Along with buying premium dog food, booking vaccinations and investing in training classes, having your pooch microchipped is one of the first things you should do when you bring home a new puppy.
Because as a recent story has shown, this simple measure could make all the difference between whether you and your pup are reunited should the worst happen and they are lost.
Black Labrador Emile was found on a busy motorway in France, having gone missing from his home more than 30 miles away.
“Emile went missing before Christmas," explained Emile's owner Matthew Hayes, who was left paralysed from the waist down following a serious accident several years ago, and sees the Labrador as his closest companion.
"It was initially thought that he may have had a heart attack or something and the idea of him dying in the cold nearby was terrible.
"Devastated doesn't come close to the feeling I felt before Christmas; but personally, I was convinced he was still alive."
In fact, Emile had been picked up by an Italian truck driver who took the Labrador under her wing, but did not have the time to take Emile to a vet in France so instead took him back with her to Italy where she sought help.
It was from Verona that Emile's microchip was read, but unfortunately it could not be traced on a French database.
However, Emile was originally registered on the UK's Petlog database - which is listed on the Europetnet (EPN) database - and the Italian lady was able to trace Emile's owner in this way.
Celia Walsom, executive at Petlog, said: "Reuniting a pet and its owner across international borders is not an easy task, and without a microchip and the European Pet Network it would be near impossible, but we are delighted we could help in this case."
Written by: Hannah