Microchipping: the facts

June is National Microchipping Month, and it's all about celebrating and promoting the practice of microchipping for pets. As pet lovers, naturally we're big fans of microchipping: it makes it so much easier to reunite lost pets with their owners, and it's saved owners and pets alike a whole lot of heart-ache over the past two decades. Here are our top six facts about microchipping:

1. It first came to the UK in 1989, and since then over four million cats and dogs have been microchipped. However with a reported sixteen million cats and dogs residing in the UK there are still many who are not microchipped.

2. A recent survey identified that 48 per cent of pet owners didn't know which brand of microchip their pet was implanted with. There are lots of different microchip services out there, and they vary quite a lot in what they offer, so it's an important decision which one you use.

3. The microchips themselves are tiny 'there's an outer capsule and, inside that, a silicon chip carrying a unique number identifying your pet. That number will be on a database, and that's how microchipping helps get your pet back to you. Think of it as a very small name tag that can't be lost.

4. Most microchips have a glass outer capsule, but Tracer Advance microchips, our favourites, use a bio-polymer material instead. It's ten times stronger than the capsule of a glass microchip.

5. Microchips are activated by a low frequency scanner. When the scanner is passed over the microchip implanted in your pet, the chip is activated and the scanner reads and displays the unique microchip number. The only problem is that there are all sorts of scanners in use in the UK, so again it's important to use a really high quality microchip, so you can be sure it will be read by any scanner.

6. There are four different pet microchipping databases in the UK, but most pet owners don't know which database their pet's details are stored on. The services that each database offers can vary dramatically, so it's important to check this first. All pet owners who have their pet microchipped with Tracer Advance microchips will have their details registered with the Petlog database, which supports nearly six million pets and their owners. It's the biggest of the pet microchip databases.

To find out more about microchipping, see this great little video by Emma Milne. You can find out more about Tracer Advance at www.tracer-microchips.co.uk.

1 Dogs Trust website
2 http://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population-2011/
3 Insight Track, 2011
4 The microchip will always remain passive and is only activated when the scanner passes over it