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Microchipping and registration for dogs

Did you know that all puppies must be registered with the local council by the time they are three months old?


All dogs must be registered with the local council. Puppies should first be registered by the time they are three months old, or if a dog is newly acquired but unregistered. Every animal must be re-registered annually, and late registration will incur penalty fees. Neutered/spayed and working dogs are generally less expensive to register than entire dogs. Further registration requirements and information will be available from your local council.


Microchips are a method of identifying lost, stolen or injured animals that are not wearing their registration tag. They also allow the council to identify the owners of dogs that have attacked people, animals or other dogs. The microchip is a small transponder that, when scanned, emits a unique identification code. The microchip we use at the clinic is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected over the shoulder blades. The needle is much smaller than it used to be and generally tolerated very well by our furry friends. We try distracting your pet as the needle goes in and often they don’t even notice.

Microchips are mandatory for dogs that are:

  • Born after 1 July 2006
  • Dogs classified as dangerous or menacing i.e. ‘pose a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife or dogs with aggressive behaviour’.
  • Unregistered dogs that are impounded
  • Registered dogs that are impounded twice

Every Territorial Authority keeps a register of all dogs registered within its area. This data is also recorded on the National Dog Database. For all New Zealand councils, microchipping must be done within two months of registration (i.e. by five months of age). If there is a medical reason to delay it longer than this then you will need to ask your vet for a certificate stating the reason, which the council will accept.

For an additional fee, there is also the option of adding your dog’s microchip details to the New Zealand Companion Animal Register. This is a company that is independent of the regional councils and hold microchip information for companion animals nation-wide. It is ideal as an “extra back-up” for the storage of microchip details.

NOTE: If you do not get your dog microchipped, your council will send you a letter requesting you to comply with this law. If you still do not comply, you may receive an infringement notice.

Much like children, the costs of owning a puppy can seem never ending! However, the microchip and registration fees are a small price to pay for your peace of mind if your puppy ever goes wandering and can’t find their way back home.