Microchipping Awareness Month

Last week at MedicAnimal HQ, we welcomed an unexpected visitor. On her usual journey to work, a member of our team found herself being followed by a clearly lost, and very anxious pup.

Concerned for his welfare and keen to get in touch with his owner, Nina brought Max back to HQ for some water, a lie down, and a lot of reassuring pats from fellow dog-loving employees.

Max had a good sniff and explore of our headquarters – which to be honest are a bit of a paradise for pooches, what with all the samples of toys, beds and treats laying around. Even so, he was clearly very much missing somebody and we were eager to find the person who was no doubt missing him.

The end of the story is a very happy one indeed, and very fitting for National Microchipping Month. Our lost friend took a ride in Andrew’s car to our local animal shelter, who scanned him and, thankfully, found his microchip, so that his very relieved owner could be contacted and told about his whereabouts. Which, of course, is how we found out his name was Max.

What to do if you come across a lost pet:

  1. Contact your local council, either by phone or online.
  2. Ring your local vets and rescue centres. Your closest vet or shelter will also be able to scan the dog for a microchip.
  3. Check to see if the dog has a tag and collar with owner’s details (but only if it is safe to do so – remember, an unfamiliar dog might be unpredictable).
  4. If you aren’t having any luck, putting up some good old fashioned posters won’t hurt.
  5. Be aware that a lost dog may be distressed and scared, which is when some dogs can lash out. If you’re at all unsure, wait for the local council dog warden to approach it.
  6. However lovely they are, by law, you can’t keep a stray dog without reporting it to the council first. You can always leave your details in case the dog remains unclaimed.

Microchipping your pet:

Since April 2016 it’s been compulsory in the UK to microchip your dog. If you don’t, you could be looking at a £500 fine, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t nearly as strong a deterrent than the fact that skipping the chip could mean being permanently parted from your furry friend. Microchipping your pet massively increases your chances of being reunited should you become separated for any reason, and although it’s utterly horrible to think about, the reality is that an unchipped pet will end up in a shelter, and tragically thousands of unwanted pets are put down each year.

Currently, the law only applies to dogs, but we urge you to chip your cat too, as the same absolutely applies to your purry pal.

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, which is planted into the loose skin at the back of your pet’s neck. It’s a routine procedure which does not hurt them.

Each microchip contains a unique code which becomes registered to a database along with your details, which you can easily update if your contact number or address changes. If your pet is found, a vet or animal shelter can scan the chip and, voila – you’re reunited. A happy ending, just like for Max and his owner.


Andrew Bucher
Veterinarian and Co-founder of MedicAnimal

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11 comments

  1. Had our little dog chipped some 15 years ago and found the benifit of it within hours. We had rescued her from the dogs home on the Saturday and had an appointment at our vets on the Tuesday, she was checked over and chipped. My old Dad was looking after her that afternoon as we were all going to be late home that night. Within an hour she had decided to practice her escapology tactics and over the fence she went. We were distraught!! Finaly after a couple of hours wondering the streets I suddenly thought to ring the chip people, I still had all of the paperwork at home ready to post off, wow were we lucky!! Holly had left my Dads, crossed 6 lanes of traffic, a very busy roundabout and luckily some one picked her up, taken her into the local dog groomers who then took her to a local vet to get her scanned. They had obviously all the chip data but nothing else, I was soooooo pleased! Even today when I sit at those traffic lights where she crossed or use the roundabout I shudder at what might have happened to her……..we also paid to change all the fence around Dads garden to keep her safe!! Do however think that this exercise is a very halfhearted attempt to track dogs in particular……or rather owners because as far as I can tell it is law to have a chip but actually no one is monitoring it?? When are they checked? Never as far as I can see? Someone like yourselves must have a bit of weight to question the powers that be to go a step further for the welfare of the dogs in pursuading perhaps the vets to have every dog they treat scanned before treatment? That would catch some of the out of date ones as well which really upsets me when I see the reports of animals lost and chipped but the details are out of date! They will probably object to becoming the guardians of this system, policeing it should however be the responsibility of the local Councils for enforcement. Sorry this has gone on a bit but hey you did give me the opening to share my concerns??

  2. What a lovely story so glad max found his owner . I read so many sad things about animals it s nice to read a happy one

      1. Reminds me of a bad experience I had in 2010.
        My 16 yr old dog wandered into the countryside on dark night after a vistor had not shut the gate.She was found lying in the road by a passing Taxi driver.He took her to a Veterinary Practice he knew of.
        I got news of this in the morning & telephoned them to learn that they had only just euthanased her.She being old n thought abadoned.
        I was going through a marriage breakup n had moved from the matremonial home.The Practice had rung my former home from the Tag details to get no an swer.I had failed to notify change of address as I was homeless.

    1. Hi, normally you ring up PetLog and they will update it for you. Whether it will cost you to update dependss on the microchip company you used initially. Normally there is paperwork with your microchip 🙂

  3. I have both my cats micro chipped. It came in handy when someone decided to adopt my very greedy old cat. He has a sensitive stomach and can’t eat normal cat food but it never stops him taking what’s offered. They took him in to the local vet (who happens to be the one I use) he recognised my boy and after they checked the chip I was phoned to collect him from the practice. Always get your pet chipped it’s worth it and does help if they disappear!

    1. Hi Kate,
      Yes indeed, cats can certainly ‘home in’ to anyone offering food to them not normally allowed in their normal home!
      I had a cat called Tigger just like this, found out he had three other homes despite also having GIT issues.
      You make a very good point though, microchipping is proof of ownership should someone try and ‘adopt’ your cat.
      Thank you for your repsonse and hope you have a wonderful summer.

  4. I’d really like to know the number for Microchipping. My cat has a chip but it’s still registered to our old address. Can anyone help please?

    1. Hi Jane,
      I would take your cat to your local vet where they can use a scanner to identify the actual barcode chip number itself.
      I would then enter the barcode at the following site:

      https://www.petlog.org.uk/look-up-a-microchip/search/

      You can from here update your details but you may need to call them and there may be a fee payable.
      I hope this helps,
      Thanks
      Andrew

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