As we’re all enjoying the feeling that summer is well and truly upon us, with these long sunny days and warm temperatures, it may be time to think that our animals are also more likely to be enjoying the outdoors! Whether you’re relaxing at home with doors and windows open, or walking your dog in the countryside, it’s easy to lose track of a pet. Too easy, in fact. If you have ever lost your pet you will have experienced first-hand the worry, anxiety and fear that comes as you wonder if you will ever see them again.
We don’t want any of our pet owners to deal with the trauma of losing a beloved pet, which is why we’re raising awareness of responsible pet ownership now for National Microchipping Month. This June vets are out in force supporting the cause by offering discounted microchips. It is not just the vet practices either, with events being organised across the country by the Kennel Club (KC) and Parliamentarians to promote the KC’s “Chip it, Check it” awareness campaign.
You may be wondering, what is a microchip? Why does my pet need one? Well, as a pet owner you have a legal requirement to ensure your pet can be identified should he or she go missing. Often, collars and tags with your information on them can also go missing, which is why it is so important to have something more permanent in place.
What’s more, laws changed in April 2016 to declare that all dogs in the UK must be microchipped and recorded with a government complaint database such as Petlog. Canine owners must therefore take note – for your companion, microchipping is no longer just recommended but compulsory.
If you haven’t seen a microchip before we wouldn’t be surprised – it is very small, about the size of a grain of rice, and is implanted just under the skin at the back of your pet’s neck. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. You can consider it a method of electronic identification, registering your pet’s details for life on a National Pet Identification database.
Microchipping is simple and safe procedure, taking only a few seconds, and causing minimal discomfort to your pet. Any immediate yelps when the chip is implanted will be short-lived, yet this inexpensive process will provide long-term peace of mind for you as a pet-owner.
The technology guarantees that should your pet go missing, it will not be one of the hundreds of stray animals that sadly never get reunited with their loving owners. Indeed, a recent survey by Dogs Trust found that while nearly half of all stray dogs are tragically not reunited. However, 35% of those that are were a direct result of having a microchip.
As we raise awareness this month, we hope that with more microchipping across the country, we can collectively ensure that fewer lost pets will be in need of re-homing in the future. Pets can be microchipped at any authorised microchip implanters, such as vets and animal welfare organisations. Some local councils also organise microchipping days.
Whether you are a pet owner yourself or run a pet business, consider whether the animals in your care could be traced via a chip should they go missing.
Remember, it is important to ensure your contact details are updated if they change for any reason, including your address, so that you are still contactable in the event of our pet becoming lost or straying. Promoting this, Vice President Tricia Colville of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association said:
“The British Small Animal Association has always been an advocate of microchipping as the most effective way to permanently identify an animal, provided owners keep their details are up-to-date on the registration database.
Everyone’s lives are so busy, and BSAVA wanted to help remind pet owners of the importance of keeping their pet’s chip details current. So we were delighted to join with MPs, the BVA and the Kennel Club to launch the ‘Chip it, Check it’ campaign, which will hopefully encourage more people to do just that – it will take a lot of stress away from pets, their owners, and their vets.”