Every year thousands of cats and dogs go missing, and with more than 25 million pets living in Australian households, these missing pets can be hard to find when they’re not microchipped. All too often pets aren’t returned home, when they could so easily if they are microchipped.
Microchipping is a pet owner’s best defence against losing a furry friend and is done simply through a small procedure performed at a vet. This permanent method of identification is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted just under the skin, between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet’s neck.
Each microchip has its own unique number that can be detected using a microchip scanner. If your pet strays or gets lost, then vets, animal shelters and local councils can scan your pet to find your information. It is therefore crucial that you update your information should it change. Similarly, if a pet is transferred to a new owner, the new owner must ensure their contact details are recorded on the database. The easiest way to change your contact details is on the Pet Address website using your pet’s microchip number.
If you have not microchipped your pet, here are ten reasons why you should.
1. Microchipping is compulsory in some states
In most Australian states, microchipping is mandatory for cats and dogs. In New South Wales for example, cats and dogs must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age, or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first. If you’ve attained your pet from a reputable person/breeder/centre, this should mean that your pet is already microchipped. If you fail to have your cat or dog microchipped when required to do so, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to $5,500.
Microchipping is mandatory for cats and dogs in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, and for dogs only in Tasmania. However, the legislation only applies to those born after the introduction of the legislation (2012), leaving many thousands of pets unprotected.
2. Microchipping causes little discomfort
If you are worried about distressing your pet unnecessarily, you’ll be pleased to know that microchipping is a quick (only takes a few seconds), safe and simple procedure that causes very little discomfort to your pet. Your pet may flinch as it goes in, but this is about the biggest reaction. Any pain that is experienced is very short lived and forgotten about quickly.
3. Microchipping can help return your pet
There are a number of reasons why pets go missing – cats can become displaced if they find themselves chased by another into a foreign yard, dogs can be scared by fireworks, a new home can cause confusion, the side gate could be accidentally left open, etc. Whatever the reason, there’s a much higher chance of them returning to you if they are microchipped. Should someone find your pet, they can take it to the vet or council to be scanned and you’ll be reunited in no time.
4. Microchipping protects against theft
Sadly, sometimes pets are stolen in Australia and if your pet isn’t microchipped, proof of ownership can be a challenge. If your pet goes missing and you suspect someone else has him/her, microchipping can help discover the true owner.
5. Microchipping offers peace of mind
If you let your pet roam around – which is not a good idea, but sadly many Australian families do – microchipping can help ensure they find their way home. Friendly cats and dogs will often find themselves in the arms of others and having access to your information is the best way to see you reunited.
6. Microchipping is a lifetime deal
Once a microchip is inserted, it will stay there for the duration of your pet’s life. That means no yearly reminders and just a one-off fee! Collars and ID tags are great, but they are not permanent. Should your pet break free from their collar or their tag fall off, they are indistinguishable without a microchip.
7. Microchipping is not expensive
Microchipping is not about revenue for most vet practices, and the one-off lifetime fee generally just covers the cost. When a vet recommends microchipping, it’s not with a motive of getting you to spend more money, it’s about protecting those that can’t protect themselves.
8. Microchipping takes the pressure off rescue centres
Australian rescue centres are overflowing with stray cats and dogs that could easily be returned to their owners if they were microchipped. Simply put, if every animal owner had their pets chipped and kept their registry details up-to-date, we could drastically reduce the number of pets separated from their owners.
9. Microchipping saves lives
When cats or dogs are impounded for too long because they can’t be identified or rehoused, the result is tragically euthanization. Microchipping benefits animal welfare by helping prevent the needless destruction of lost pets.
10. Microchipping encourages responsible pet ownership
Microchipping assists with the identification of owners of dangerous or nuisance animals, increasing owner accountability. In the states where microchipping is compulsory, ALL dangerous breed dogs must be microchipped.
Microchip your pet
When researching microchips for pets you will be met with much online scaremongering, but it’s important to understand the enormous benefits of microchipping. Yes, there are some minor risks involved in microchipping your pet, but they are risks with extremely small probabilities of occurring. The reality is that microchipping is one of the best ways to keep your pet safe.