Staying within the law with your dog

From April 6th, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will have to be microchipped.
From April 6th, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will have to be microchipped.

There are approximately 10m dogs kept in the UK and they all vary in breeds, shape, size and personality.

On average dogs live for about 12 years but some for a lot longer.

Owning and caring for a dog can be great fun and rewarding but it is important to know about dog laws. If you own or are responsible for a dog, even on a temporary basis, you are required by law to care for it properly and take reasonable steps to ensure its welfare needs are met.

The law states your dog must wear a collar and tag when in public. The collar must have your name and address on and your telephone number can be helpful too.

Without a collar, it is possible your dog may be seized and treated as a stray.

From 2015 in Wales and April 6 2016 in England the law will make it compulsory for owners to have their dogs microchipped (if they are over eight weeks of age).

Having a collar and tag are essential in case he or she goes missing. Should your dog go missing, your local authority should be your first point of contact. They may charge a fee to reclaim your dog particularly if it goes missing frequently. If a dog is not claimed within seven days, the local authority has the right to rehome or euthanise the dog.

Dogs must be suitably restrained when in a vehicle so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.

Make sure you have a seat belt harness or other suitable method such as a dog guard or crate for restraining your dog in the car.

A loose dog in a car can cause serious injuries to the human occupants and to themselves.

I personally have seen cases where the car has been involved in an accident and the dog runs off in fear and gets lost or injured.

Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day.

Dogs pant to keep cool as they do not have effective sweat glands so in hot stuffy cars they are unable to cool themselves down.