Thousands of dog owners risk never being reunited with pets after failing to update microchip details
Thousands of dog owners are at risk of never being reunited with their pets after failing to update their details.
The Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA) has estimated around 3.2m pets were purchased in the UK during the lockdown in 2020.
While many prospective owners are familiar with the basics of dog ownership such as food, training, and toys, microchipping is being overlooked, says the PFMA.
It is reminding people to take action and update their details especially ahead of the upcoming heatwave when people and their dogs are more likely to be outside.
Since 2016, microchipping has been mandatory in the UK for dogs, and uptake has been high since the introduction of this law.
But outdated microchips are one of the most overlooked areas of dog ownership and lead to an excessive number of dogs never being reunited with their owners and having to enter vets and shelters, which are already at maximum capacity, for rehoming.
The PFMA estimated the majority of stray dogs brought into vets and shelters with incorrect or missing details attached to their microchip were never reunited with their owner as a result.
Currently, 69% of dogs brought into vets and shelters have incorrect or missing details attached to their microchips.
Natalie Wells, welcome centre manager at Wood Green, The Animals Charity, said: “At Wood Green, we take time to check lost and found dog reports and specialised websites such as DogLost in an effort to reunite dogs with their owners.
"It remains extremely difficult to track down an owner if microchip details are out of date, as many people are unaware of what to do if their dog goes missing. In these cases, owners have to find the dog themselves rather than simply being notified that their dog has been found.”
“If we are unable to reunite stray dogs with their owner within seven days, we then begin the process of finding them a loving new home.
“The number of stray dogs coming into Wood Green is currently at a manageable level, but their unexpected arrival can make it difficult for us to manage our kennel availability for other dogs in need, as we also need to have kennels available for emergencies.
“This number typically goes up as the weather gets warmer, with dogs and their owners spending more time outside or with doors open.”
Despite what many owners think, your registered vet will not automatically update your chip details for you unless they specifically offer this service. It can be updated online via Check-A-Chip.
Failing to update your information could also lead to a fine of up to £400 from the local council.