Keeping our pets safe is important to all of us as pet owners. They trust us with their care and protection and microchipping can help with keeping them safe. A microchip identifies your pet as belonging to you. It contains a unique reference number which links to your details as an owner, stored on a central database. By scanning this microchip, this data is then accessible for the person scanning your pet.
You may be concerned that microchipping is an intrusive process, but the chip is tiny – the size of a grain of rice – and the procedure takes seconds; it doesn’t require an anaesthetic or sedation. It’s usually inserted under the skin in the scruff of the neck and under the skin around the neck for horses. Once it’s there, you (or your pet) won’t even notice it.
Hopefully you’ll never need to use the microchip, because your pet will live a safe, happy and long life with you. But there may be circumstances where you’ll be glad it’s there, such as:
If your pet gets lost
It’s easily done – even the most careful of owners are at risk of their pet running away: whether it’s a dog that runs across the open fields; a rabbit that escapes; a horse that bolts; or a cat who gets stuck in a neighbour’s shed. When your pet is found, it will likely be taken to a local vet practice or a charity rescue home. One quick scan of the microchip and a phone call later, your pet is back where they belong – with you!
If your pet is stolen
It’s an unfortunate reality that some pets – especially purebreds with high value – are stolen to order and resold. Without a microchip you wouldn’t be able to trace them. Databases can also mark your pet as ‘stolen’ so when a practice, kennels or other place scans their microchip they can search to see if they have been reported as lost or stolen.
If your pet is involved in an accident
Outdoor pets, especially cats, are prone to injury, whether that’s fighting with another animal or being involved in an accident. Injured pets found by members of the public are usually taken to a local vet practice who will treat the animal while also trying to track down the owner. If your pet is microchipped and the details are up to date, you’ll be able to get your pet back on the road to recovery. They’ll certainly be glad to see you while they’re licking their wounds!
Things to consider about microchipping
- It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Wales and Scotland
- It may also become compulsory for cats in the UK to also be microchipped
- Microchip details must be kept up to date with new addresses, phone numbers and email addresses
- It’s illegal for breeders to sell puppies over eight weeks old that are not microchipped and on a registered database
If you want to know more about getting your pet microchipped, get in touch with The Barn Animal Hospital, Basingstoke vets, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. There is also some information available on the government website which you may find useful: www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped