The boomerang effect – microchips increase the chances of lost pets coming home and are the only permanent way of identifying your pet.
Changes in the law mean that with effect from April 2016 all dogs in England and Wales must be microchipped and registered on an approved database.
The Compulsory Microchipping Act will be enforced by government officials such as the police, local authority officers and community support officers. If your dog is found to not have a microchip, you could face a fine of up to £500.
Microchips, also known as identichips are small passive inert devices that are inserted under the skin of your pet. For dogs, cats and rabbits they are normally put into the ‘scruff’ on the back of the neck, in between the shoulder blades. For exotic species they can have different locations.
The concept of the chip is to provide a permanent marker that will identify your pet in the event of them going missing or being injured. Whilst they do not replace a collar and tag (*see below for further information regarding tags) which we absolutely recommend, they provide the reassurance that they cannot be lost or indeed removed.
*In the UK, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. Your telephone number is optional (but we would recommend this).
Did you know? You can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog does not wear an identification tag!
You do not have to put your dog’s name on the tag, this is optional but bear in mind that with dog theft (which unfortunately we are seeing on the increase and a real danger) if the thief knows the name of your dog this may help them when passing on the dog to the unsuspecting new owners. It appears they know the dog because the dog responds to their name. We therefore recommend that in fact you don’t put your dog’s name on the tag.
Inserting the microchip
The implantation procedure can be carried out at any age – we do normally, however, like to wait until puppies and kittens are at least 10 weeks old.
This is carried out by a simple injection into the back of the neck. The chips are passive (ie they are not battery powered) and so do not run out and the modern chips we use at Hillside Vets would be expected to continue to work throughout the life of your pet. The chips are very small; about the size of a grain of rice.
Once implanted the chip reads with a unique number dedicated to your pet. This number is then quickly registered to the owner online and is added to the national database. This database is available 24:7 to animal professionals such as dog wardens, the police, vets and animal charities.
The modern chips used at Hillside Vets have an anti-migration protection coating that limits their movement throughout your pet’s life, which together with accurate placement minimizes the possibility of the chip changing position. This makes it easier to find when scanning your pet.
Here at Hillside we use the idENTICHIP® with Bio-Thermo™ which combines a standard ISO microchip with a biosensor to allow the temperature of an animal to be taken at the press of a button. This means animals with these chips can have their temperature taken instantly and painlessly with the simple swipe of the scanner – a great invention and taking away the need for those unwanted thermometers in places that your pet would rather they weren’t!
Microchips are an integral part of the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) and it is a requirement that pets must be microchipped to be issued with a passport.
In 2013 the government announced that with effect from 6 April 2016 all dogs in England would have to be microchipped.
Dog owners would need to:
- Have their dog microchipped and registered on one of the authorised commercial databases.
- Register the details of any new owner before they sell or give the dog away.
- Keep their contact details up-to-date on the databases.
We have always recommended microchipping as part of responsible dog and cat ownership and fully supported this announcement when it was first made.
It's important to remember that when moving house, you should ensure your pet’s microchip details are up-dated – this can be done online with the national database.
Further details on the idENTICHIP® with Bio-Thermo™ together with other frequently asked questions are available at http://www.identichip.co.uk/po-faqs/