pet strays and the owners’ details can quickly be accessed. The microchip can’t be removed like a collar or tag so it offers the pet a permanent method of identification.
“The penalties for ignoring the microchipping legislation are severe. When a dog without a microchip is brought to the attention of the authorities, it’s likely that the owner will be issued with a deadline to have it chipped, but after this they could be fined and even prosecuted, so it’s not something that should be ignored,” she added.