As the fifth anniversary of the compulsory microchipping of dogs approaches, GoCompare Pet Insurance is reminding all pet owners of the vital importance of keeping their contact details on their pet’s microchip database up-to-date.
Thousands of family pets go missing each year – having either wandered off and got lost or from theft. Sadly, many microchipped pets end up in animal shelters and don’t make it back to their families simply because their microchip records are out-of-date.
GoCompare Pet Insurance is urging pet owners to use the 6th April anniversary as an opportunity to think about how their details may have changed in that time – their home address, email address or telephone number – as up-to-date information increases the chances of reuniting owners with their furry friends.
By law, puppies must be microchipped by eight weeks of age and registered with the breeder as the first keeper. The microchip number and details of the dog must be registered on a Government-compliant database. If the puppy is sold, the new keeper must update the microchip database with their details. Owners can be fined up to £500 for non-compliance.
While not currently compulsory, about three-quarters of pet cats are also microchipped.
If your pet is insured and has gone missing, most1 (78%) policies provide cover for the loss or theft, so you may be able to claim for a contribution towards the costs of advertising and offering a reward for its safe return. Although a much-loved pet can never be replaced, if your pet is not found, your insurance may cover either the purchase price or market value of your pet.
Claims for loss or reward tend to require policyholders to report their pet as missing to the police and pet-related services such as vets and animal shelters. So, it is important to check your policy’s terms, conditions and financial limits.
Sally Jaques, from GoCompare Pet Insurance commented, “Losing a pet is a traumatic experience – whether your cat hasn’t returned home, or your dog has run-off chasing something on a walk and you can’t find them. If someone finds your pet and takes them to a vet, they can find your details with a quick scan of its microchip. But the microchip is only as good as the information it provides. So, if you move home or change any of your contact details it’s vital that you update your pet’s microchip on the registry database.
“If you are not sure which database your pet’s chip is registered with, visit http://www.check-a-chip.co.uk and type in the microchip number. If you don’t know the number, ask your vet to scan the chip for the number.”
Actions you can take if your pet is lost or stolen:
- Check your local area and your pet’s favourite haunts.
- Share details of your pet on social media, put up posters in the local area, contact your local media. Include pictures, and a physical description including details of any distinctive marks.
- If you think your pet has been stolen report this to the police and local pet-related services (e.g. vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens).
- Report your dog as missing to the microchip database you are registered with.
- Consider registering with websites set-up to help find lost and stolen pets.
- If you have pet insurance, contact your insurer who will be able to advise you if your pet is covered for loss by theft or straying.
(Lead image: Julia Volk)