South Africa

Health Care

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The importance of microchipping your pet

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Identification and traceability are important parts of responsible pet ownership. A microchip provides permanent identification for your pet and gives them the best chance of being reunited with you, should they happen to go missing.

Virtually any pet can be fitted with an identity microchip, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, snakes, parrots, fish, and even tortoises! Every year, thousands of pets are reunited with their owners because they have been microchipped.

 

What is a microchip and how does microchipping work?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted just under the skin of dogs and cats. The chip is implanted by an injection between the shoulder blades. The microchip is pre-programmed with an identification number that is read by a microchip scanner. This identification number is registered on a database.

 

Does South Africa have microchipping laws?

Since April 2016, all dog owners in the UK had to have their dogs microchipped and recorded on a government-compliant microchip database. Unfortunately, there is no such legislation in South Africa, and it is up to the pet owner to do it. Have your pet microchipped at an established and reputable company such as Identipet that will register your pet on South Africa’s National Animal Database. They do this for many types of microchips, including Virbac’s Backhome microchip.

 

Travelling with your pet

If you travel with your pet, make sure that it is:

 
  • Microchipped;
  • Vaccinated; and
  • Treated for tapeworm.

 

What to do if your pet is lost or missing

 
  • Thoroughly check your own property first. Look in cosy places, under beds, in wardrobes, and anywhere else your pet may think it could get some rest or could be stressed and in hiding.
  • Ask your neighbours to check their sheds, garages, greenhouses, or any other sheltered place. If they have left a door open and then locked it without checking, it is possible your lost pet could be trapped inside.
  • Search your neighbourhood, leaving the description of your missing pet and your contact details with as many people as possible. Remember to speak to any postmen or other service personnel that cover a wide area.
  • Call your local vet.
  • Place missing pet posters everywhere you can, like local shops, vets, lampposts, restaurants, schools, churches, and supermarkets.
  • Contact your local radio station and community newspaper and ask them to put out a message for you.
  • Visit other lost-and-found pet websites and likeminded social media pages and leave your message and photos on as many as possible.

 

If you are trying to find a lost dog, walk around the area the dog went missing with a lead, some treats, and maybe the dog’s favourite toy. The scents of all these things may bring your lost dog back to you.

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