We see so many lost and stray pets these days. The best advice we can give to pet owners is make sure your pet has an identity tag and a microchip.
What is a Microchip?
The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an 15 digit identification number programmed into it. The whole device is small enough to fit inside a needle and can be simply injected under the skin of our pets, where it will stay for the life of the pet. This provides a permanent identification which cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed – a safe, simple and inexpensive way to protect your pet against loss. When your pet is implanted with a microchip it is essential that you register the pet’s details to a suitable database. The vet who implants your pet with microchip should supply you with a registration form for a database. If you are unclear about whether your pet’s microchip details have been correctly registered check with your local vet.
A microchip that is not registered with your details to an easily accessible database is useless.
My pet has had a microchip – is there anything else I should do?
Yes – a microchip contains a 15 digit number which is unique to your pet. It is essential that this number is registered on a reliable database along with your contact details.
If you have purchased, or adopted a dog with a microchip it is essential you make sure that it is registered on a reliable database. Check with your vet.
Any pet that is has a microchip implanted in our clinics is registered with www.fido.ie This database allows pet owners to update their contact details as well as medical information about their pet – this gives a much greater chance of safe return of a pet in the event it is lost.
If you have purchased a dog that is registered with the Irish Kennel Club, you should send in your change of ownership form, complete with your contact telephone number. This form is on the back of your IKC certificate.
We frequently see stray dogs at our veterinary clinics that have microchips but are still registered to a breeder who may have sold the dog years previously. In many such cases it is impossible for us to identify the correct owner. This is very sad as often owners are unaware that their details are not registered, and will assume if their pet is found it will be returned to them.
I am not sure if my pet’s microchip details are registered on a database – what should I do?
Bring your pet to your vet and have them scan their microchip number. They should be able to check that the correct details that are registered. If the details are incorrect it is essential that you get them updated.
The main databases in Ireland are Fido, Animark and Pettrace. Fido (www.fido.ie) is probably the best as owners can update their contact details easily and it is affiliated with europetnet (www.europetnet.com) Avoid other databases such as Canine Ireland, as their information is not easily accessible to vets, shelters and rescue agencies.
How does a Microchip work?
A scanner passed over your pet will trigger a radio signal from its chip. The scanner then picks up the unique code for your pet.
Is a microchip a tracking device?
No, a microchip is not a tracking device. Someone must scan your pet to find out if it has a microchip. This is common practice in veterinary clinics, pounds and animal rescue centres. Provided that your pet’s microchip is registered there is every chance your pet will be returned safely to you.
How long does the Microchip last?
In short the microchip should last a lot longer than your pet. Ask your vet to check it every year at your pet’s annual check up.
What is the youngest age a pet can be identified?
Animals of any age can be injected with a Microchip. Many puppies and kittens are chipped during their initial vaccine series. Birds, horses and exotics can be identified at any time.
My pets never leave my yard. Why should they be identified with a Microchip?
No one plans to lose their pet but it happens all the time. There were 10,000 stray dogs put to sleep in our pounds last year. Many more were re-homed both in Ireland and abroad.Theft is also a common occurrence. While a microchip will not prevent theft it greatly improves your chance of recovering your pet. One of our client’s dogs was stolen and eventually turned up in a rescue centre in London a year later. Staff there managed to track down the original owner through the microchip.
Does my pet have to be sedated for the injection?
No! Injecting a Microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anaesthesia is not required, however we often will implant a microchip when an animal is under anaesthetic for other reasons.
Does it hurt?
Not at all. The injection creates only a slight discomfort – most pets don’t even react to it.
Could my pet be allergic to the Microchip?
The Microchip is inert and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip afterwards.
How do I know the shelter will be able to check for the Microchip?
It is common practice for veterinary surgeons, dog wardens and rescue organisations to scan stray animals for microchips. If the animal has a microchip and it has been registered on a reliable database then it should be straightforward to locate the animals owner.
Where is the microchip implanted?
For most animals (dogs, cats) the chip is implanted in the scruff of the neck (the loose skin between the animal’s shoulder blades).
Can the microchip be easily removed?
No, it would require a veterinarian to surgically remove the microchip.
I strongly recommend you microchip your pet and make sure that it is registered.