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What Info Goes on a Dog Tag?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 12, 2017
What Info Goes on a Dog Tag?

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Identification tags for your dog have information which is for the pet's benefit, but not for it to read. If you have a dog which can read you need your own TV special, not just dog tag info. You should know well enough the pertinent information which your dog needs for appropriate care. Many people, however, enjoy adding some of their own information to either suit the dog's character or that of the owner. Often these are quite funny little sayings, designed to get a little chuckle out of anyone who gets close enough to read. However, as AnimalWised looks at what info goes on a dog tag, we also show you the quite serious reasons this info should be displayed on your dog's collar.

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Difference between dog tags and dog tags

Before we look at the different types of information you might want to put on a dog tag, we should clarify which dog tags we're talking about. Military personnel in different squadrons around the world and throughout history have had identification tags around their necks. This was mainly for identification if the soldier was injured or even killed, allowing them to be returned to the right place. It had their name embossed (or even debossed) on to it along with their social security number and other information such as religion (for burial information) or medical requirements (for treatment). While they are officially identification tags, they started to be called dog tags during World War II[1] and the nickname has been well known since.

Some civilians also wear dog tags instead of medical alert bracelets to let anyone treating them know of any allergies or particular medical issues which should be known by medical personnel. Furthermore, some wear dog tags for fashion purposes.

Dog tags for actual dogs are known properly as pet ID tags or simply pet tags. These aren't so much for identifying your pet on the battlefield as much as they are for making sure they are safe if your dog gets lost or goes astray. Veterinarians recommend your dog is tagged, otherwise local authorities might confuse your pet for a stray dog and take it away to the pound. By looking at some of the basic dog tag information, we can better know what the dog tags are for.

Basic dog tag information

The dog tags are usually looped round the collar or harness of your pet. This way they can be identified by someone easily (as long as the dog is compliant) and they shouldn't interfere with the dog's comfort any. They can be made from different materials, but they are most commonly some sort of metal (stainless steel and aluminium most commonly). They can also be made from plastic and this allows some to be implanted with a tracking chip. This chip can be tracked with a GPS in case it goes stray and is yet to be recovered by someone.

The information which is embossed or engraved onto the tag is usually as follows:

  • Dog name
  • Dog license number and phone number for licensing board
  • Owner's phone number and/or address

If the dog has a particular medical condition which might affect its recovery when injured, a second tag is usually placed around the dog's neck. In some countries, e.g. the UK, all dogs in public spaces are required to wear dog tags.

More modern tags sometimes have a QR code on their dog's tags. This allows someone who finds the dog to scan the code and gives them all the pertinent information. This can include a reward amount if there is a reward for the lost dog. It can even alert the owner that it has been scanned.

Some people like to put other information on their dog tags, but there are some considerations people might want to make before they do.

What Info Goes on a Dog Tag? - Basic dog tag information

Dog tag information considerations

There is a small amount of controversy over whether or not to put the dog's name on the collar of the dog. Some people may consider it cynical, but if a dog's name is on the dog tag, there is a possibility someone might use it to call the dog over at some point and steal the dog. This might be more likely with expensive pedigree breeds.

Another concern about putting the dog's name on the dog tag is if there is a dispute over ownership. If two people are claiming they own the dog, they might use the name to try to call it and prove they own the pooch. However, the scenario in which this happens is both complicated and unlikely.

In saying this, there reasons for putting your dog's name on the tag are also not very compelling. The first one is that if someone finds the dog, they can use their name to reassure it. However, if the dog is scared of strangers, knowing the dog's name might not be enough to calm it down. Alternatively, the reason you would put a dog's name on the tag is for simple vanity. If you work somewhere with a lot of working dogs, perhaps you would need the name on the tag to simply remember which one is which.

Another consideration to make is the size and shape of the tag. Most dog tags will be relatively small, allowing for the dog to wear it without discomfort. However, some novelty dog tags might be inappropriate for the size of your dog. Also, if your dog has a lot of fur, it may need the tags to hang down a little for ease of access.

Another consideration is whether to put your cellphone or address on the tag. There could be some security issues if a less scrupulous person were to find your dog. Also, if you live out in the country where cellphone reception is bad, then you may want to consider putting your address so they know where to take the dog.

Funny dog tag information

Some people like to have dog tags for fun reasons more than anything practical. Of course, you could have something put on which is bespoke to you. Perhaps a funny family nickname or personal joke. However, the internet provides some funny alternatives. They often poke fun at the dog's owner or try to impart a little of their own personality. Here are some examples if you're looking for inspiration for your own dog tags:

  • 'Oh no, I'm lost! Please call my owner on...'
  • 'If I look lost, rub my belly and call my mom'
  • 'Have your people call my people'
  • 'I'm the reason we can't have nice things'
  • 'If you can read this I will lick you'
  • 'Call my dad before he freaks out'
  • 'I lost my humans'
  • 'Every day is hump day'
  • 'I'm a lover, not a biter'
  • 'If you think I'm cute you should see my mom'

Dog tags are a great way to give stranger's you meet a laugh, but the jokes probably shouldn't replace the important information on them. Especially if it is the law where you live.

If you want to read similar articles to What Info Goes on a Dog Tag?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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