Help and advice

We are here to help. If you have any questions that you are unsure about, then please use our step-by-step guides on how to use our website.


What is a microchip?

A microchip is a transponder or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device). It is a tiny chip with a unique identification number programmed into it and enclosed in a cylinder of biologically compatible material.

Once the chip is injected under the skin of the pet, the unique number can identify your pet throughout their life once registered on an approved Database such as Animark. The chip cannot be lost or easily removed and hence provides a secure method for protecting your pet against theft.

Why should I get my pet microchipped?

Apart from it being a legal requirement for dogs, the microchip contains a unique number which makes it the best way of identifying you as the pet’s owner should your pet ever get lost.

Many pets escape from their homes through open doors, gates, etc. and find themselves lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Unfortunately, with the rise in pet ownership and the cost of dogs in particular, pet theft is a serious concern and a daily occurrence. If a lost pet is found and he or she is not microchipped, then there is no way of identifying and contacting you as the owner.

How is the microchip number read?

The chip is activated by a handheld scanner that is passed over the area and the chip then transmit the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. The vet or other authorised officer involved in the reunification of your pet can then check this number on Animark to obtain the owners contact details.

Are microchips GPS trackers?

No, unlike GPS trackers microchips cannot be detected via satellite or remotely. Currently, the technology does not exist to manufacture an implantable GPS. There are devices available that attach to your pet’s collar but these are limited by battery life (usually up to 10 days) and can be easily removed or lost.

What does ISO Standard mean?

The International Standards Organization, or ISO, has approved and recommended a global standard for microchips. The global standard is intended to create an identification system that is consistent worldwide. For example, if a dog is implanted with an ISO standard microchip in the U.S. and travels to Europe with its owners and becomes lost, the ISO standard scanners in Europe would be able to read the dog's microchip.

All chips manufactured since 1996 should conform to ISO Standards 11784 and 11785.

Can a microchip be removed?

Microchips cannot be easily removed. In recent times there have been cases of illegal removal of microchips. This causes considerable distress, pain and mutilation of the animal involved. Safe removal of a microchip is a complicated surgical procedure that could only be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon with the animal under general anaesthetic.

I want to get my pet microchipped. Where do I go?

Most veterinary clinics keep microchips on hand, so it is likely that your pet can be implanted with a microchip the same day as your appointment.

Please ensure that when you are paying for your microchip that the veterinarian is going to register your details with Animark.

What will it cost me?

Generally a vet will charge around €20 to €40 to microchip your pet if they are not already microchipped.

Who implants the chips?

Under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015, only a qualified person may implant microchips into dogs in Ireland. To be qualified, one must either have been trained as part of recognised veterinary qualifications and be listed on the Veterinary Council of Ireland, or one must be trained in accordance with Section 11 of the Regulations. Please click here for the list of Animark lay implanters who can implant and register dogs. The Regulations prohibit an implanter from implanting her/his own dogs or the dogs of a “connected person”, such as a spouse, partner, brother, sister, parent, child, or the spouse of a child.

Your certificate of registration

According to the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 a person shall not have a dog in his or her possession unless they have a valid certificate of registration. For security reasons, it is our preference to e-mail each owner with their certificate of registration for secure keeping.


Is it a legal requirement to have my dog microchipped?

Yes, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015. These are regulations made under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013.

All dogs must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database before they are sold or before they reach 12 weeks of age (8 weeks for dog breeding establishments as per The Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010). Breeders, sellers and private individuals are prohibited from selling a pup that is less than eight weeks old.

Failure to comply with the legislation could result in a fine of up to €5,000.

Dog owners are also required to keep their pet’s details up to date with the database under the legislation.

Is my dog’s microchip proof of ownership?

Under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986, an “owner” in relation to a dog includes the occupier of any premises where the dog is kept or permitted to live or remain and shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to be the owner.

The occupier of any premises where a dog is found shall be deemed to be the person who keeps the dog unless he proves that:

(a) he is not the owner of the dog, and

(b) the dog was kept on the premises either (i) without his knowledge or (ii) by some other person who had a licence for the dog.

What about Cats?

While it is currently not a legal requirement for your cat to be microchipped, all the advantages of microchipping applies to cats, if not more so as cats are more independent and tend to wander more than dogs. The same microchip is used and all your details are recorded on Animark in the exact same way as a dog and you are issued with a certificate of registration for your cat. The microchip will help reunite you with your lost cat in the same way as a lost dog.

Is Animark one of the approved Databases in Ireland?

Yes, Animark is one of the approved databases under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015.

Animark is a member of, a group of national and local associations across Europe. If your dog is found, a search on will show which country and database holds the owner’s registered details.

Animark is also a member of PetMaxx is an international companion animal microchip search tool created to help reunite lost pets and their owners. PetMaxx scans a range of international databases (including North & South America, Europe, Russia and Australia etc.) to indicate whether a microchip is registered or not and on which database.

Do I have to get a licence for my dog?

