Pet Advice Have-you-Considered-Microchipping-Here’s-why-you-Should

Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Debbie Martin


Have you Considered Microchipping? Here’s why you Should…

Have you considered microchipping for you pets? Here’s why you Should… If your pet often wanders off on its own, then you might understandably worry about its well-being, and wonder what can be done about it. There is little realistic hope of watching a pet for twenty-four hours a day. For one thing, life throws other commitments in the way, such as work and family. Furthermore and more importantly, pets often don’t want to be watched at all times. In the case of nomadic, independent cats, this exercise would doubtless prove fruitless, were it to even be attempted, owing to their notorious habit of wandering off if afforded with the opportunity to do so.

And this is a good thing – after all, you don’t want to turn your house into a kitty prison: to do so would be to remove much of the fun of owning a pet. But letting your cat out into the neighbourhood carries risks. They may become lost, or trapped – or even injured – perhaps as a result of a territorial dispute with another cat.

Should your pet become lost and then found by a stranger – how will the person who finds the pet know where to return it to? This is a nightmare scenario and one almost universally dreaded among all pet owners. There is, unfortunately, little that can be done after the fact; once a pet has gone missing they are beyond your control save launching a campaign to find him / her like putting up missing posters – any reunion will hinge upon a great deal of luck. It is best, therefore, to take precautionary measures to ensure that your pet carries information which will help to identify them and its owner.

The most obvious way of doing this is through a collar. A collar can bear the pet’s name, along with important contact details so that its owner can be contacted, in the event that it ever become lost.

There are a number of downsides to collars, however. They are not durable and can break or fall off. What’s more, some animals simply don’t enjoy wearing them and will be thoroughly miserable if forced to do so. Surely there must be an alternative?

Well, as it happens, there is.

What is microchipping?

Microchipping is a solution embraced by many owners of adventurous cats and dogs. It presents vets and other animal-care professionals with a way of identifying an animal electronically. It consists of an implant containing digital information which can be used to identify a pet and its owner. Unlike a collar, it is durable and will not fall off or be broken. It will also not prove an irritant or restrictive for the animal, who will quickly forget that the implant is even there.

Another major advantage of a microchip is its longevity. Once implanted, a microchip will last for a lifetime – during which it will greatly increase the ease with which wayward pets can be reunited with their owners.

Implanting a pet with a microchip will in theory, greatly increase the likelihood of that pet being reunited with its owner, should the two ever become separated. But why is this the case? How, exactly, are microchips implanted?

How is it done?

The word ‘microchipping’ perhaps implies something a great deal more impressive than the reality it represents. To many, the word will evoke an image of a thorough, intricate surgical operation – perhaps something that takes hours, requiring the skill of a trained specialist. But this would be entirely wide of the mark. What actually happens takes a matter of mere seconds and can be done with ease by any vet. The procedure itself has more in common with an injection than it does surgery; the microchip is embedded in a small pod, the size of a grain of rice, which is inserted beneath the animal’s skin using a device similar to a syringe.

How does it work?

The way a microchip does its job is remarkably simple. It does not contain any contact information – and this is a good thing for those who might at some point change phone numbers or addresses during the lifetime of the animal. The microchip instead contains only a single piece of information – a fourteen digit code, unique to the animal.

A chipped pet can be identified by submitting this code to a central body, who maintain a list of all the microchipped pets in the country. After some security checks, this body will release the contact details associated with the animal – allowing the vet to easily contact the owner of the lost pet and arrange for them to be reunited. This means that contact details, names and addresses can be altered by simply having the database changed over the phone, removing the need for another implant and a collar to of course.

There are several competing bodies which keep such databases; each issues microchips unique to them. The decision of which database to go with can affect the quality and quantity of aftercare provided. If you are considering chipping your pet, it is advisable to talk to your vet about this before proceeding and be sure to go for one which is reputable!

An exhaustive list can be found at Pet owners should ensure that they ask the vet carrying out the procedure which database the animal will be associated with. They should also ensure that they contact the database in question in the event that the pet ever goes missing. The database will notify local vets and animal rescue organisations of the situation, ensuring that they are on the lookout for the missing animal.

How much does it cost?

With all these benefits, one might imagine this procedure to be inordinately costly. This is far from the case – though the cost of the procedure varies, depending on the vet who performs it. In reality, the procedure costs between ten and thirty pounds. If this seems excessive, then bear in mind that it is a one-off operation: once your pet has been chipped, they will remain chipped for life! The cost will undoubtedly prove worthwhile should your pet ever go missing. A microchip therefore represents a worthwhile investment for both pets and owners alike!

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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