Microchipping your pet.
Thanks to Lucy's Law, which I'm sure will be discussed more on here over time, all dogs must be microchipped before they are sold. Some breeders microchip puppies themselves so the fact that your pup is microchipped does not mean they have been seen and checked by a vet.
Kittens do not have to put microchipped but if you are getting a kitten it is incredibly important that you get your kitten chipped as soon as you can. A tag on a cat collar is also important but cats often lose their collars so a microchip means that your pet can always be returned when found, assuming you keep the details up to date when you move.
You may wonder why a microchip is so important for your dog, especially as the microchip cannot be used as a GPS tracker. Lots of people make the assumption that it can be, but it is too small and contains no battery so that would be impossible. In years to come, I expect that will be possible and that would be a brilliant invention.
The main reason to microchip a dog is so that people always have access to your contact details so they can reunite you and your pet if they go missing and I can tell you from experience how reassuring that is when your pet does go missing. But can you be sure that if your dog (let's stick with a dog but it can be a cat too) does go missing and is found, that someone will check the microchip?
If a stray dog (or cat) is picked up then the microchip will be checked (unless it is a dead cat collected by the councils street cleaning team as they often do not check microchips and simply dispose of the body), but what happens if someone finds your pet, or perhaps they stole it and then sells it on to another family? The new family believe that they have rehomed a pet that was no longer wanted, or taken in a puppy that a family member had been allergic to, they take in your dog and love it as their own. They may even have a falsified vaccination record for your dog.
But one day your dog isn't well, the family take her to a vet that is local to them, one that is perhaps many miles from where you live. The vet checks over your dog and gives them some medicine and the family take your dog back home and she gets better and isn't taken back to the vet for weeks, months or even years.
You see the problem with microchips is that vet's do not have to check the chip when they see a new pet and, in my experience, a majority of them do not do this. If the vet above had checked your dog's microchip they would have found that she was registered to another family, many miles away, and they could have called you to tell you that they had your dog, one that you may not have seen for years.
When I took my puppy to my current vet for the first time three and a half years ago, I was shocked that they didn't check the microchip and I challenged them on that, it seemed that the thought of doing so had not occurred to them, and as hard as it is to believe, it seems that many vets also think that way.
You may have heard of Lucy's Law, but now there is an attempt to pass Fern's Law to change the law so vets have to check the microchip of any pet that they have not seen before. It's a simple thing that would take just a few minutes.
A petition to Parliament to get Fern's Law introduced has just reached one hundred thousand signatures which means that it will be debated and, I hope, passed as law. If you want to find out more then you can go to www.vetsgetscanning.co.uk