It is an offence to keep a dog unless you have a licence. Puppies aged under 4 months who are still with their mothers don't need a licence, but once they leave their mothers, they must have a licence.

You can apply for an individual or lifetime dog licence at your local post office. Failure to comply with the legislation could result in a fine of up to €2,500.

Licences are not needed for:

  • Guide dogs for blind people
  • Dogs in the possession of a local authority
  • Dogs in the possession of the ISPCA or Gardaí
  • Dogs in the possession of the ISPCA or Gardaí
Is it a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar and tag?

As well as being microchipped, it is still a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar and tag with the owner’s name and address on it when in a public place. Failure to comply with the legislation could result in a fine of up to €2,500.

Your dog must be accompanied by a responsible person and under effective control at all times, preferably on a lead in public places. Many local authorities have introduced by-laws that indicate areas where dogs are prohibited or must be kept on a leash.

Does my pet need a pet passport?

There are many rules around pet passports. In Ireland, EU pet passports are issued by private vets to the pet owner. If you would like to bring your dog or cat to the EU and/or the UK, then you need to apply for a Pet Passport.

Please refer to the following links for more information.

Updating Owner Details

How should I keep my details up to date?

A microchip is a permanent form of identification and once all the details are kept up-to-date, you can always be contacted when your pet is found. This includes if you change address or want to register a different email or phone number for example. Please contact us by email if you need to update your address or phone number.

How do I check if my pet’s microchip details are up to date?

When you get a new pet, get your vet to scan them at your next appointment or as soon as possible to check if the microchip number matches your certificate of registration.

When you get your pet microchipped you will receive a certificate of registration. Please check that all the details are correct.

If you don’t have a certificate of registration and are unsure which database your pet is registered on, you can check this by searching for the chip number on Animark and also on or

Buying a Pet

Should my new pet be microchipped before I take him/her home?

Yes, 100%! The breeder should be the first registered owner of the pet (they are breaking the law if they have not registered – see Selling a Pet section for more information). If a breeder has not microchipped and registered the pet before you take them home, please take care that they are legitimate breeders.

Before you buy the dog, you can ask the breeder for the microchip number and search the chip number on our website to ensure that the pet has been registered.

Your first vet visit

Whenever you buy or rescue a puppy or adult dog, you should ask your vet to scan them on your first visit to make sure that the chip corresponds with the chip number you’ve been given. Errors can and do happen easily, so always make sure the chip and certificate of registration match.

Selling a Pet

What does the law say about selling pets?

New rules on the sale or supply of animals (not just dogs) came into effect on 1st February 2020. These rules are set out in the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Regulations) 2019.

From 1 February 2020, if you are advertising a dog for sale, the advertisement must have the dog’s unique microchip code, registration number of the seller / supplier, age of the animal and country of origin of the animal.

What age should a dog be microchipped?

All dogs must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database before they are sold or before they reach 12 weeks of age (8 weeks for dog breeding establishments as per The Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010). Breeders, sellers and private individuals are all prohibited from selling (or passing one on to a friend or family member) a pup that is less than eight weeks old and all are responsible for microchipping the puppy.

Who can legally sell a pet (not just dogs)?

There are three groups as listed below:

Private Individuals: anyone who sells or supplies five or less animals in a single calendar year.

Registered Sellers: anyone who sells or supplies six or more animals in a calendar year must register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). A list of registered sellers is updated bi-weekly by DAFM and can be searched and downloaded on

Dog Breeding Establishments: any property with six or more female dogs that are capable of breeding is considered a dog breeding establishment. Registered breeding establishments (RBEs) are strictly regulated and must conform to specific requirements in terms of size and hygiene. Each RBE will have a registration number issued by the relevant local authority, or in the case of a registered charitable organisation, will have a registration number issued under the Charities Act 2009.

How do I update the record with new owner details?

You can register your new ownership details on our website by clicking on "Register / Change Ownership". Once you fill out the online form, this will lead onto a page to make payment of €10 (service fee) and your new certificate of registration will be issued within about 5 working days.

Otherwise, you can complete the change of ownership hard copy application form that you should have received when buying your pet and send in a postal order or cheque payment with the form to us at 51 Bracken Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, D18 CV48.

Lost and Found

Help! I lost my pet!

We cannot locate lost pets that have not yet been scanned by the finders, but please tell us when your pet has been lost or stolen and we will put a note against your pet on the database to highlight that he or she has been reported missing.

What happens when a pet is found?

When dogs are found straying, they are collected by the local authority dog warden and kept for seven days. If your microchipped dog goes missing and is taken in by the dog warden, your contact details will be easily found and you can come and collect them straight away, even if their collar and ID tag have fallen off.

After seven days your dog can be passed to a rehoming charity, or they may be euthanised by the local authority.

How can a microchip help reunite a lost or stolen pet with its owner?

When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. Veterinary surgeons, animal welfare organisations, dog wardens, the garda, and local authorities can all access the Animark database at any time. Once they have scanned your pet and entered the microchip number, they will see your contact details and be able to get in touch with you to reunite you with your pet.