LAWS requiring all dog owners in Thurrock to microchip their pets come into force at the end of this month with pet owners facing a fine of up to Â£500 if they fail to do so.
The law comes into force on April 6 and will require all dogs over eight-weeks-old to have a microchip implanted.
However, an Essex Vets is urging cat owners to also chip their pets in an attempt to keep track of the more adventurous pets.
Kelly Barnard, a nurse at Clarendon House Vets in Chelmsford, said: "The main benefit is that we can reunite pets with owners much quicker, at the moment we have got a cat that came in off the streets without a chip and we have no way of tracking down the owners.
"Someone, somewhere is out there worrying about their pet but if it had been chipped we would have been able to get it straight back to them.
"Quite often by the time we are able to call someone and say ‘we have your pet’ they’ve gone through all the fear of kidnapping and searching all over fields, which would be solved by a microchip."
Dogs already have to wear a tag with the owner’s name, address, and telephone number when in public spaces, but having a microchip is seen as a more effective way of finding the animal’s owners as tags can easily be removed or fall off.
"I’d recommend cats get chipped too," added Kelly. "Cats are more likely to wander off than dogs.
"We get a number of cats in with respiratory problems or who have been in a road traffic accident and we can’t get in touch with the owners and so need to make a decision on that cat’s welfare ourselves without being able to talk to the owners, which is tough, we always give them a chance though."
If you are one of the roughly 15 per cent of people around the country yet to microchip your dog Kelly has some advice on what you need to do in the coming weeks.
"Pet owners need to book an appointment with a nurse or vet to get them chipped. It takes no time, it’s just walk in insert the chip and go home.
"The pets don’t even notice the chip is going in if we give them some food as they are completely distracted by eating."