As you may or may not be aware, there is a significant change to the law occurring in April which affects all dog owners. This is the fact that from April 2016 ALL dogs over the age of 8 weeks old will have to be microchipped. If your dog is already microchipped then this will make no difference to you, however, if you own a dog which is not microchipped then you only have until the end of March to rectify this!
Other than the change in the law, there are several other reasons to get you dog microchipped. The most obvious and important reason is that if your dog goes missing, then the chances of getting it back if it is chipped are much, much higher. The first thing we do at the practice if we are presented with a stray dog is scan it for a microchip. If it comes up positive, then we can obtain the owner’s contact details via a national database and get in touch with them - simple. No chip? Unfortunately, the only call we can then make is to the dog warden – unless the rightful owner comes forward in time.
Secondly, a chip is a way of unequivocally identifying your dog. This has implications for the pet travel scheme (for which a microchip is already mandatory) and in the rare, but stressful situation where there is a dispute over a dog’s ownership. Dog theft is especially unusual in our area, but it does happen. If your dog is stolen, you’ve a much better chance of getting him or her back if there is a microchip implanted. Additionally, a microchip has proven useful to tell the difference between two identical siblings on a number of occasions!
One thing a microchip can’t do is act as a tracking device. Unfortunately the technology is currently too small to fit in a microchip which is the size of a grain of rice. If you happen to be some kind of techno guru and think you can make this possible now, then you could make a lot of money! It’s the kind of thing that would allow you to saunter in to the dragon’s den with a justified sense of superiority and watch as Peter Jones et al try to woo you with their business connections….
One other thing to mention is that while the law is only changing for dogs, all of the above reasons apply just as much to cats. Stray cats are far more common than stray dogs – if one does turn up in your garden and you’re unsure where it came from then it’s always worth getting it checked for a microchip – don’t just feed it!
So, hopefully you can see both the reasons and the benefits behind getting your dog (or cat!) microchipped. Implanting a microchip is quick and simple and can be done in a normal consultation. Please contact us for more information or to book your pet in.