Blue Cross guide to microchipping dogs and cats
Every dog owner will have to microchip their dog by 2016. Thousands of animals go missing every year and sadly many of them never find their way home. If they’re lucky they’ll go to an animal charity and be rehomed but many others are euthanised or killed in an accident as they roam the streets.
What’s a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny device, slightly bigger than a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin on the back of a pet’s neck, just in front of the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number which can be read with a scanner. This number matches a record on a database which contains the owner’s contact details so that they can be contacted straightaway and reunited with their pet.
How’s it done and does it hurt?
A special device is used to inject the microchip under the skin. It’s a quick procedure that shouldn’t hurt any more than a regular vaccination.
Where can I get it done?
Your local vet should be able to microchip your pet and it usually costs around £20-£30. Blue Cross and other animal charities will be offering this service free of charge at our hospitals and centres. Contact your nearest one for more information.
Why is microchipping so important?
Animal charities and local authorities use scanners to check stray animals for microchips. If they don’t have one it’s almost impossible to reunite them with their family. By microchipping your pet, you’ve got a much higher chance of seeing them again if they go missing and it would mean fewer animals were destroyed because no home can be found for them.
Why does Blue Cross support compulsory microchipping?
Permanent identification would enable many more stray dogs and cats to be returned to their owners and fewer having to be destroyed or passed on to already overstretched rescue centres. It would also allow the owners to be identified easily where allegations of cruelty are being investigated.
In 2011 over 125,000 dogs were picked up as strays by local authorities in the UK and less than half of these were returned to their owners. We have no idea how many cats stray and are lost forever as unfortunately no figures are kept, but we think that the numbers are significant.
We also see compulsory microchipping as one part of the solution to the problem of dangerous dogs in our society and we believe it will help to deter puppy farmers and irresponsible breeders looking to make a quick profit at the expense of welfare.
To make this system effective there would also need to be a legal requirement for owners to keep their details up to date.