The widespread and low-cost availability of microchipping dramatically improves the chances of being able to reunite missing or stolen animals with their owners. For this reason when we register any new client to the practice, one of the standard questions asked is “Are they microchipped?” This one minor procedure makes such a major difference to the chances of the family being reunited. Any pets travelling abroad are required to be microchipped.
Since April 2016 in England it has become a legal obligation for all dogs over the age of eight weeks old to be microchipped (March 2015 in Wales) and registered with an authorised database. It is the owner’s responsibility to keep the personal contact details held by the authorised database up to date. Failure to do so can lead to a £500 fine. If your dog is not yet microchipped, you must arrange to have this done.
What is a microchip?
A small microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin, between the shoulder blades, using a sterile needle. It will remain implanted for the duration of your pet’s life and contains a unique identification number that can be detected and read by a microchip scanner. Microchip scanners are handheld machines used by veterinary practices, police, dog wardens, animal rescue centres and animal welfare charities. If a microchip is detected in a stray pet, your personal contact details can be matched to the unique identification number by querying the authorised database and enabling reunion with your pet.