Question - We're picking up our Boxer pup, Rocky, in a matter of weeks and have been told by the breeder that he needs to be microchipped. It sounds scary. What do we need to know?
Answer - First of all, congratulations on welcoming Rocky into your home. What a great name for a Boxer! Your breeder is quite right about microchipping – puppies must be chipped around the time they are weaned (about 8 weeks).
As of April 2016, all dogs in England and Wales have to be microchipped as part of a government initiative to cut the number of strays and make dog owners more responsible for their pets. So, microchipping Rocky isn't just a good idea; it's the law. And while the word 'microchip' might sound alarming, there's really no need to worry. It's a simple procedure that won't harm Rocky in the slightest.
In your case, the responsibility for microchipping Rocky lies with the breeder, but it's up to you to ensure the information stored on the chip is accurate.
What's a microchip?
The microchip itself is a tiny gadget, about the size of a grain of rice, that's injected under the skin of your pup between his shoulder blades by a vet, a vet's assistant or a vet nurse. It's essentially a tiny computer chip housed in a special type of glass. Once it's in place, it can be detected immediately with a handheld scanner that can read the chip and identify your dog. So, if Rocky were to get out of the garden and end up miles away from home, the organisation that scans his microchip will be able to obtain your contact details so you can be reunited.
Will it hurt?
Implanting a microchip is no different to getting an injection, it's over and done with in seconds and Rocky will feel no more discomfort than he will when he gets his shots. In fact, he might not even notice it at all.
What's stored on the chip?
The thing about a microchip is that it's invisible. Once it’s implanted, it's all too easy to forget it's there. This is a permanent method of pet ID and the best chance you'll have of being reunited if Rocky goes missing or, worse, gets stolen. It is up to the keeper to register the information that is stored on the chip on an authorised national database. Your breeder will have done so with Rocky, but you'll need to take over and register as the new keeper. Ask your breeder which database they've used and keep it up to date – you can do this online, on the phone or by post.
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