Dog Has Microchip From Previous Owner: Here’s What To Do! (2024)

A cute German Shepherd mix panting.

Microchips are injected into the skin around an animal’s neck. They are scannable and contain the owner’s contact information. They allow lost or stolen pets to be returned to their owners.

When you adopt a dog, you should consider getting him or her microchipped.

If the dog is already microchipped, you can change ownership, so your information appears when the microchip is scanned.

How do you change ownership of a microchipped dog? Take the dog to a veterinarian, shelter, or rescue to have the microchip scanned. Once you have the microchip number, you can use it to access the database, find the registration company, and apply through them to change ownership of the dog.

If you are considering microchipping your dog or if you have adopted a dog that already has a microchip, read on to learn more about the microchipping process.

My Dog Has a Microchip From a Previous Owner – What Do I Do?

If you have adopted a dog from someone or even a shelter and that dog already has a microchip, you will want to switch it over to your name.

This process varies depending on whether or not you know who the owner was. 

If You Adopted Directly From Previous Owner

If you adopted your dog from the previous owner, you can get the microchip number directly from them and use it to change the information on the microchip to show you as the current owner.

The company that registers the dog may contact the owner to confirm the ownership change.

If You Don’t Know the Previous Owner

If you don’t know the previous owner of your dog, you will need to take your dog to a veterinarian or a rescue and have the microchip scanned.

The veterinarian will be able to give you the information on the chip, and you can use it to change the information.

The registration company may attempt to contact the previous owner and ask you to wait for the owner to confirm the ownership change.

Some companies will simply require you to fill out a form and change the information for you without confirmation from the previous owner.

Can I Change My Dog’s Microchip Details Online?

Yes, you can change your dog’s microchip by logging into the website of the company where your pet is registered.

Not all companies offer online registration, but those that don’t may be willing to change your information over the phone as long as you can verify your identity. 

Do You Have To Pay To Change Microchip Details?

There are different companies that offer microchip registration, and while some may not charge a fee to change microchip details, others may charge an administration fee.

Some databases also offer lifetime plans that allow you to add and change microchip information for a one-time fee.

Does a Microchip Prove Ownership?

Microchips are a source of identification, but they do not necessarily prove ownership.

Some rescues and pounds may not be willing to release a rescued dog to anyone but the owner listed on the microchip, but if the dog is involved in an ownership dispute, the microchip information may not be enough proof for the authorities to determine ownership.

If you adopt or buy a dog from someone and it already has a microchip, you should have the microchip information updated to show you as the owner as soon as possible to avoid any issues.

Can You Deactivate a Microchip in a Dog?

Microchips cannot be disabled, but they can be removed.

Microchips are meant to be permanent, and they can be updated with new owner information and registered to new users if the dog is adopted or by someone who isn’t listed as the owner on the original microchip.

Veterinarians can scan the microchip and update the information.

Can Dogs Have Two Microchips?

Dogs can have two microchips, but it’s not necessary to give your dog a second one unless the first one is not working.

If your dog does get a second microchip and the first one is still working, you will need to make sure both microchips are registered with the same information. 

How Do I Know If My Pet Has a Microchip?

A woman watches as vet examines her German shepherd.

The best and most accurate way to determine if your dog has a microchip is to have the dog scanned by a veterinarian.

You may also be able to gently feel around on the back of the dog’s neck to see if you can feel the microchip. It will feel like a tiny oblong shape, about the size of a grain of rice.

It’s easy to feel the microchip on some dogs, but it can be more difficult in others.

Do Vets Charge To Check for a Microchip?

Vets usually do not charge for the process of checking a microchip, but they may charge for an office visit.

If you are planning a trip to the veterinarian for a vaccine or regular checkup, you can ask the vet to check for a microchip while at your appointment. 

Can Microchips Cause Problems in Dogs?

Microchips are safe, but some dogs may experience problems after the implant.

Veterinarians will do a health check on the dog before inserting the microchip to ensure he or she is healthy enough for the procedure. Some common problems associated with microchips include: 

  • Hair loss at the injection site
  • Temporary bleeding
  • Infection
  • Microchip migration
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Redness

Related Questions:

Are Microchips Safe for Dogs?

Microchipping is safe for most dogs. Side effects are rare, but they include cancer, migration, and allergic reactions.

The benefits of microchipping outweigh the risks, and most veterinarians recommend microchipping to pet owners.

Are Dog Microchips Painful?

The microchipping process may be painful to some dogs, but most will tolerate it well. It is similar to having blood drawn or getting a vaccine.

Your dog may twitch or make a yelp as it feels the microchip being injected, but the pain will only be for a second.

Some dogs may have some soreness around the injection area for a few hours.


If you have bought or adopted a dog, it’s important to microchip them as soon as possible.

If your dog is ever lost, a vet or rescue will be able to scan the microchip and view your contact information. This makes it easy for them to return your dog to you.