June is the time to make sure pets are microchipped

June is National Microchipping Month, providing the perfect opportunity for pet owners to learn more about the brilliant benefits of this quick and simple procedure.

Veterinary charity PDSA believes this essential practice should be at the top of every pet owner’s agenda right now and microchipping dogs will become a legal requirement for all owners in England by 2016.

Identity microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted under a pet’s skin. The procedure is very quick and relatively pain free – similar to an injection. In dogs and cats the chip is usually inserted into the loose skin between the shoulder blades.

Each chip contains a unique number – the owner’s details are not stored within the chip and they aren’t tracking devices. Owners will need to register their contact details with the microchipping company following the insertion of the chip. Some vets or welfare charities will do this for you automatically.

Hopefully the chip will never be needed, but should your pet stray – for instance, your dog escapes from the garden or your cat is involved in an accident and rushed to the vet – a microchip scanner will bring up your pet’s unique number. The microchip database will be able to retrieve the contact details registered for the pet.

It is vital that contact details are updated promptly if an owner moves house or gets a new phone number – a microchip is worthless if the owner can’t be contacted.

Many schemes are now offering free microchipping in the lead up to a 2016 deadline, so it is worth researching what’s offered in your area.

While dogs are legally required to wear a collar and an identity tag, even if microchipped, these can easily be removed or get lost and do not provide the permanence of a chip.

For further information about microchipping, download a copy of PDSA’s free leaflet from www.pdsa.org.uk/leaflets.