Rules and regulations

Identification and registration, what is it ?

Your animal must be identified with an electronic chip, also known as a microchip, tag or transponder. The chip needs to be implanted by vet.

Tattooing is an old identification method, but it can wear off over time so check that it is still readable !

For dogs, since 1 September 1998, the registration of dogs in Belgium has been managed exclusively by DOG ID (formerly ABIEC). The DOG ID file is therefore the only national database centralising all dog identifications in Belgium. Note that no other body organises the registration of identifications!

DOG ID

The person responsible for the dog is required to verify that his or her personal information in the dog register is correct and to inform the register of any changes or corrections.

What is it used for?

First of all, identification makes it possible to PROTECT your pets! It makes it possible for:

  • Your lost or stolen pet to be returned to you
  • You to prove that you are your pet’s owner
  • You to be protected from the person who sold you your pet
  • Better monitoring of the sale of animals.

    When your animal is identified, it can be granted a European pet passport, which is needed if you want to take your pet with you when you travel outside Belgium.

    Moreover, official anti-rabies vaccinations are listed in this pet passport. Thus in order for an anti-rabies vaccination to be deemed official, your pet must have a European passport and hence be identified.

    What does the law say?

    In Belgium, ALL dogs born after 31 December 1998 (Royal Decree of 17 November 1994) and ALL dogs which have changed owner (sale or gift) MUST be IDENTIFIED and REGISTERED). Hence:

    • if puppies are born in your home (even if you are planning to keep them!). you must have then identified and registered in your name before they are 8 weeks old
    • If you want to give away or sell a god, you first have to get it identified and registered in your name (no matter how old the dog is!)
    • If you buy or are given a dog, it must first have been identified, registered in the name of the seller and come with a pet passport. You must then register it under your own name (which is free-of-charge!)

    If you want to travel with your pet to another European Union member state, the electronic chip is compulsory (required since 3/7/2011). A tattoo alone is tolerated as long as it was carried out before 3 July 2011 and is clearly visible – but for travel to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta, a tattoo alone is not enough – your pet will need a pet passport

    NO identification -> NO European passport!! And therefore no official anti-rabies vaccination.

    How do I get my dog identified and registered?
    • Your dog needs to be identified either with an electronic tag (transponder or tattoo. For travelling outside Belgium, your dog must be identified with an electronic chip (also known as microchip or microtag). Only tattoos carried out before 3 July 2011 are allowed if they are easily readable.
    • Identification by electronic chip must be done by a vet ; identification by tattoo must be done either by a vet or by a tattooist who belongs to an authorised association.
    • Your dog will then be registered with DOG ID. You will then receive a pet passport and identification and registration certificate (in the form of self-adhesive labels to be stuck on pages 1, 2 and 3 of your dog’s passport). You will also receive a card "Demande de changement de responsable ou de changement d'adresse - Déclaration de décès" which you can use for reporting any future changes of addess or owner.
    Identification of other animals

    For cats and ferrets, identification and registration are not compulsory, unless you need to have your pet vaccinated against rabies. The vet can carry out the identification and issue the European pet passport (.WEB) at the same time as the vaccination.

    For cats and other animals, there are several databases, none of which has been designated by the Belgian authorities.

  • SRPA asbl
  • Id-chips
  • Europetnet
  • ANSPA (only by telephone + 32 (0)2 524 29 15)+ 32 (0)2 524 29 15)
  • Registre belge pour l'identification féline (uniquement par téléphone + 32 (0)2 673 52 30 )
  • Id Chips asbl

In order to give you 15 days to seek and find your pet, current legislation stipulates that any animal found and taken to an animal refuge centre cannot be made available for adoption until 16 days have passed.

  • • If your pet has identification :

    If your animal has identification, your chances of finding it against are high. If it’s a dog, you must inform DOG ID about its disappearance as soon as possible on +32 (0)2 333 92 22 and also inform the local police. In the vast majority of cases, it will end up in a refuge, which will immediately verify its identification and contact you without delay. This requires your details to be up-to-date on the DOG ID +32 (0)2 333 92 22If you are not given any news about your pet, we recommend that you contact the animal refuges for verification.

  • • If your pet does not have identification :

    Your chances of finding your pet are unfortunately much more haphazard, anyone who might have found your pet not having any way of knowing who the owner is. You should therefore phone as many refuges as you can, along with local police stations, to make up for the lack of identification. You can also put up posters of your missing pet in the area where it went missing and in local shops.

  • Since you are breaking the law by not having your pet identified (unless it was born before 1998), if it is in an animal refuge centre or pet charity, by law it will only be returned to you once it has been officially identified and registered, a service you will be required to pay for.

Under Belgian law, it is illegal for you to keep an animal you have found in your home for more than four days. Keeping an animal for longer is considered theft and will severely jeopardise the animal’s chances of finding its legitimate owners again. Be aware that its owners are probably feeling desperate and are actively seeking their lost pet.

Under the letter of the law, anyone who finds an animal ‘must hand it over to the local authority (the ‘commune’) within four days, but in the vast majority of cases, the local commune office is not equipped to look after animals and you will be sent to an animal refuge. It is therefore quicker to contact the local refuge centre directly, which will deal with all the legal requirements and do what is necessary to help return the animal to its home.

If the animal is correctly identified by chip or tattoo, it will almost certainly be returned to its owner.

If the refuge centre where you left the animal tells you that the pet has not been identified, it would be useful to put up posters near the area where you found it, describing the animal and giving the contact details for the refuge you took it to.