Dog ownership and advice

Microchipping

Microchipping is a permanent method to help ensure your dog's safe return if it is unfortunate enough to become lost. However, you are still required to ensure that your dog is visibly identifiable by means of a collar and tag with your name and address.

The technology to microchip has been around since 1989 and since then over 6 million dogs and cats have been microchipped. This figure continues to grow at an estimated 7,500 registrations per week.

The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is encased in a biocompatible glass, the same used in human pacemakers, to prevent rejection from the animal’s body. In dogs, the microchip is inserted into the loose skin on the back of the dog's neck using a specially designed implanting device. Insertion is a quick and easy process that causes no more discomfort than a usual vaccination. The microchip will last for the animal's lifetime.

Each microchip carries a unique number that is logged onto a national database. Against this number key information is stored about the dog and its owner including the dog's name, the owner's name and address and a record of the dog's vaccinations. The information will be held by PetLog on the Kennel Club’s database. When a scanner is passed over the microchip low frequency radio waves created by the scanner activate the microchip, allowing the unique number to be read.

Approximately 10,000 scanners are in use throughout the UK and can be found at most veterinary practices, local authorities and animal welfare groups.

Vaccinations

It is recommended as a dog owner that you are registered with a reputable veterinary practice who will be able to advise on all aspects of your dogs health. Your Vet will also be able to advise on vaccination/worming schedules for your canine companion. Generally dogs should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis.
  • If your dog will be spending some time in kennels they may also be given a kennel cough vaccine. This vaccine is usually given intra-nasally (into a nostril) and protects against parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica.

Worming

All dogs in the UK are at risk from worms and should be treated on a regular basis to ensure that they are happy and healthy. Although some animals do display symptoms of worm infestation, this is not always the case, so it is recommended that all dogs are treated for worms every 3 months.

The most common types of worm that affect dogs are roundworms and tapeworms, most animals being affected at some point in their lifetime. Less common forms are whipworms and hookworms, though there are treatments available for all types of infestation.

Worms can be passed from animal to animal if they come into contact, but of greater concern is the fact that they can be passed from animal to human. Children are most susceptible, the eggs being picked up from petting an animal and then using unwashed hands to eat, or even more commonly picking up eggs from a sandpit or soil outside. Once in a child's system worms can cause a variety of health concerns, sometimes even taking up residence behind the retina which can cause damage to the eyesight.

Insurance

If you don't have insurance this means a horrible choice between finding the medical fees or putting down a cherished pet. Even if you have got the cash stashed away, in many cases insurance can work out cheaper (in the event that you actually need to claim).

What is usually covered in a Policy?

  • Broken bones/ injuries from accidents
  • Many illnesses, from cancer to asthma, skin infections to bone diseases and arthritis
  • Possibly the cost of overseas emergency vet treatment on a foreign trip or holiday
  • The cost of advertising and a reward you fall victim to 'dog/cat-napping'

What isn't usually covered?

  • Routine injections - flu, tetanus, parvovirus, annual booster vaccinations. Plus check-ups
  • Worming treatments
  • Anti-flea medications
  • Welping costs

It is advisable to ensure your policy includes 3rd party cover. Remember that dogs are not covered for public liability without insurance so if your dog causes a car accident and the drivers sue, you’ll be liable for the cost. As with any insurance policy always read the small print and ensure you are getting the best policy for you & your pet.