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When And How To Update Your Dog’s Microchip

Because you’re the Pack Leader, you got your dog microchipped. You wanted to make sure that she could be found and brought back to you even if her dog tag was lost or removed. So you headed to your vet and had the simple procedure done — your dog was in and out in minutes, and you had peace of mind. Everybody’s happy!

But now it’s a few years later. You just moved to a new place, and it occurred to you that it’s probably a good idea to update the information on your dog’s microchip.

How exactly do you do this? Do you need to go to your dog’s new vet to have the chip removed and re-implanted so they can change the information? Is there a less invasive way to update it? Are there other times when you should update the information?

When to update
This one is actually pretty simple and straightforward, and half of the answer has already been covered. There are really only two reasons why you would need to update your dog’s microchip information.

The first one is because your contact information changes. Obviously that means you should change it if you move to a different address, but the chip should also be updated if you get a new phone number or stop using the email address that’s listed on the chip. Basically, if any of the contact information is wrong on the chip, you should correct that.

The other reason to update the microchip is if a dog goes to a different owner. Maybe your dog outlives you and you have it in your will that your sister gets him after you’re gone. Or you have a change in living circumstances and just can’t keep your best friend anymore, so you work with a rescue or find a new dog lover to take over.

Whatever the situation, a new owner means that the contact information is going to be completely different, so the records on the chip should reflect this.

How to update
First things first — microchips never get taken out, and the people who put it in your dog usually don’t have anything to do with updating it. So how do you update these chips?

It’s pretty simple really. Microchips are made by manufacturers. When you got your dog implanted, you should have received an activation card with an ID number and a phone number to call.

Unless the person implanting the microchip did it for you, this is the number you need to call to make sure that people will actually get your contact information when they scan the chip. Essentially, you’re calling the number to turn the chip on. When you need to update any information on the chip, you have to call this same number, give them the ID, and then tell them what’s changed. That’s it.

If you’d prefer not to make the update by phone, you can also do so online with many microchip manufacturers, such as Avid, Microchip I.D. Solutions, and 911 Pet Chip. If you don’t know the manufacturer, you can look it up at the American Animal Hospital Association website. It’s also a smart idea to put your dog on the Found Animals Registry, a database that holds contact information for microchips of all kinds, regardless of the manufacturer.

Of course, our dogs should always wear their collars with ID tags and other legally required information, like a license and current rabies vaccination tag, but collars and tags can fall off or be removed. A microchip is a secure, permanent and safe form of ID that your dog can’t lose.

How many dogs do you have? Tell us about your pack in the comments.

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