If you’re adopting a pet from a shelter, or are adopting a pet from someone you know who can no longer care for their pet, good for you. With so many pets needing a home, pet adoption is an excellent choice. When adopting an older pet, however, it’s very likely that your new pet has already been micro chipped with the information of their previous owner.

Micro-chipping pets is quick, easy and economical. Many breeders offer optional microchipping when you get a new puppy. Some shelters offer this service and pretty much any vet should be able to do this procedure as well. Having your pet micro-chipped makes tracking down your lost pets that much easier, but not if that micro-chip points potential "finders" and vets to another person. Having updated information on your pet's microchip is essential to make it easier for your lost pet to be reunited with you. Another problem you may encounter with an outdated chip is that you may also face delays in treatment or uncomfortable questions on ownerships if the vet has strict policies for establishing ownership prior to treatment.

Changing the information on an existing micro chip or re-chipping your pet is fairly straightforward. The best option is to get the information and paperwork you will need to make the switchover of the existing chip at the time of adoption. The previous owner or shelter should be able to provide you with the chip number. If they don’t know the number, you can often get the chip information from the vet they used or from their medical records.

Once you know the chip number, you can proceed to the next step of finding out what the switchover process is for the company who manages your pet’s micro-chip. Most micro-chipping companies require a pet release form signed by the previous owners or an adoption form if you are adopting from the shelter. Some micro-chipping companies charge you a monthly fee while others charge you a one time – lifetime membership fee.

Attaching a dog tag with the chip number and the name of the company your dog is registered should speed up the re-uniting process should you get separated from your pet. Once you have your pet’s micro chip switched over, you’re all set and ready to enjoy your newfound canine pal.