Identifying a pet is done with a virtually painless injection in which a microchip with a unique 15-digit number is placed under the skin. This number is linked to the animal’s details and those of its owner in a central Belgian database. We explain the usefulness of this legislation later in this document.
Ensure correct and accessible data
It is of course important that the registered data are correct, especially the phone number is crucial to ensure that you can be reunited with your pet as soon as possible if it is lost.
Given privacy regulations, all data in registration databases have been made invisible on 1 May 2021. This, of course, clashes with the purpose of these databases. Even the police can no longer access this data. Therefore, it is important to give permission to make your data public again. At Iscavets, we make it a point of honour to check this for every patient when they visit our veterinary practice and adjust it if necessary.
Don’t hesitate to put your data in the public domain. For a search, you need the unique number of the microchip, obtained by reading the chip on the animal with a chip reader. Moreover, a successful search will only show the owner’s name and phone number.
You may not buy a dog or cat that is not microchipped and registered. You may also not sell or give away (for free) a dog or cat that has not been microchipped and registered.
If you are moving from abroad, it is best to arrange for registration in the respective databases through your vet as soon as possible. Your animal will not be rechipped for this purpose. In any case, this is legally required within 8 days if you will be staying in Belgium for at least 6 months.
Identification of dogs, cats and ferrets is a requirement if you want to take your pet on a trip.
Specific for dogs
- Every dog must be microchipped and registered no later than 8 weeks, or earlier if the animal changes owners.
- Every dog must have a European passport.
Specific for cats
- All females born from 1 September 2012 (from shelter) or 1 September 2014 (from breeder or individual) must be microchipped and registered (CatID or IDChips).
- All females born after 8 August 2017 must be microchipped and registered in CatID before the age of 12 weeks, or earlier if the animal changes hands.
- Registration in IDChips’ old private database is sufficient provided your animal was registered before 1 November 2017 and provided the animal has not changed hands since then. Additional registration in CatID is of course allowed.
- Regardless of age, a cat must be registered in CatID upon a change of ownership.
- Any cat born after 31 August 2014 must also be neutered or spayed before the age of 5 months or earlier when changing ownership. Only exception to this is provided for licensed breeders and for animals intended for export.
- A cat is allowed but not required to have a European passport. If you take your cat abroad, however, this is mandatory.
Advantages of a microchip
- The main one in any case is reuniting an animal with its owner. Of course, the microchip is not a remote detection system, but very often people find a cat in the garden that they do not know if it has an owner. Or a dog wanders the streets. Flyers and appeals through Facebook can help, but take a lot of time and are far from fruitful.
- There are also a few situations where time is more pressing: when a sick or injured animal is brought to the vet without an owner. Sometimes decisions need to be made quickly.
- There are dog and cat shutters that respond only to programmed identification numbers. This allows your own animals to enter and leave freely without other animals being able to enter unwanted.
- There are also feeders that respond to the microchip which can be particularly useful if you have several animals in the house and where they are not allowed to eat each other’s food.
- Deceased animals are regularly recovered from the streets by the fire brigade. Veterinary practice Iscavets has given them a microchip reader as a gift so they can contact the owner of a deceased identified animal. Being told that your cat has died is not pleasant, of course, but at least this way the owners do not have to be left for a long time with hopes and doubts about what happened to their animal.
- Unique identification is logically a basic requirement for pet insurance.
- A microchip also avoids your cat undergoing useless surgery should she be caught during a stray cat campaign.
Iscavets Veterinary Practice has the necessary equipment to read and insert microchips. For small dog breeds and for cats, we use a modified small microchip so that it is not or barely visible even on naked cats.