Dog owners are being urged to make sure the details on their pets' microchip database are up-to-date.
GoCompare Pet Insurance says that thousands of pets go missing each year – having either wandered off and got lost or from theft.
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pets end up in animal shelters and don’t make it back to their families simply because their microchip records are out-of-date.
April 6 will be the fifth anniversary of the compulsory microchipping of dogs and GoCompare Pet Insurance is urging people 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.
Sally Jaques, from GoCompare Pet Insurance, said: "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.
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"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 this check-a-chip website and type in the microchip number. If you don't know the number, ask your vet to scan the chip for the number."
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What you can do 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
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