If your pet hasn't already been microchipped now is the perfect opportunity to ensure future peace of mind. A microchip is similar in size to a grain of rice and contains a unique number, like a barcode, to help identify your pet should they become lost. Stray animals will be checked with a scanner at any veterinary practice to see if they have a microchip. If a pet carries a chip then the scanner will reveal a unique number which can then be matched against national databases to retrieve the contact details of the owner and help reunite them with their pet at the earliest opportunity.
Microchipping is one of the most permanent forms of identification as collars and tags can be easily lost or broken. Implanting a microchip is a safe and easy procedure and can be carried out by a vet or trained member of staff. This can be done during a consultation or while a pet is in for another procedure, such as neutering. In dogs and cats the microchip is usually placed under the skin between the shoulder blades or in the scruff on the back of the neck. Once your pet has been microchipped it is important to keep your contact details up to date. This isn't something that can be done through your vet - the owner must contact the microchip company directly. Far too often we have pets brought in to our branches with out-of-date contact details against their microchip records and this can delay and hinder a return to their owners. Our own reception team recently had to call a vet in Yorkshire who had fitted an identi-chip to a now "lost" pet - the owner had not registered the details originally on the database; through a little luck and social media we located the owner, now residing in the Cotswolds. Pets that can't be reunited with their families end up with the dog warden or local rescue charities.
Microchips aren't just useful if your pet goes missing; they are also needed if you travel abroad using a pet passport with the Pet Travel Scheme. From 6th April 2016 all dogs in England over eight weeks of age will need to be fitted with a microchip by law under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015. We recommend that cats should be microchipped too but you can also microchip lots of other animals from horses to tortoises! If you would like more information about how to get your pet microchipped then contact us.