June 2014 is National Microchipping Month and vets are urging all cat and dog owners to check that their pet is chipped and all their details are up to date.
Microchipping is a safe and effective way to permanently identify a pet and, through registration on a database, the animal can be linked to its owner and quickly reunited if it goes missing.
Microchipping of dogs will become compulsory in Wales from 1 March 2015 and in England from 6 April 2016 – and in Northern Ireland it’s already a requirement for dogs, as part of the dog licence. Compulsory microchipping will significantly reduce the number of lost and stray animals being kept by local authorities and charities at enormous cost and stress to the animal.
Vets also recommend that cats are microchipped to ensure that they can be swiftly reunited with owners if they become lost or injured away from the home.
The President of the British Veterinary Association Robin Hargreaves says:
“The ability to reunite stray animals with their grateful owners is a highlight of working in veterinary practice. We’ve had lots of animals brought into the surgery without owners and people are always so relieved to get a call saying their pet has been found.
“If the animal is injured it’s even more important that we can locate the owner quickly so we can make decisions about treatment,” he says.
Making sure that your pet is properly identified is one of National Pet Month’s top 10 tips for responsible pet ownership and permanent identification through microchipping is something long supported by NOAH and the veterinary profession.
Talk to your vet about microchipping your pet. Some animal charities (such as Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home) will microchip for free and sometimes local authorities and vet practices will even arrange special microchipping events.
However, microchips are only as useful as the information on the database and so it’s essential to keep your details up to date. So if you move house, then add ‘update your pet’s microchip details’ to your ‘to do’ list – we all know of stories about cats that try to find their way back to their old home!