What is a dog tag, and why do we need them?
Dogs can’t talk, and dogs wander or sometimes get lost—what better way to communicate with a human than having a little tag that can identify your dog.
It can be very traumatic to be separated from your dog if you don’t know where they have gone. Even if your dog isn’t a wanderer, there may be a chance of them being scared and running off, say in a fire or some natural disaster.
Microchipping your dog is a good idea in conjunction with a tag. A malicious person could easily remove the collar, or the tag may get broken or pulled off – microchipping is permanent and safe. However, to check the microchip means that it has to be scanned first to obtain your information.
This may not be an option in a disaster or if no veterinarians open or handy. Anyone who finds your dog with a tag and your contact details on it can call you immediately, and you can be reunited promptly.
So, what is the best message to put on a dog tag? And, how do you put a dog tag on the collar?
How to Put a Dog Tag on a Collar
Types of Dog Tags
Tags come in the form of stainless steel, plastic, and aluminum. The stainless steel tags and rugged plastic are more robust than the aluminum ones, so they tend to last longer.
The tags come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. You could get a plain round one or opt for a bone shape or a bow?
The sizing would depend on the size of your dog. You wouldn’t want a hefty tag on a little dog – the dog would not appreciate this either. You would have to ensure the tag didn’t inhibit the dogs’ actions by being too big, heavy, or dangly!
How Do You Put a Tag on a Dog’s Collar?
There are various options for attaching the tag to your dog’s collar.
Please note it will always be easier to attach the tag once the collar has been removed from the dog.
The S-Hook is a hook in the shape of an ‘S.’ One end of the ‘S’ is hooked around the tag and then pinched shut (using a pair of pliers is the best tool for this). Once secured onto the tag, the other end of the ‘S’ is hooked around the D-Ring on the collar, and then that too is pinched shut, securely in place.
Try and make sure the ends of the ‘S’ are firmly against the middle of the ‘S’ so there is little or no gap for the tag to slip through. This is also important so the dog doesn’t get anything trapped in the ring.
The Split Ring is a flat spiral ring – like a miniature key ring. These are safe (hard to get anything trapped in the ring), stronger, and easier to use than the S-Hook. The ring’s diameter can vary, and, like the tags, the size you choose depends on the size of the dog and the size of the tag.
The best way to get the tag onto the split ring is to pull the end of the ring out slightly, slide the tag onto the end, and thread the ring through until ultimately onto the tag. And then do the same with the D-Ring on the collar.
With a Caribbean latch attachment, we still need a split ring on the collar or the tag.
Although easy to open, they can get caught easily on something and detached from the collar or the tag.
Tag Riveted to Collar
This is a metal tag that is riveted permanently to the collar, so once attached, it cannot be removed. It’s a great option if you (or, of course, your dog) don’t like anything hanging from the collar. The tag should be the same width or slightly narrower than the collar itself. You can buy selected collars with these ‘built-in’ tags already on.
What should be on a dog collar tag?
The tag’s purpose is so the owner can be contacted if the dog is lost and consequentially found by strangers. Therefore the owner’s contact details should be on the tag, preferably their cell phone number, but this is really up to each owner. Suggestions on what can be on the label are as follows:
- Owner’s cell phone number
- Owner’s address, or city, and zip code
- Dog’s name
- Rabies vaccination details
- Reward offered to return the dog to its owner
- Medical specifications of the dog
- Specific personality traits of the dog that would be advantageous for people to be aware of
If you’re away on holiday, you may want a friend’s phone number on there.
Do dogs have to have a tag on their collar?
In many countries, yes, the dog must wear a tag on their collar. In the US and the UK, dogs must be legally licensed, and this is indicated by having the owners’ ID details on the tag.
In Australia, the dogs must be registered by the local council. They are provided with a council registration tag, so a separate ID tag (optional) can be worn alongside the council tag.
The dog must have a city or county license and a rabies vaccination tag, which must be worn on the collar or shown on the tag.
Some people may choose not to divulge too much information on the tag, such as the dog’s name, as they may not want the dog running to strangers. You can only fit so much on the label, so you may not be able to have everything on there that you prefer. Therefore, put on what you feel comfortable with and what is essential – nothing more than that.
Choose the tag which suits your dog’s personality. Some dogs are sound-sensitive and will not like noisy tags.
Other dogs may not be comfortable with any extra weight around their neck, although it may seem minimal to us; look for any signs that the dog is uncomfortable with the tag.