Dog Microchipping

July 1, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

They are regulations made under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 that require pups to be microchipped and registered. They were signed in March 2015. They can be viewed here:

From September 2015 all newborn pups will be legally required to be microchipped and registered. The Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 takes effect in June 2015 for newborn pups.
The regulations apply to all dogs from31 March 2016..

The microchipping scheme is a successful way of reuniting owners with lost or stolen pets. It will relieve the pressure on animal charities and dog pounds by significantly reducing the amount of time they need to house dogs while the owner is located. It will also protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership. It can also be used to locate owners where a dog has been involved in worrying livestock or other crimes. Microchipping is far more effective and permanent than identification methods such as dog collars or tattoos which can fade or altered and which are more painful for the dogs.

A microchip is tiny device about the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted using a sterile needle under the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip is encased in a special bio-compatible glass, the same material used in human pacemakers, which is accepted by the dog’s body and fuses with the bodily tissue so it does not move around. The microchip has no power supply or moving parts. The Microchip is inert and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip after being implanted. Microchips contain a unique 15 digit numerical code which must be registered alongside the owner’s details on an authorised database.

Your dog will need to be microchipped and registered with an authorised database. This is a two step process: microchip and register. Compliance with the legislation requires completion of both steps. The registration should be contemporaneous with the microchipping.

The microchip contains a unique 15 digit number. Therefore your details will need to be stored alongside the chip details so that you can be contacted should your dog be found. If your details change, if you move house for example, you will be required to update the details on the database. There are currently several databases in operation.

Currently operating databases are being examined by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine with a view to authorisation. New entrants to the market are possible and will be considered for authorisation.

This FAQ will be updated shortly when the results of this process are finalised.

To be authorised, a database must be a full member of europetnet. This is an organisation that acts as a clearing house for animal Microchipping numbers. If your dog is found, a search on will show which database holds the owner’s registered details.

Vets and Veterinary Nurses are allowed as are persons trained and authorised by Databases in the appropriate procedures. Implanting courses run in other states are not valid to allow implanting because this is a two step process and a person is must be trained not just in the safe and correct implantation and animal handling but also in the correct handling of the data. Similarly databases are not allowed to take registration data from people who they have not set up as an identified and authorised as a unique user. This means that all records will be identifiable by the individual responsible for implanting the dog and creating the record which identifies it.

No, you cannot remove the microchip without surgery.

No, it cannot be rewritten, nor are the owners details inscribed on the chip. Microchips are very simple devices that merely contain a 15 digit numerical code.

There is no power source or moving parts and most chips should last far longer than the lifetime of the animal they are implanted into.

No, the microchip contains no power source and cannot emit a signal unless scanned at close quarters. While technology to do this exists it is rare and expensive.

The regulations require that the microchips are implanted by a properly trained person. Dog owners should ensure that the person microchipping their dog is competent familiar with the regulations. If it has not been done properly i.e. if the microchip doesn’t work or meet the required standards, the owner will need to have a new one inserted.

Once implanted the microchip becomes encased by a thin layer of protein which keeps it in place. The chances of this happening are very small. A survey published in the British Journal of Small Animal Practice, reported that of an estimated 2.3 million animals implanted with microchips in the UK, there had only been 165 instances of a chip moving. This study also reported that there were only another 122 instances of adverse reactions such as infection or failure.

The procedure is no more painful than a standard vaccination. Anaesthetic is not required.

No, you do not, provided that the microchip is technically compliant and your details are registered with an authorised database. It is often the case that dogs which are currently chipped are either not registered or is registered in a previous owner’s name, often a dog breeder. Dog owners who have their dogs currently chipped should check that their details are up to date and correct.

A microchip can be implanted in a dog of any age. Legally they must be chipped by the time they are 12 weeks old but they can be chipped earlier than that.

No it is not. The chip that was used should be suitable but your details will need to be registered with an authorised database as well.

If you are here on holiday or other short stay, you do not have to do anything further as your dog would already have been microchipped and accompanied on import, by a pet passport or a veterinary health certificate.

If you are planning a longer term stay, you will need to register your ownership of your dog on a database in this country within 3 weeks of arrival. Simply bring your dog and its papers (pet passport/health certificate on which it was imported) along to your local private veterinary practitioner to have it recorded on a registered database.

