The Kennel Club Secretary says, “so many people are still unaware of how simple, effective and necessary it is to microchip their pet. It’s not until their pet goes missing that they really become aware of the value of the service.”

“Microchipping ensures that should a dog or cat be found straying, it can be easily reunited with its owner in minimum time ensuring less stress to both the animal and of course the owner.”

Microchips, dogs and the law
From 6th April 2016 it will be a legal requirement for all dogs over 8 weeks of age to have a microchip and up-to-date owner contact details saved on an approved microchip database. If your dog comes to the attention of local authorities without a microchip, you would be served a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped, and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if you do not comply with the notice. An enforcer may then sieze and microchip your dog at your own expense if you still do not take action.

It will be illegal for breeders to sell puppies without a microchip registered to an approved database. Breeders must also provide transfer of keepership documents to puppy buyers to enable to owners to update their details in order to comply with the law. The government have created this law to help reduce the burden on animal charities and local authorities and to protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible ownership.

What is a microchip?
A microchip (or identichip) is a small capsule that is around the size of a grain of rice. It carries a unique identification number and is made of inert material so it won’t be rejected by your pet’s body. It doesn’t have a power source but it has a special cap to prevent movement once it has been professionally implanted. The microchip works almost like a barcode by holding an individual identification number which can be read by a scanner. All Vets, Police stations and rescue centres routinely scan strays and so will trace your pet back to you via the microchip database.

How is it implanted?
The microchip is placed under the skin above the pet’s shoulders with the aid of a sterile needle. Microchipping is a quick procedure which should only cause a little pain when implanted, similar to a vaccination.

Why identichip?
It is a legal requirement for all dogs from 6th April 2016.

It is a simple procedure which provides a lifetime of cover and peace of mind. Having your pets microchipped gives you the security of knowing that if anything untoward does happen to them, you have the best possible chance of having them returned. In our experience, pets with microchips are usually returned to their owners within a couple of hours after they become lost while pets without microchips are missing for much longer.

Does microchipping cause any problems?
Very rarely there can be a little pain or bleeding after the needle is inserted but this clears up quickly.

How is a pet registered?
When the ‘chip’ is implanted we register your chosen details with a central database (we use PetLog). We carry out online registration so the information is uploaded and effective on the same day as the microchip is placed. If you move house or change details, it is your responsibility to inform the database of these changes. There is a further administration charge from PetLog for this, yet it is vital for your pet to be returned to you quickly and safely.

What happens when a lost pet is handed in to Highgate Vets?
Lost pets are routinely scanned when they are brought here. If they have a microchip we search the online Petlog database which contains your contact numbers ensuring the rapid return of your pet. This is why it is vital that your pet’s details are up to date with the database.

If a stray pet is wearing a collar we will ring the owners using the information on the tag. However, if we do not have any means of contacting the owner of a dog and no-one comes forward, we tend to keep the dog in our kennels for 12 hours and then contact the council to collect it. The minimum fee to collect a dog which has been under the care of South Lakeland District Council is over 3 times the cost of a microchip (March 2016), therefore microchipping your dog can save you money. For cats we tend to keep a stray in our kennels for 7 days as there is no governing body for them. If an owner does not come forward the cat will be passed on to a rescue centre to be rehomed.

Why can’t my pet just wear a collar with a tag?
All dogs in the UK must legally wear an identification tag, under the Control of Dogs Act 1992. However, these can easily be removed or fall off, which is why microchipping is the recommended method of safely and permanently identifying your pet.

My pet is microchipped but my details have changed, what should I do?
If you move or change details, it is your responsibility to inform the database of these changes. Pets microchipped with us are registered on the PetLog database, contact them on 01296 336579 or via their website – www.petlog.org.uk

Is there a minimum age for pets to be microchipped?
From 6th April 2016 all puppies over 8 weeks of age must be microchipped.  It is also illegal to sell a puppy without a microchip and corresponding details on a microchip register.  We recommend that all cats are microchipped from 6 months of age.

Is it just for identification?
No, cat flaps are now manufactured which can be set to allow only certain microchipped cats through which is a great way to keep out unwanted strays or neighbours while letting your own cats in.  Feeding stations for cats which are controlled by microchips are also available now to ensure that only the cat with the specific microchip is fed. This makes feeding a prescription diet, pet weight loss or avoiding one pet from eating all of the food far easier.

Is microchipping essential for ‘PETS’ passport?
Yes, microchipping is required as the permanent form of identification before your pet is vaccinated for rabies if travelling abroad. For full details of the requirements, timing and costs of starting a pet passport click here

How do I arrange to have my pet microchipped?
Microchipping can be carried out within our morning, afternoon or evening surgeries and so ask at reception for an appointment or call 01539 721344. If your pet is having a routine operation they are eligible for the reduced rate of £14.00 (including VAT) throughout the year.

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