Your Guide to Dog ID Tags

Dog collars come in plenty of styles. You can make your pup look like a tough guy with a skull-and-bones collar or deck your fluffy little princess out in a pink one with a bow. 

When it comes to dog collars, though, it don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got some necessary bling. Having the correct dog ID tags on your pup’s collar can ensure they stay safe and healthy in case the two of you are separated. In some jurisdictions, having appropriate tags can also keep you from incurring fines.

However, let’s face it: All that clinking is annoying. And should your small dog really have multiple tags around their neck? 

Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance shares everything you need to know about dog name tags.

dog id tags
How many dog ID tags does your dog need? Photo: Ksenia Raykova/Getty Images

What dog tags does my dog need?

Dr. Burch suggests keeping three tags on your dog’s collar:

An identification tag. This tag should have the pet’s name and your up-to-date phone number. “I’ve run into situations where they have the information on there, but it’s an old number that no longer works,” Dr. Burch says. If there’s room, you can include your home address and pet’s microchip number. If you and your pet get separated, this extra information can help reunite the two of you.

A rabies tag. The rabies tag provides a useful piece of information, and it’s not that your dog was vaccinated. “It shows the veterinary hospital they go to,” Dr. Burch says. If someone finds your pup and the ID tag fell off, the Good Samaritan or animal control can call the vet, and they may be able to point them in your direction. “The rabies tag is not proof of vaccination,” Dr. Burch clarifies. “The actual proof is the rabies certificate.” You will often need to show this certificate to a groomer or if you are boarding your dog.

Proof of licensing. Many jurisdictions require you to license your dog and give you a tag to affix to the collar. You’ll want to put this on. “It helps avoid incurring additional penalties when you go break them out of jail,” Dr. Burch says.

dog id tags
What dog ID tags should be on your pup’s collar?Photo: alexei_tm/Getty Images

How to avoid clinking

Dr. Burch suggests leaving the collar with tags on your dog at all times, even inside.

“Even in the house, there can be a time where just opening a door or a door is accidentally left open, and they easily escape from the household,” she advises.

That said, the clinking can get annoying, particularly if you are trying to sleep. Dr. Burch says you can reduce the number of tags by getting a collar that allows you to engrave the identification information. There are also plastic protectors that you can put on the dog tag that prevents the metal from hitting each other. Finally, you can look into dog tag silencers.

“A piece of plastic that attaches and screws the tags tight together — not so tight that you can’t see them individually but tight enough that they aren’t clinking,” Dr. Burch says.

How many dog tags is too many?

Maybe your life isn’t complete without hearing your dog’s collar jingle. However, is there such a thing as too much of a good thing?

Dr. Burch says that the three tags she suggests keeping on the dog shouldn’t weigh down your pup.

“The metal is pretty lightweight,” she says. “When you start thinking about five to eight tags hanging off a collar, then it can be too much weight, especially for smaller dogs. It can put pressure on the neck.”

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