Dog owners risk breaking the law by making these simple mistakes


Experts at are alerting dog owners to simple mistakes that could result in breaking the law and huge fines.

In Northern Ireland, all dogs must be microchipped at eight weeks old. If a dog isn’t microchipped by the time it’s 8 weeks old, the owner could be liable to pay a £500 fine and could even face criminal prosecution. Dogs must also be microchipped before an owner applies for a dog licence or the licence will not be valid.

Dog owners are also responsible for ensuring that the contact details held against their dog’s microchip number are accurate. If the details are not accurate, their dog licence will be invalid and the owner may also face a £500 fine.

Not only does microchipping help identify and return dogs to their owners, it also helps to decrease the growing number of strays on the streets and alleviates the strain that many animal shelters are under.

Charities and local authorities can save millions of pounds in annual savings by not having to feed and home dogs who have gone missing, when they can instead easily scan the chip and find the owner.

Additionally, since it is a legal requirement to microchip your dog, you cannot get pet insurance cover without it, if you have incorrect information on your insurance, your policy may be invalid when you come to make a claim.

As well as being microchipped, dogs are legally required to wear a collar with the owner’s contact details when out in public and failing to do so may risk serious consequences for dog owners.

It is illegal for a dog to be on a highway or in a public place without a collar that includes the name and address of the owner attached, even if they are microchipped.

Any dog owner caught disregarding these rules is breaking the law and could  result in a maximum fine of £1,000.

The owner’s name and address must be inscribed onto the collar or attached using a plate, badge or tag.

The law does have some exceptions, such as dogs who work in emergency rescue or those working on a farm tending livestock.

Ian Wilson, Managing Director at said: “With everyone feeling the financial pinch, the last thing pet owners need is a hefty fine for forgetting something as simple as popping the collar on or microchipping their dog.

“Microchipping and collars with contact details increase the chance of missing pets being reunited with their owners, providing benefits for animal welfare as well as lowering costs for animal shelters.

“The law is there to protect dogs so that their owners can be easily traced if they go missing.  It’s also there to protect people, if a dog attacks someone, the authorities need to be able to contact the owner.

“Not only will microchipping help keep your dog safe, but it will also help you avoid hefty fines and make it possible to protect your pooch with a pet insurance policy.”

To find savings on your pet insurance, can help – older dog , lifetime pet and multiple dog insurance. 

This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.