It is a legal requirement for your dog to wear a tag when in public places, but collars and harnesses can break or your dog may be clever enough to wriggle out of them. The only permanent way to identify your dog is by microchipping and this will become compulsory for all dogs by 6th April 2016.
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique number that links to the owners details on a central database. It is a simple, safe and quick procedure. The chip is inserted between the shoulder blades using a needle and should hurt no more than a vaccination. You will not be able to see or feel the chip once it has been inserted. The procedure only has to be done once as the chip will last a lifetime and should be carried out by a qualified microchip implanter or vet. This can be carried out at Wood Green by appointment.
The chip number is picked up using an electronic scanner which vets, rescue centres and dog wardens will have. It is good practice to get your vet to scan the dog when it goes in for vaccination. If your dog is found, it will be scanned, the microchip database will then be contacted to get your details in order to contact you to inform you that your dog has been found..
It is a good idea to supply several contact numbers to the database, if you are out looking for your dog, the company will not be able to contact you to say your dog has been found if you have only given your house number! You will also be supplied with a tag saying that your dog is chipped; it is worthwhile attaching this to your dog's collar as not only does it let someone who finds your dog know they are chipped, it also acts as a theft deterrent as your dog will be able to be traced next time it is scanned.
REMEMBER: A chip is only as useful as the details that are linked to it! If you move, change you telephone number or change ownership of the dog, you must let the database know.
If your dog goes missing
If your dog should go missing there are several places you can report this:
- Your local authority dog warden
- If your dog is chipped, call Petlog, or the relevant database which has your chip details.
- Dogs Lost, a free online service on which you can advertise.
- Local rescue centres and pounds
- All local veterinary practices in the area
If you find a dog
Contact all of the above places to see if anyone has reported him as missing. Even if there is no obvious evidence of a microchip, you should take him to your local vet or warden to get scanned.
Having a microchip can make the process of reuniting you with your dog much quicker and simpler; it can also save on expensive stray fines as the dog can be returned the same day.