November 13th, 2020 by
With it being the law to have your dog microchipped in the UK, it’s surprising the number of dogs that are found each year that don’t have one. Microchips can save dog's lives, so it’s essential to make sure your pet is microchipped, and the information on it is kept up to date. It is also the law for your dog to be wearing some form of owner identification when they are in a public space. Here’s our handy guide to why a microchip and ID tag is so important.
What is a microchip and how does it work?
A microchip is a tiny device, about the size of a grain of rice, that holds a small computer chip. It is usually implanted between your pooch’s shoulder blades with a needle. This computer chip contains your contact information, including the owner’s name, phone number and address. Veterinarians, your local dog warden and many kennels have microchip scanners that can scan a dog’s chip – which is, of course, important if your dog has gotten lost and then been found.
It is now the law in the UK for all puppies to be microchipped by their breeder before they are 8 weeks old, however, it is up to you as the new owner to ensure the contact details are all kept up to date. When a microchip is scanned, it will bring up the microchip’s individual number, which can then be run through a search database which will bring up the information on the chip.
What constitutes an ID for my dog?
The law in the UK states that all dogs must be wearing some form of ‘owner identification’ when they are in a public space. This is typically in the form of a tag that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness, that is inscribed with your surname, telephone number and address. You can also get collars that have the owner’s details embroidered onto them.
The law states that your surname, first line of address and postcode are the necessary information a dog tag needs, but we recommend putting a phone number on as well – people will be more likely to give you a ring before coming to your address if they find your dog.
So, why is it so important?
We often see posts being shared on social media of pets who have gone missing, and can’t begin to imagine the anguish people go through when their dog gets lost, runs away or is stolen. Having proper identification for your pooch will ensure they have the best chance of being returned to you.
If your dog is found, and it is wearing an ID tag with your phone number and address on, this is the easiest way for you to be reunited with your pooch. The finder can simply give you a call or bring the dog to the address on the tag. If your dog is not wearing any form of ID, the next step is for the finder to take the dog to either the nearest vet, the dog warden or a local kennels. They should then scan the microchip to find out the owner’s information and hopefully reunite them that way.
The microchip is also a failsafe way for your pet to be identified. If your dog slips their collar or loses it somehow, the microchip is always there in your dog to provide a means of identification. As you will be the only one who can change the information on the microchip as the owner, this is also a way for stolen dogs to be reunited with their owners. If a dog is stolen and either sold on or kept by the thief, the microchip will still be in the real owner’s name and have their contact information on it. So, if the dog has to go to the vets for any reason, the chip will usually be scanned and the dog’s true identity will be revealed. Chips can be updated to say that the dog has been stolen and this will show up to the vet.
Keep your details up to date
Now we know why a microchip and ID for your dog is so important, we must stress that it is always up to you to keep your details up to date. Reasons for needing to change your microchip details include; change of address, change of telephone number or change of ownership. If you are buying an older dog (or even a puppy – that doesn’t come from a breeder) and the previous owner doesn’t give you any microchip documents then this could be an indicator that the dog is actually stolen! Changing details on your dog’s microchip can be done quickly and easily online. Most microchip companies require you to make an online account with them when you first get your dog, so you can simply log on and change your details as and when you need to.
If you fail to update your information, it could result in you not getting your dog back. Imagine your dog going missing, being found, scanned, but you hadn’t updated your phone number… you’d be sat at home worrying while someone is trying to ring your old number! This scenario does happen, and we have to remember if a dog can’t be reunited with their owner within 7 days, they will either be put up for rehoming or even put to sleep if no home can be found for them.
Hopefully, we’ve shown you the importance of having your dog microchipped and having them wear an ID tag on their collar – not only because it is the law in the UK. Microchipping and buying an ID tag is relatively inexpensive, but even if it was expensive, who can put a price on our pups being able to be identified and being reunited with us if they were ever to get lost or stolen?!
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