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  • Caitlin Steel

Microchipping - it's the law!

Updated: Apr 17


Since the end of March 2016, every dog living in the Republic of Ireland needs to be chipped and registered with a government approved database. Puppies must be microchipped before 12 weeks of age. Please be aware of that dog licenses and pedigree papers are not the same thing as Microchipping, and you need to have a dog chipped and correctly registered.


It is not a legal requirement to microchip cats, however it is a useful tool to help veterinarians and animals shelters to reunite lost pets with their owners.


Microchip FAQ's (Fido.ie)


1. What is a Microchip?

The microchip is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it and is encapsulated within a biocompatible material. The whole device is small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle and can be simply injected under the skin of our pets, where it will stay for the life of the animal. This provides a permanent identification that cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed - a safe, simple and inexpensive way to protect your pet against loss or theft.


2. How does a Microchip work?

The computer memory in the Microchip contains a unique 15-digit number - no two animals will ever have the same number. (Apart from this number, the chip contains no other information, and it is certainly not a GPS tracker!) A radio signal transmitted from a scanner carries energy to enable the chip send back the number through the skin of your pet that the scanner then reads. In addition to the number, the microchip generates a reliability check to guarantee that your pet's identifying number is read accurately. This all takes place in less than 40 milliseconds. After the scan, the vet consults a database such as Fido to find a matching number, and thereby obtain the owner's contact details. Most countries have at least one database, and many of these form part of international networks. For example, Fido's list of registered microchips is shared with EuroPetNet.


3. How long does the Microchip last?

Once injected under the skin of your pet, the Microchip becomes encased by a thin layer of protein which anchors it in place for the rest of the life of your pet. It does not pass through or out of the body. The microchip itself has no power supply to replace or moving parts to wear down. Therefore, it can be expected to last for decades - well beyond the lifespan of most pets.


4. What is the youngest age a pet can be identified?

Animals of any age can be injected with a Microchip. You should consult your local veterinary surgeon and ask his or her advice but many puppies and kittens are chipped during their initial vaccine series. Birds, horses and exotics can be identified at any time.


5. My pets never leave my yard. Why should they be identified with a Microchip?

It only takes one time for the postman, gardener, meter reader, neighbour or friend to leave the gate open or the door ajar. Animals that have not been neutered in particular have a desire to roam. Pet theft is also a daily occurrence. Animals such as purebreds, birds and exotics are valuable and are often stolen for resale. Even horses are frequently stolen and sold for slaughter.


6. Does my pet have to be sedated for the injection?

No! Injecting a Microchip is just like any other injection or vaccination. Anesthesia is not required or recommended since there is minimal discomfort with the procedure.


7. Does it hurt?

Not at all. The injection creates only a slight discomfort - most pets don't even react to it. The microchip is encapsulated in a specially formulated biocompatible material created specifically for this kind of application.


8. Could my pet be allergic to the Microchip?

The Microchip is inert and biocompatible. There is virtually no chance of the body developing an allergy or trying to reject the microchip after being implanted.


9. If my pet is found, how does the vet / shelter know to contact me?

The stored information relating to your registered microchip number is maintained on a database and this information, which will include an address and contact phone numbers supplied by you, will be provided to pre-approved organisations in the event of them locating the microchip.


10. Do I have to renew my pet's enrollment?

No. Registration is for the life of the microchipped animal and certain changes you require to be made will be done free of charge. For dogs there is a simple change-of-ownership process that must be completed, and this is generally the only time that any significant interaction with Fido is needed post-registration.


11. Where is the microchip implanted?

For most animals (dogs, cats) the chip is implanted in the scruff of the neck (the loose skin between the animal's shoulder blades). In birds, the chip is implanted under a wing. Consult your veterinarian for advice regarding other pets.


12. Can the microchip be easily removed?

No, it would require a veterinarian to remove the microchip in a complicated surgical operation. The chips are designed to bind and therefore are not easy to remove.


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