Microchip your pet


It can happen in the blink of an eye – someone leaves your garden gate open and when you call Skippy for his dinner there’s only silence. Your dog has disappeared. Finding your dog has gone missing is traumatic, but there are steps you can take to increase the chances of locating a lost pet. While it’s always a good idea for your dog to have an ID tag with your phone number, this can fall off. Your best bet is to have your pet fitted with a microchip because then any vet, shelter or rescue group would be able to check immediately who he belongs to with a quick scan.

What is a microchip?

The chip is a tiny transponder implanted under the skin, usually in the scruff of the neck, using a syringe. The chip contains a unique code which is registered on the maker’s database and also recorded by your vet in your pet’s file. It has no power source so doesn’t need recharging and is made from inert materials that won’t cause a reaction in the body. When a lost pet is brought to a vet, shelter or rescue group, a scanner is used to see if the animal has a chip. If one is detected, the microchip registry is called and the unique code on the chip is used to retrieve the owner’s  information. Microchip companies often supply a tag for you to attach to your pet’s collar to alert people to take a lost animal to be scanned.

Who can see the database?

Authorised users such as vets, the SPCA and Animal Welfare Society have access to microchip companies’ databases.

What does it cost? 

Prices vary depending on where you have it done and which manufacturer you choose. Welfare organisations offer good rates – the SPCA charges about R250 – and many rescue groups also offer discounted rates at certain vets. There’s often an annual service fee (Identipet’s is around R55).

Does it hurt?

Inserting a microchip doesn’t require surgery or anaesthetic. The needle is thicker than the one used for inoculations, and although some animals do experience some pain, the procedure is over quickly.

Which animals can be microchipped?

All pets can be chipped, from a koi fish or parrot to dogs and cats.


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