In April 2016, a new law will be introduced to make it compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped.
Losing a pet can be heartbreaking, and an unsuccessful search even more so. Over the past few decades, different methods of keeping track of our furry friends have been developed. City license tags for local identification, and some dogs are tattooed for nationwide identifying.
While very handy, by no means are these options permanent. Collars and tags come off, and tattoos can be altered with ink, or eradicated completely with deep scarring or even , in the case of ear tattoos, cut off totally. That’s a scary thought.
Affectionately referred to as “immunizing against homelessness”, the fairly new microchipping procedure is no more painful than a vaccination, and carried out the same way.
A tiny capsule, about the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the flap of skin on the back of the dog’s neck. Veterinarians and shelters are provided with a scanner that reads the digital number on the chip inside the capsule. If your pet is picked up as a stray and he is microchipped, a quick phone call to the microchip company will have your information, and your pet will soon be home safe.
A microchip is completely permanent, it can not be cut off or altered. If your pet is stolen, or sold to a research facility he will be returned. Research facilities will NOT take any dog or animal that has either a tattoo or a microchip implanted.
Although more and more pet owners are microchipping their pets, there are still a lot of shelters that do not have scanners, and still pets that are picked up by good samaritans rather than somebody with scanner access. It is still no guarantee that your pet will not be lost, or if she is, that you’ll get her back, but it does reduce the risks.
How does microchipping work?
Once an animal has been microchipped it has its own unique code number. The owner’s details and the code are put on to the national PetLog database. If a lost or stolen animal is found, the code will be revealed by passing a scanner over the microchip. Then it’s just a matter of matching the code with the PetLog database.
How can microchipping help find my cat?
The PetLog scheme provides a fast, fool-proof way of identifying your cat, wherever it is found. The RSPCA, as well as many other animal welfare organisations, vets and dog wardens, have scanners which can read the microchip’s details.
Is microchipping easy to do?
Yes, it’s as simple as an injection. A tiny microchip – the size of a grain of rice – is painlessly inserted under the animal’s skin. Once in, the microchip cannot move or be seen, but can be read by the scanner.
My dog has a collar tag so why should it be microchipped?
By law all dogs have to wear a collar with a tag showing its owner’s name and address. But collars can break, identification tags fall off and get lost. Microchips identify your pet permanently and harmlessly.
Why should I worry about losing my pet?
Even the most reliable and well-cared for animal can get lost or stolen. Home-loving pets are most at risk because they don’t know their way around the local area.
Is the microchip system well established?
More than 450,000 animals have been microchipped in the past five years in the UK alone. It is the RSPCA’s policy to microchip all cats and dogs it rehomes.
A microchip is recommended by the RSPCA as an effective way of permanently linking pets to their owners, increasing the chances of them being reunited if the animal is lost, stolen or strays.
Thousands of pets are lost every year and many are never reunited with their owners. The RSPCA believes that the best way to ensure a lost pet is found is to have it microchipped – implanted with a special microchip tag.
Unfortunately, we do not currently offer a microchipping service. Abbey vets do offer this service.