What you need to know about pet microchipping
Despite belief to the contrary, microchips do not track the location of your pet—here's what you need to know about them
June is National Microchipping Month, which gives pet owners a chance to get up to date with everything they need to know about this important process, which involves inserting a microchip beneath the skin, to ensure your pet is identifiable should they become lost.
Whether your pet loves to explore the great outdoors or prefers life as a couch potato, it is important to be prepared in case they ever get lost and can’t find their way home. Microchipping helps to ensure that wandering pets can be reunited with their owners with as little stress as possible.
To help pet parents stay clued up, we have enlisted the help of some experts to share everything you need to know about microchipping. The experts at UK’s largest pet rehoming website Pets4Homes provide insight on how microchipping works:
It is already a legal requirement for all owners to get their dog microchipped once they are over eight weeks of age, and similar rules are in the works for cats as well. Despite some misconceptions, microchips do not track your pet’s location. Instead, they carry their owner’s contact details, so that if an animal gets lost, any vet or animal shelter that they are handed into can get in touch with the animal’s owners. This information is stored on one of sixteen government approved databases.
"Despite some misconceptions, microchips do not track your pet’s location"
When bringing home a new pet, it is important to make sure that you have all the microchipping information, so that you can have the microchip details updated with your own name and address. It is also a legal requirement that owners keep this information updated, so if you move house or change phone number, you must add this change to the relevant database, or you could be at risk of a fine of up to £500. In general, you should be able to update this information on the website of the database your pet is registered with.
Dr Jessica May, UK lead vet at the video vet service FirstVet, shares details of the microchipping process and when to get dogs and cats microchipped:
"Microchipping is a simple and fairly inexpensive process. It costs around £15 and helps to keep dogs safe if they ever get lost. You can take your pet to your local vet to get them microchipped. Alternatively, some rescue shelters and animal charities may also offer the service.
If you have found an animal, you can also take it to your local vets to check for a microchip. The information on the microchip is stored on a national database from registration and must be kept up to date, for example, if you move house. This information will rapidly help to reunite pets with their owners.
"If you have found an animal, you can also take it to your local vets to check for a microchip"
Microchipping is a quick and easy procedure and it is completely safe for dogs and cats. A needle is used to place the microchip beneath the animal’s skin. It carries a unique code with which they can be identified. While this may be slightly uncomfortable for your pet in the moment, it is absolutely nothing to worry about. The procedure only takes a few seconds and furry friends will be up and playing as soon as it is finished.
Puppies and kittens can be microchipped once they have turned six weeks old, although some vets may recommend that you wait until eight weeks to get the procedure done. For older pets who have still not been microchipped, the good news is that there is no maximum age limit for the procedure. It is never too late to get a dog or cat microchipped, so you should book them in as soon as you can."
Read more: A guide to rehoming dalmations
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter