Microchipping for cats and dogs is now compulsory in VIC, NSW, ACT, QLD and WA, and only compulsory for dogs in Tasmania. With saying this, it is important to microchip your pet so that in the event they become lost and get handed in to a charity or a local vets, they can easily be identified by scanning their microchip and be returned to you.
As an important part of responsible pet ownership (alongside pet insurance) it vastly improves the chance of you and your lost pet being reunited. However, many dog owners still have questions and reservations about the benefits of microchipping and why the government has made it a legal requirement.
Petplan takes a look at some of the key questions around the issue and why you should ensure your dog is microchipped.
Why is the government making microchipping a legal requirement?
The key objective for making microchipping a legal requirement is to improve animal welfare by increasing traceability and encouraging responsible dog ownership.
An increase in lost dogs will be reunited with their owners quicker and therefore save charities the cost of boarding the dogs. Traceability back to the breeders will in the long term lead to health improvements in the dogs as poor breeding conditions and practices lead to health and congenital problems.
What is a microchip and will it hurt my dog?
A microchip is a small electronic chip around the size of a grain of rice. The owner’s details are logged onto a central database meaning that, if the dog ever becomes lost, the microchip can be scanned and the owner identified and contacted quickly.
Because the microchip is so small there isn’t any need for anaesthetic. Using a specially designed implanting device, it’s inserted between your dog’s shoulder blades and is the equivalent of getting your ear pierced.
Do all dogs need to be microchipped?
As of October 2016, it is compulsory for all dogs (except in South Australia and the Northern Territory) to be microchipped, where as it is compulsory for cats in all states (except South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania).
Depending on the state, all puppies must be microchipped by the time they are 6 months old (being the most – most states are 12 weeks old) and it is illegal for breeders to sell puppies that are not microchipped and registered on an authorised database.
What do I do if my contact details change?
A dog purchased from a breeder should already be microchipped as the breeder will be the first recorded keeper of the puppy on the database, and will then transfer the ownership documents to the new owner.
If you are simply moving house you will have to let your microchip provider know by contacting them directly or visiting www.petaddress.com.au. It is vital that this is done to ensure you are reunited with your dog as soon as possible if they get lost.
What happens if I don’t get my dog microchipped?
All cats and dogs being registered with a local council (that has compulsory microchipping) for the first time must be microchipped prior to registration. You can be fined if you do not comply. In addition, councils have the power to require compulsory microchipping of all cats and dogs housed in their municipality.
You should check with your local council as to what is required in your area.
Are there any exemptions to getting your dog microchipped?
Only medical grounds can exempt your dog from getting microchipped. If you are concerned about any adverse reaction then consult with your vet before moving forward. If your vet believes it would be to the detriment of your pet’s health, then they can give you a letter to exempt your pet from being microchipped.