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Health & care

The lowdown on pet microchipping

Date updated: 05 12 2017

If your buddy wanders off without telling you, a microchip offers the best chance of getting them home safely. Here’s how microchipping can help reunite you…  

Why microchip your pet?

If your buddy spots an open door and makes a break for it - without their collar - a microchip can help get them back home safe and sound. If they’re picked up by a friendly human and taken to the nearest vet, they’ll need some sort of identification to be able to help.

A microchip is a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, that contains a unique code that matches up to your pet’s details. When the vet scans this, they can find your name, address and mobile number and give you a call to collect your furry escape artist.

A legal requirement for dogs. A good idea for the rest of the crew...

As of 2016, it’s now a legal requirement for all dogs eight weeks or over to be microchipped. At the last count, 8 million dogs are now chipped; that’s 95% of the UK pooch population!

Local councils have issued almost 3,000 enforcement notices to dog owners where either the dog didn’t have a chip, or the info stored on it was out of date. Owners in the doghouse have been bitten with an average fine of £340 (ouch), or a maximum penalty of £500.

But there’s more to it than staying on the right side of the law. Dogs Trust tells us that 43,000 stray dogs were reunited with their happy humans in 2015-16 - and an estimated fifth were down to microchipping.

Going without just isn’t an option. 1-in-8 stray dogs in kennels are there either because they don’t have a microchip or because the deets on the chip are out of date. Dogs Trust says that 12 dogs each day are at risk of being put down because of this - so don’t let this ever be a possibility for your buddy!

And it’s not just about dogs. Cats and rabbits are more than capable of going on extended walkies - and there’s the possibility of pet theft to think about, too. So long as the vet says there’s no medical reason why it shouldn’t be done, cats and rabbits can also be chipped, so make sure the whole crew is protected.

Getting your buddy chipped: what’s involved?

- Breeders are responsible for microchipping puppies. So whether he’s just a pup or a full-grown pooch, your furry friend should already be chipped when you adopt him. There are a few different pet databases out there - so make sure you get confirmation of which one he’s with, and the ID number (this should be on an email or confirmation letter).

- Not sure if your new buddy is chipped? Simple: take him to a vet to be scanned.

- Keep the chip details updated! This applies if you’re the new owner, or if you change your address or contact deets. Dog owners can be fined if info on the microchip is incorrect.

- Does chipping hurt? Nah, it’s just like having an injection! A needle is placed under the skin (usually between the shoulder blades) to deliver a tiny chip. The chip stays there for life. Chances are, your buddy will barely blink...

Did you know?

Tons of vets will carry out microchipping for less than £20, and in some areas, the council actually runs free dog microchipping services! So there’s no excuse not to give your pet the protection they deserve.

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