Your Guide to Dog Registration & Microchipping in NSW

Alice Newen | 06 November, 2023

            Your Guide to Dog Registration & Microchipping in NSW

Did your fur baby just turn 6 months old? Wondering what to buy or do first? 

Apart from birthday giftsvaccinations, and your puppy’s first grooming session, there’s one more thing you need to put on your to-do list—dog registration. 

Before you even think of skipping it, we’re here to tell you that dog registration in NSW is compulsory under the Companion Animals Act of 1998 (CA Act). So, unless your pet is an exemption, you’ll have to find time for the NSW pet registry once your dog becomes 6 months old. Otherwise, you’ll incur a fixed penalty notice of $330 or a maximum penalty of $5500 to $6,500 if your dog is considered dangerous.

But more than its legal grounds, dog registration is important to ensure that fur babies who get lost or stolen can be safely returned to their owners. After all, a dog collar or harness with identity tags can only help so much. 

It may sound like a lot of work, but don’t worry! Thanks to technology, processing dog registration in NSW is a breeze! All you have to do is follow some simple steps.

Preparing to register your dog in NSW

Pet Registry NSW

As pet registration becomes more relevant and strictly enforced, 60,000 to 90,000 dogs are added to the NSW pet registry annually. This number is expected to increase even more as Service NSW streamlines the registration process. 

But before your fur baby becomes part of this growing number, you’ll have to accomplish the following steps and prepare their accompanying documents:

  • MyServiceNSW account 

To create your MyServiceNSW account, visit the Service NSW website. Once on the site, you’ll be asked for the following details:

  • Email address
  • Password
  • Mobile number (optional for two-step authentication)

You can also create an account using the NSW Pet Registry or register through the paper forms provided by your local council.

  • Proof of identity 

This can be any of the following:

  • Australian driver licence
  • Australian passport
  • Medicare card 
  • Pet microchip ID number

Is microchipping necessary for pet registration?

Yes! Your dog can’t be registered if it hasn’t been microchipped by a veterinarian or an authorised identifier yet. The microchip implanted under your dog's skin will serve as an identifier with a unique 15-digit code that a scanner can read. 

To verify your dog’s microchip number, have a veterinarian or an authorised identifier fill out the Verification of Existing Microchip M1 form. After which, secure the pink copy of this form and submit it to your local NSW council for updating.

Rest assured, the microchip only displays the unique ID number and not your personal data. Plus, the information on the NSW Companion Animals Register can only be accessed by authorised individuals, including council staff and the police.

To know more about dog microchipping, don’t miss out on the next part of this guide!

  • Registration fee

Once you’ve accomplished the other registration requirements, you must pay a one-off lifetime registration fee to complete the process. But, you might wonder, where do registration fees go?

It’s definitely for a good cause! NSW ensures the collected money goes back to the community by funding the following animal services:

  • Education and awareness activities
  • Responsible pet ownership initiatives
  • Council pounds/shelters
  • Ranger services
  • Dog recreation areas

Suppose you still find the registration fees unjustifiable or too expensive. In that case, you can claim a reduced registration fee if you can provide proof (letter, certificate, or membership) for any of the following:

  • Desexed
  • Assistance Animal
  • Working Dog
  • Registered Racing Greyhound
  • Pensioner
  • Registered Breeder

Applying these conditions, your registration fee may vary based on the table (as of July 2023) below:

Registration Type


Dog – Desexed (by relevant age of 6 months)


Dog – Desexed (by relevant age of 6 months + eligible pensioner)


Dog – Desexed (sold by council pound/shelter or a registered rehoming organisation)


Dog – Not Desexed or Desexed (after the relevant age of 6 months)


Dog – Not Desexed (An animal with a vet's note exempting it from desexing)


Dog – Not Desexed (An animal with a vet's note exempting it from desexing + eligible pensioner)


Dog – Not Desexed (Kept by a breeder for breeding purposes)


Dog – Working


Dog – Service of the State


Assistance Animal


Late Registration Fee


Source: NSW Office of the Local Government

These fees may also be subjected to refunds depending on your situation and refund policy. 

How to register your dog in NSW

Got everything you need? Ready to get your dog registered?

There are two ways to register your dog in NSW: (1) online through the NSW Pet Registry website and (2) over the counter at your local council.

  • Online (NSW Pet Registry)

If you have crazy schedules, online registration is the one for you! Service NSW introduced the NSW Pet Registry in July 2016 to accommodate even the busiest owners. 

