LEADING up to the festive season rush, the SPCA highlighted the importance of pet owners microchipping their beloved pets.According to the SPCA, microchipping is very important and invaluable on many levels. These microchips help vets, shelters, and organisations such as the SPCA inform pet owners that their pets are in their care. In addition, microchipping can act as a proof of ownership in the event of a pet being stolen.The SPCA stated that there are several instances whereby microchipping has assisted in reuniting pets with their owners over both time and distance, as every shelter and vet is equipped with a scanner.Speaking on this, PRO of the Amanzimtoti SPCA Michelle Hannan said: “When your dog or cat gets lost, the animals are brought into a shelter or get injured. They will be scanned for a microchip, which has a link-up to a computer system with a code, which has the owner’s details. This will help to contact the owners.”The process of microchipping a pet is relatively quick and mildly painful for pets. The microchip, which is smaller than a grain of rice, is injected under the pet’s skin, and cannot be removed, unlike a collar. Puppies and kittens as young as eight weeks can undergo the microchipping process.The SPCA is equipped to microchip mammals, but if a bird or reptile is required to be microchipped, it is preferable to take them to a vet. The organisation noted that when travelling internationally with a pet, it is a requirement to have them microchipped beforehand.As an additional warning, the SPCA cautions members of the community to leave their pets under the care of reliable and responsible individuals if they are travelling away from home during the holidays.“It is not enough to just have your neighbour going over and feeding your dog, you need somebody living there. You’ve got things that animals are afraid of, like thunderstorms and fireworks. They get anxious, they’re going to hurt themselves, and they’re going to try to get out and get away,” said Hannan.The SPCA’s boarding facility still has available space. Interested pet owners can call and query. The facility is a safe space, and the pets will be looked after. Dog walkers and people come in and give these pets affection and attention. The SPCA stresses the fact that they always have full staff contingency present during festive season.The SPCA also cautions against giving pets as presents without full prior knowledge of what is required to look after a pet.The organisation wants to remind people that pets do not stay babies forever, and require an expensive 12- to 16-year commitment.