Between April 2015 and March 2016, 37,283 dogs were left unclaimed in local authority kennels throughout the UK. This is a staggering number that clearly needs to be addressed, but more importantly, more than 4700 of these dogs were microchipped but still couldn’t be reunited with their owners. Dog shelter workers and council-employed wardens have been left frustrated that the contact details associated with the dog microchips that they have scanned are out of date. Many owners assume that microchipping their pets is enough to ensure they are reunited with a lost or stolen pet, but unfortunately, this is only the first step.
In April 2016, a law was passed stating that all dogs must be microchipped by the age of eight weeks old. The law also states that they must be initially registered with up-to-date contact information, but there is nothing in the new rules that indicates pet owners must keep their contact information current throughout their pet’s life. In a poll, only 9% of people considered updating their pet’s microchip details as a priority when they moved house. Unfortunately, when you move home, this is the most critical time for ensuring a pet’s microchip information is up to date. Dogs can become confused when they are away from the environment they are accustomed to, and may try to find their original home, which is why dog microchipping is essential. It’s the same for cats, as they may try to find their way home when they are let out of the house.
Updating your microchip information is also vital when you sell a pet to a new owner. For added peace of mind, pet owners should also consider adding their pet’s microchip number to multiple microchip databases to increase the chances of a lost or stolen pet being correctly identified as yours. If you update your details with one database, it’s important to make sure the changes are reflected across all microchip databases. A microchip is nothing more than a meaningless number if you don’t keep your details up-to-date.
For added protection, you should also ensure your pet wears a collar with your contact details clearly displayed on a brass tag or engraved on their collar. If you change your phone number, don’t forget to give your pet a new tag with the updated number so you can be quickly reunited if he runs away.