Here's how it works:

  1. Click the ‘Register Online’ button.
  2. If you already have a Service NSW account, simply log in. Otherwise, follow the prompts leading to account creation and registration.
  3. After registering, link your dog's record by inputting the microchip number and your Registry account phone number, then select 'Search' to view your fur baby's details.
  4. Select ‘Link Pet’ and process your payment.
  5. After making the payment, you'll receive your receipt and Certificate of Registration via email, and voila! You’re done!
  • Over the counter

If you want to register your dog in person, you can also do it in your local council through the following steps:

  1. Visit your local council (Make sure to bring your proof of identity and your dog’s microchip ID number)
  2. Fill out the Lifetime Registration form (R2) 
  3. Submit the form, along with a copy of your dog’s Certificate of Identification or a completed copy of a Permanent Identification form, to the registration agent (local council)
  4. Secure the pink copy of this form from your registration agent while they enter your information on the NSW Companion Animals Register. 
  5. After inputting the information, you'll receive a Certificate.

Whether you registered online or in person, if you haven't received your certificate or have concerns about the register's accuracy, bring your documents and written proof to the local council. They’ll give you a corrected one.

Dog Microchipping: Everything you need to know

Dog Microchipping

Source: Blacktown Vet

Microchipping, just like pet registration, is compulsory under the CA Act. These tiny rice grain-sized full duplex electronic radio transponders with unique ID numbers are implanted under the animal's skin between the shoulders. With these features, dogs and other pets can easily be identified, increasing their chance of reuniting with their owner if they become separated. 

In NSW, all cats and dogs, unless exempted, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age (3 months) or before any transfer of ownership, whichever comes first. 

Benefits of microchipping your dog

So, how exactly do dogs benefit from microchipping? Why is it required by the law?

  • Increases the chance of lost dogs being reunited with their owners

A study published in the National Library of Medicine studied microchip data from stray dogs and cats arriving at RSPCA Queensland shelters, revealing that pets had the highest chance of being returned to their owners (with a reclamation rate of 87% for dogs) when they were microchipped. 

This rate decreases to 69% if the owner’s information in the registry is outdated. So, update your contact information and other details in the database. It’ll only take a few minutes, but can already guarantee greater protection for your fur baby.

Similarly, the Ohio University College of Veterinary Medicine followed 7,704 microchipped animals and found that dogs with microchips were successfully reunited with their owners 52.2% of the time. In contrast, dogs without microchips were only returned to their families in 21.9% of cases.

  • Keeps your personal information safe

Contrary to common belief, microchipping doesn’t expose your personal information to the public. A pet's microchip number is connected to its owner's name, address, phone number, and email in a secure database.

Moreover, only authorised individuals, such as veterinarians, animal shelters, or local council staff responsible for reuniting lost pets, can access the provided details.

  • Unburdens animal shelters
Did you know that over 200,000 dogs are admitted to rescue centres and local councils in Australia annually?

It’s true. With this number and limited space and resources, pet rescue centres like RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League NSW struggle to make ends meet. So, if dogs are microchipped and can quickly be reunited with their owners once lost, then these centres would have to care for a lesser number of strays.

How to get your dog microchipped

If you’re finally convinced to get your dog microchipped, here’s how you can proceed:

  1. Look for veterinarians or authorised identifiers who can microchip your dog
  2. Fill out the Permanent Identification form (P1A)
  3. Have your dog microchipped by the authorised identifier
  4. Secure the pink copy of this form from the authorised identifier (Please ensure there is a sticker for every copy)
  5. The authorised identifier will then input the information on the NSW Companion Animal Register
  6. Receive a certificate

And you’re done! All you’ve got to do now is wait for your dog to turn 6 months old before you can process his lifetime registration.

Penalties for non-compliance

Not microchipping your cat or dog as required can result in a $180 fixed penalty notice or a court imposing a maximum penalty of $880. If your dog is classified as dangerous, failing to microchip could lead to a $1,320 fixed penalty notice or a maximum court penalty of $5,500.

Other information

With all this information to remember, surely you have many questions in mind. So, here are other information and details that might help clarify the process for you.

Microchipping and Registration Exemptions

Still pushing your luck and insisting on not having your dog microchipped and registered? Unfortunately, the only way a pet can be exempted from all these companion animal requirements is if your pet is:

  • A working dog used for herding livestock on a rural estate.
  • A greyhound currently registered under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009
  • A cat born before July 1, 1999, with no change in ownership.

But even if your dog falls under any of these conditions, microchipping and pet registration are still recommended for protection.

Change of Circumstances

Have you completed processing your dog's registration but are experiencing a change in circumstances?

It’s fine! In case of changes in your situation, you should inform your local council to ensure your pet's record is updated within a specified timeframe.


  • Change of Ownership- notify the council within 14 days and complete the Change of Owner form (C3A)
  • Change of Address- notify the council within 14 days
  • Declaration or Revocation of Dangerous Dog Status- within 7 days
  • Dog’s death- within 28 days
  • Dog missing for more than 72 hours- 96 hours after the animal went missing
  • Missing dog has been found- 72 hours after the animal is found

If you fail to notify the council regarding these changes within the specified timeframe, you’ll be fined.

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