PET TAGS – A Lifesaving Accessory

Pet accessories are all the rage, especially if you have a cute little dog. Collars and harnesses can also be customized and blinged out with everything from embroidery to tiny precious gems. But what about those infamous ‘dog tags’? Dog tags are not only a smart fashion choice but they could save your pet’s life.

Traditional Tags

Pet tags are used to identify an animal and provide information about the owner. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Tags are made out of many different types of materials, from plastic to aluminum or even gold! Tags typically hang from a collar or harness, but sometimes identification information is embroidered directly onto the collar itself.

Tags can be made in a variety of ways as well - the information is either engraved or stamped onto the material. Kiosks at pet stores can produce custom tags in minutes or they can be ordered online.

It is important to always include all of the following information when you customize the ID tag:

  • Pet’s name
  • Owner’s last name
  • Owner’s phone number
  • Owner’s email address

People today always seem to be on the move, so phone numbers can change frequently. It is recommended to include your email address on your pet’s tag, as most of us check our email daily. If you decide to leave off a phone number completely, this will ensure that a wrong number isn’t called if your pet is found.

Special needs pets should also have information tags on their collar. This additional information can save their life and possibly prevent humans from becoming hurt. For example, if your pet is deaf, applying a small tag that reads “I’m Deaf” can make others aware of the pet’s limitations. A tag that reads “I’m Diabetic – Take Me to a Vet” can help your pet get the medical attention he needs in your absence.

Check your pet’s tags frequently. Over time they will wear, sometimes making the tag unreadable. Wear and tear can subject the tag to loss. Once you notice signs of wear, it is time to replace the tag.

Microchips – Permanent Identification

Microchipping has been mainstream for decades. It provides a permanent source of identification for dogs, cats, horses and even livestock. A tiny transponder the size of a grain of rice is implanted under your pet’s skin. It is implanted between the shoulder blades. Once the veterinarian confirms that it is in place, the microchip number information is documented. It is the owner’s responsibility to register their contact information and pet information with the microchip company.

If your pet is found without a collar or tags, a veterinarian or animal shelter employee can use a special scanner to detect the microchip. Some scanners will show which company has the owner’s information but others don’t. There are many brands of microchips out on the market and no centralized database for searching microchip numbers. Often, the vet or shelter will have to call each company until they find the right one. Once the number is matched to owner information, the company contacts the owner about the found pet.


Some pets are tattooed for identification. This method is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as there is no way to research ownership information via the tattoo in dogs and cats. Tattoos can be used to make a positive ID of the animal once the owner has been located.

Ultimately though, even if your pet never goes outdoors, it is a good idea to have him microchipped and tagged for safety’s sake. A natural disaster may strike or he may sneak out the back door during a party. Pet theft is also a problem, especially among purebred animals. Having identification on him will give you peace of mind in case the unthinkable happens.