Whilst every dog owner is legally obliged to ensure that their dog is wearing a collar and identification disc, thousands of owners have now taken positive steps to ensure their much-loved companion can also be identified through microchip technology.
Introduced in 1989, microchipping is now recognised as the most effective and secure way of permanently identifying a pet. A unique identification number is registered to the animal and the owner's details are placed on a national database.
Micro-chipping remains one of the most influential ways in which dogs are returned to owners, accounting for a reported 32% of reunions by Local Authorities.
Get your dog microchipped and have the assurance that should he become lost (or be stolen), he is more likely to be returned to you safe and sound.
A microchip is a small electronic device, which is the size of a grain of rice. The microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. A microchip works through radio wave frequency.
How is the microchip implanted?
Using a specially designed implanting device the microchip is injected through a sterile needle under the dog's skin.
Where is the microchip implanted?
In dogs, the microchip is implanted under the skin, between the shoulder blades.
Does it hurt?
No anaesthetic is required and the procedure should cause no more discomfort than a standard vaccination.
How does the microchip stay in place?
Once the microchip has been inserted, the dog's body tissue surrounding the microchip attaches itself, preventing movement of the chip.
Why does the body not reject the microchip?
The microchip is encased in the same material (bio-compatible glass) that is used in human pacemakers. The microchip and the implanting equipment are sterilised before use, so that the dog's body does not reject the microchip.
How is the identification number read?
Microchips work when a scanner is passed over them. This is because the scanner produces low frequency radio waves that passively activate the microchip, allowing the unique number to be read.
Who has a scanner?
It is estimated that there are currently over 10,000 scanners in use throughout the UK. These can be found at most veterinary practices, Local Authorities and animal welfare groups. Local Authorities and animal welfare groups use scanners to check stray dogs to see if they have been microchipped. If the dog has been microchipped he can then be returned to the owner more easily and more quickly.
How are the owners traced?
If an animal is found to have a microchip, the Local Authority, vet or animal welfare organisation contacts a national database to find the owner's details. The owner then can be contacted and reunited with their dog. There are several databases in the UK. Your registration document will tell you which database has your dog registered and their contact details. If you need to make any changes to your dogs registered details, such as moving house, you should contact your database operator. Owners of microchip scanners have special access to the databases to allow them to contact you if they find your dog.
Where can I get my dog microchipped?
Most veterinary practices in the UK can microchip your dog, along with a growing number of Local Authorities and animal welfare groups.
How much will it cost?
You can expect to pay £20-£30 to have your dog microchipped at the vet. Dogs Trust currently provides a FREE microchipping service at our Rehoming Centres; please contact directly to book a mutually convenient time. Alternatively you may want to contact your Local Authority Dog Warden or campaign manager for information on any local microchipping schemes that may be running.
Dogs Trust microchips all dogs that come into our Rehoming Centres before they are rehomed.