As of April 6 it will be law to have your dog microchipped and registered before it is eight weeks old. If it is found not to have a chip a notice will be served giving 21 days to comply or you will be liable for a £500 fine.
A microchip is a small electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted under the skin, usually in the back of neck in cats and dogs, or into the ligament on a horse’s neck. It has a unique serial code, which is registered on a national database with the owner’s contact information. Unlike collars and branding, a microchip cannot usually be felt or seen, lost or removed, and is therefore tamper proof and permanent.
It can be implanted at any time and is a very safe procedure. Often it is done at the same time as other routine veterinary visits. It can be easily read with an electronic microchip reader. Robson and Prescott uses Petlog microchips.
The main benefit is the assurance that should a pet be lost or stolen it is more likely to be returned to you. Whenever a lost pet is brought to any authority it is checked for a microchip. If a pet has not been claimed after a period of time, it will often be re-homed.
A microchip enables vets to contact owners for emergency procedures. If an injured animal is taken to the vets without its owner vets are limited to administering first aid or preventing further suffering. Heroics without an owner’s permission are not possible. It can be 24 hours before owners are alerted to a pet’s absence, by which time a lot of critical decisions may have been made.
When a pet is found dead, a microchip enables us to inform owners.
Microchipping has other benefits, including identifying stolen pets if they are presented to a vet or authorities, educating owners whose pets stray, enabling easier identification and prosecution of owners for animal cruelty and identifying pets in an emergency.
Even if your pet is microchipped you need to update your contact details regularly. Petlog has easy instructions at www.petlog.org.uk
On at least a weekly basis we reunite pets with their owners from microchips.
In addition to the mainstream pets, we also regularly microchip tortoises, snakes and parrots. For more information or to arrange an appointment contact Robson and Prescott on 01670 512275.
By Sarah Haggie, Vet.