As I was sitting and listening to the heavy thunderstorm gliding past I grabbed my phone and started scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. One escaped or found dog after another came up on my screen. All terrified and wet from the storm. One had been microchipped, but the owner hadn't logged their details against the microchip, so it was to no use.
This sparked my idea for this blog post, maybe some dog or pet owners, in general, don't realise how crucial a microchip can be? or maybe they don't know how to set up their details for the microchip?
In the moment's someone else find your dog, the clock starts ticking before they give up and decide to instead call the council to come and collect your pet - more often than not resulting in a hefty fine some pet owners might not be prepared or able to pay. This can all be avoided if you as a pet owner are two steps ahead of them.
1) Get a collar with a name tag for your pet.
This is probably more applicable to the dog or cat owner, but people seem to underestimate how helpful a collar with an ID tag can be. It makes it super easy for the person who finds your dog to just give you a call then & there. In the past, I have managed to reunite pups with their owners in less than 5 minutes - purely thanks to their owners popping that ID tag with their phone number on the collar.
Generally, there is a huge push towards people getting their pets microchipped - and it's not just dogs who can get microchipped, NZCAR has a wide range of pets registered such as cats, bunnies, guinea pigs & birds. There're are a few steps to this process, however.
The well-known part; getting the microchip done at your vet. The pricing differs depending on the vet you go to and type of pet but expect between $30 and up to $70 for the microchip itself. A part of the difference here is whether if your vet register the microchip for you or not. Before you book the appointment with the vet, ask them if the price includes them registering your microchip with the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR). If you're financially struggling keep an eye out for organisations such as the SPCA and Gutter Kitties who from time to time offer free microchipping.
Everything is fine and dandy and your pet has just had their new microchip done! Now it's time to make sure that your details have been registered with NZCAR and update your information. Even if the vet has said they will forward your details, you should still do this step and get familiar with the NZCAR interface. Go to their website, https://www.animalregister.co.nz/ and pop in the microchip number given to you by the vet in the box saying "Is your pet registered on the NZCAR" - this will tell you if it has been done by your vet yet (or whoever else implanted the microchip). Head back to the homepage and click on the "owner" section - here you can either register your pet yourself or click on updating your details. You can also upload a picture of your pet, put through a description of your pet and even nominate a second person who can be contacted in case your pet goes missing OR if you have someone who will be taking care of your pet while you're away on holiday for an instance they will know who to contact, which can be pretty handy!
Make sure to register the microchip with your local council also if you own a dog. Unfortunately, the system the vets and the council use are not always the same, so as a pet owner, it's crucial you make sure the microchip has been registered properly with both entities.
That's it! The microchipping process is complete.
3) Maintain the microchip
Now all there is to it is to maintain your microchip details - every time you move home, make sure to update your address. If you get a new phone number, pop it on there. You will also get a yearly reminder from NZCAR to check your details are correct.
Now, I also recommend that during your annual checks you get the vet to scan the microchip. This is purely to check that everything is still in working order & keep an eye on if the chip has started to move around (which does happen). There is no use in keep updating a faulty microchip and should be attended to.
Awesome! All set up and good to go - hopefully making you feel a little bit more confident in microchipping.