Adopting a canine companion is a wonderful way to give a dog a new home and sometimes even a second chance. When you adopt a dog, you might find that the dog already has a microchip from its previous owner, and you may wonder what you should do about that.
If your dog has an existing microchip from a previous owner, it’s nothing to worry about, as microchipping is now recommended by vets and other animal-related governing bodies. What you must do is transfer the dog’s microchip registration to you, ensuring that, should your new best friend get lost or need to go to the vet, they will have the necessary information to help them.
Understanding the significance of transferring your dog’s microchip registration means first understanding how microchips work.
How Microchips Work and Why You Need One
Each microchip is encoded with a unique number, which is specific to the dog and will remain so throughout their life. This number is equivalent to social security or identification number, and it contains all the vital information about your dog (source).
The information provided by the dog’s microchip includes their name, sex, date of birth, and medical history, which includes vaccinations. In addition, the microchip registry also has the ability to retain the owner’s information. This information consists of a telephone number and address.
While microchipping your dog is not a federal law, it is important to get your dog microchipped for several reasons.
If a dog has to go to the vet, then the microchip is an easy way for them to get all the information they need on the dog. More importantly, however, if the dog goes missing and is found by a local animal shelter, they can locate the owner.
A dog who is microchipped will have its owner’s address and contact details so the shelter can quickly contact them (source).
In many ways, microchips save lives. Animal shelters often have to euthanize unclaimed dogs who have been there for an extended period of time. Microchips can help prevent this from happening, which is another reason it’s a good idea to have your dog microchipped.
How Do You Transfer Microchip Registration?
If you are wondering how to transfer the microchip registration from one person to another, there are two ways to go about it.
Ask the Previous Owner
If you adopt a dog directly from the previous owners, you may ask them to transfer the registration to you.
This is the easiest way, as the dog’s original owners will know with which company the dog’s microchip is associated. They will also have the login details and be able to transfer the registration directly to you easily.
However, if you have adopted a dog from a shelter, it can be a little more tricky.
Doing It on Your Own
The shelter or even a vet can scan the microchip for you and tell you which company the microchip is registered with. They will also be able to provide you with a unique code that can be used to identify the provider.
If you already have the dog’s microchip number, sites such as The AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool can identify which registry you can contact to request a change of ownership (source).
Once you know who the microchip is registered with, you can either visit the company’s website or contact their call center. Most likely, the company will need to contact the previous owners to confirm the change of ownership. You will also need to fill out a form with all of the relevant information as the new dog owner.
Why Dog Owners Should Practice Responsible Rehoming
Circumstances in life sometimes mean we are forced to rehome our furry friends. While this is often a difficult reality, it is crucial that this is done responsibly.
In a paper entitled “Microchips, Ownership, and Ethics,” Bill Fogler, from the Memorial Cat Hospital in Houston, states that only one-half of microchipped animals are ever registered and that many of these are still not associated with the correct details (source).
This applies to both the old owners and the new owners. Both parties must work together to ensure the dog has the smoothest transition possible and that its safety is protected by transferring all relevant information.
Ethical questions of ownership are often raised when it comes to dogs, so it’s best to avoid confusion.
For Previous Owners
If you are a dog owner and currently looking to rehome your dog, make sure you do the responsible thing. When it comes to your dog’s microchip, you can either transfer the registration to the new owner or, if you don’t know who they will be, leave the microchip registration information so they can do it.
When a dog moves to a new home, they are often scared and overwhelmed. This often leads to them running away and getting lost. It’s, therefore, important to make sure the microchip has the correct information on its registry.
In addition, the dog’s medical records are significant. It will tell the new owners if their vaccination record is up-to-date and what vaccinations the dog still needs.
For the New Owners
Getting a new dog can be exciting, but you must make sure you gather all the relevant paperwork. This means asking the previous owners for the dog’s microchip details as well as vaccination records.
When all the information has been updated and you have transferred the microchip registration into your name, you must remember to keep it updated. If you change addresses or numbers, make sure to update that information on your dog’s microchip to avoid a situation where they are lost and you are hard to locate.
If you have recently adopted a dog or are thinking about doing so, you may be interested in reading more about whether dogs know their name.
As microchipping is increasingly popular, dog owners must remember to transfer their ownership to their new caregivers because this gives the microchip the best possible chance of doing its job successfully.
Practicing good rehoming techniques helps to ensure the dog is protected should it get lost and that the new owners are prepared.