No one wants to learn that their beloved pet is missing. According to the American Humane Association, more than 10 million cats and dogs are lost or stolen each year in the United States. The AHA also estimates that one in three pets will become lost at some point in their life. Having a dog tag with the most up-to-date contact information is one of the best ways to ensure a speedy reunion with a lost pet.
What Is a Dog Tag?
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’re probably familiar with dog ID tags. Dog tags have two primary functions. First, these personalized pet tags provide your dog with a stylish accessory. Dog tags are usually attached to a dog’s collar and may showcase his name and other information.
Dog ID tags are most commonly constructed of metal and the wording is either engraved or printed onto the tag. You can find dog identification tags in a wide range of colors and shapes, such as dog bones, hearts, circles, diamonds, hexagons, and rectangles.
What Information Should a Dog Tag Contain?
Some people make the mistake of only putting their pet’s name on the dog’s ID tag. While having your pet’s name can help your dog and his rescuer become better acquainted, it won’t get your pet home quickly. You’ll also need to put important contact information on the tag, such as:
- Your Name – Putting your name on the dog tag makes it easier for your pet’s rescuer to locate you.
- Phone Number – Ensure that the dog tag contains your most up-to-date phone number, as well as a second phone number as a backup.
- Address – If your pet’s rescuer is unable to contact you via phone, a physical address ensures that they will be able to find you.
- Medical Needs – If your dog requires daily medication, you may want to add a brief message, such as “Needs Meds!” to create a sense of urgency.
Along with your pet’s standard ID tag, consider attaching your dog’s vaccination information to his collar. Your vet will provide you with a rabies tag if required by law. This rabies tag proves to anyone that finds your pet that he has been vaccinated.
How Does a Regular Pet ID Tag Differ from a Digital ID Tag?
Many pet owners like the idea of having an ID tag for their dog because it provides critical information that can help their pet get returned home as quickly as possible. However, most dog tags are small, with limited space for important information. Some tags only allow up to a certain number of characters, with just enough room for the dog’s name and the owner’s phone number.
Pet owners that want to provide their pet’s rescuer with more detailed information should consider a digital pet ID tag, which links to an online profile that can be accessed using nearly any modern cell phone.
When your pet’s rescuer scans the digital identification tag, it will take them to a website that contains more in-depth information, such as multiple phone numbers and addresses, your pet’s medical history, licensing and rabies information, and your veterinarian’s contact information. Having a digital ID tag for your pet can help ensure that they are returned home as quickly and safely as possible.
How Else Can I Protect My Dog If He Gets Lost?
While dog ID tags are a great thing to have to protect your pet, it’s always good to have backup protection. Microchipping is recommended for all cats and dogs to help them find their way home if lost or stolen.
Microchipping is a simple procedure during which a veterinarian inserts a small microchip under your pet’s skin. The microchip acts as a tiny radio transponder that stores a unique identification number that is specific to your pet. When the microchip is scanned by a vet or other authority, the scanner relays a number that can be inserted into a database where your contact information is stored.
Having both a pet ID tag and a microchip is the best way to protect your pet. Of course, prevention is key. Here are some simple ways to prevent your dog from getting lost or stolen:
- Never leave your pet unsupervised. You may think your dog is safe in the backyard or wandering the property, but there is always a chance that your pet could escape or get snatched by a stranger.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Dogs are less likely to wander off in search of a mate when they are fixed from an early age.
- Train your pet to come when called. Ideally, you should begin training your dog as a puppy to return to your side when you give him a signal.
- Get your dog licensed. If you haven’t yet licensed your pet, now is the time! A missing dog with a license tag on its collar is more likely to be returned home.
- Keep important documents as evidence. If your dog is ever lost or stolen, having the proper documentation, such as colored photos and vaccination records, can help prove to the police that you are the rightful owner.
Protecting Your Pet with a Dog ID Tag
Having a dog ID tag that is easy to read and contains the most up-to-date contact information is essential for keeping your pet safe. Investing in a quality dog tag or digital ID tag could literally save your dog’s life and see them safely back at home as quickly as possible.