Microchips are current standard technology and will remain so for the foreseeable future. They have been tested and become accepted over time and are now widespread and cheaply available. Microchips will not become obsolete in the lifetime of the dog. While more advanced technology exists it would still be at an early stage of use and would remain somewhat experimental and expensive.

The Data Protection Act provides significant protection to citizens. When you have your dog chipped and registered, a reputable authorised database should make clear to you the conditions under which your personal details will be released. Generally this consists of telling the gardai or dog warden where your dog has been found or where your dog has been involved in a crime such as sheep worrying. Databases are legally prevented from giving out your details for other reasons or purposes.

Yes they do. There is a problem that dogs which are microchipped sometimes have out of date details on the database they are recorded on. Therefore the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 requires that the certificate of registration issued by the database must be endorsed by the seller and then forwarded by the buyer to the relevant database.

Both buyers and sellers are required to verify the identity. If the transfer of ownership process is not carried out properly, there is a risk that either buyer or seller may be at risk. For example, if you bought a dog which was stolen it may still legally belong to the registered owner.

Yes it is. Both databases are legally required to facilitate this. You may be charged a fee for creating a new registration on the databases you have chosen.

The cost of dog Microchipping has been falling and the market is now very competitive. It is often offered by vets as part of an extensive package deal to new dog owners along with services such as vaccination. The cost of Microchipping and registration is a tiny proportion of the cost of caring for and feeding a dog. It avoids costs such as trying to locate a lost pet by printing and hanging fliers, placing ads and rewards and calling shelters. It also reduces the stress of this often long drawn out process. The government is not providing free microchips to dog owners but it is supporting a number of dog welfare charities to promote dog Microchipping. In September Dog Microchipping month will see a significant number of free Microchipping clinics. On a year round basis, a number of charities provide a means tested free Microchipping service to the needy.

There is no such thing as a dog chip implanter. The Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 requires both microchipping and registration of dogs to be carried out together. This is a two step process: microchip and register. Compliance with the legislation requires completion of both steps. The Databases are in a position to train their operatives and employees in this combined operation.

Training for such persons is a matter for authorised databases. To a significant extent, they will be focused on training existing employees.

This is not legal. Under the terms of the dog Microchipping regulations, you are not permitted to implant your own dog. If you have seen a website like this, please forward the details to the Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine at

No, this is not allowed. While any qualified veterinary professional would have the skills to carry out the implanting there is a conflict of interests issue with creating registrations for their own animals.

Under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 this will not be lawful. This is a two step process: microchip and register.

Yes. However the requirements being placed on these databases are significant. They must provide a full time reunification service, provide training for their agents and employees, have their data on, to have adequate and robust IT architecture to ensure accountability, security of their records and the legal requirements to allow for the records of dog owners to be safely backed up and passed on should the database fail. Membership of europetnet requires an annual turnover of animal numbers of 3,000 per year.

Local authorities, DAFM and An Garda Siochana will be responsible for enforcing the law. Vets will also be asked to remind owners to microchip their dogs.

Owners of dogs found without a chip after April 2016 will have a short amount of time to have the procedure carried out. Those who refuse to microchip their dogs could face a fine of up to £5,000.

The focus will be on encouraging compliance but enforcement remains an important tool to be used in appropriate circumstances. The focus is also on the choke points in the dog marketplace so that by focusing on new born pups, over time we will ensure that the vast majority of dogs are in compliance. We expect those working with and coming into contact with dogs to remind owners of the benefits of microchipping, to them and their dog. However, where the authorities come across unchipped dogs, particularly where they are investigating other matters such as animal welfare, dog fighting or illegal exports of puppies the owners will face fines of up to €5,000 per animal.

While the two systems could potentially be linked in the future this is not currently the case. Private and NGO based dog microchipping databases have been operating successfully for over a decade in Ireland. It would require a significant change in IT architecture both for these databases and local authorities. It also raises significant legal issues under Data Protection legislation.

The Minister for Agriculture Food & the Marine is responsible for animal welfare and so sees these regulations as an important step forward that will benefit the welfare of dogs.

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