Any dog owner who has ever experienced the anxiety that comes with losing your four-legged friends for even just a few minutes can appreciate the importance of micro-chipping.

Sadly, however, too many owners still fail to get their pets chipped, with many guilty of believing that simply fitting them with a collar will be enough to ensure their safe return should they go missing.

Indeed, while collars may work some of the time, they cannot – and should not – be relied upon, says one pet expert.

According to Barbara Healy, who, as the adoption manager at the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has seen more than her fair share of tragic tales involving lost pooches and distraught owners, collars can give a false sense of security.

That is, while a collar can help identify a lost dog, all too often they can be accidentally pulled off or, in the case of an animal being stolen, removed on purpose.

Furthermore, the expert explains, dogs often go missing when they are not wearing their collars, with pooches regularly running away during bath time.

As such, just as a responsible owner only gives their pet the best dry dog food treats rather than scraps of a human meal, so too should they make the effort to get a microchip fitted.

"A small chip, encoded with a tracking number, is inserted just under the skin between the pet's shoulders," Ms Healy writes in the Baltimore Sun.

"It's a quick procedure and is no more painful to the pet than getting a vaccination."

This comes as rescue teams working to find a lost boy in Alabama have credited a dog and her four puppies with keeping him war until they could find him.

The ten year-old boy, who has Down Syndrome, went missing in woods near his house and was only found when a dog's barking led rescue teams to him and the puppies, the Huffington Post reports.

Written by: Hannah