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Identity chips

It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but thousands of pets go missing every year. But it is worth thinking about how you’d identify your pet if it wandered off, was lost or stolen. Collars and tags can help, but there is another way to make sure your pet’s identified: identity chipping or microchipping.

John Brady looks takes a look at the subject in detail.

Q & A with John Brady

Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing information about Pet Insurance?

A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, weddings, pets, homes, events and travel.

Quotation MarksA microchip is permanent, and links your pet up to a database so that they can be easily identified and
returned to you.Quotation Marks

Q. What are
identity chips?

A. Identity Chips are tiny microchips that can be inserted under your pet’s skin, which gives them their own unique code. If your pet goes missing, the chip can then be scanned and matched to your contact details, which are kept on a database, such as the National Petlog database.

Q. Why do pets need them?

A. It’s all very well putting an engraved tag on your pet’s collar, but that can be removed. A microchip, on the other hand, is permanent, and links your pet up to a database so that they can be easily identified and returned to you. Also, if you’re taking your pet out of the country and they’ll be coming back, they need to be chipped under the Pet Travel Scheme.

Q. Where will my pet be chipped?

A. Cats and dogs are usually injected with a sterile needle just behind the shoulder blade. Any chipping should be done by your local vet, who’ll be qualified and trained to carry out the procedure.

Q. Will it hurt?

A. It’s quick and no more painful than a vaccination – and a moment of pain for your cat or dog is well worth it, knowing that it could lead to their safe return. Once done, it should last your pet a lifetime.

Q. How much will it cost?

A. Prices vary, but microchipping can start from as little as £20. If you’re interested in getting your cat or dog chipped, contact your vet.

Q. Is there a standard type of identity chip for pets?

A. There are different types, but the one recognised by most insurance providers and for travel has to conform to ISO standards – meeting specifications 11784 or 11785.

Expert tips

Q. Have you got any expert tips on pet microchipping and keeping your pets safe?

A. You should ask yourself the following questions before choosing
pet insurance:

  • Always make sure whichever database you’re registered with has your up-to-date contact details. If you’re moving, or changing your phone number, add this to your ‘to do’ list.
  • Even if your pet is chipped, it should always wear an ID tag with your name – rather than theirs – on it, along with your address and phone number.
  • All pets are precious, but if you own a valuable or rare breed of dog think carefully before leaving it tied up outside a shop or alone in a car, and beware of strangers asking you lots of questions about it.
  • If your pet goes missing, search the local area and spread the word with lost pet posters – and offer a reward. John Lewis Pet Insurance will pay up to £1,000 per year towards advertising and a reward.
  • Once you’re reunited, check your pet is healthy – a trip to the vets is a good idea. Don’t forget to remove the posters and thank everyone who helped with the search.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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