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Why Your Dog should always wear a Dog Tag

October 09, 2019 6 min read

Why Your Dog should always wear a Dog Tag

A surprising report by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that a full 80 percent of pet owners feel pet I.D. tags are vitally important.


Why, then, do only 33 percent of the same report that their pets always wear I.D. tags?

These are the kinds of statistics that cause pet shelters to overflow on a regular basis. yet so many lost pets (up to 70 percent for pet dogs) are never found by their original owners.

If your dog is not wearing a set of custom dog id tags, even if they find their way to an animal shelter, there won't be any way for the shelter staff to alert you they've found your pup.

Read on to learn the compelling reasons why veterinarians and animal experts say your dog should always wear a dog tag.

A Dog Microchip Is Not Enough

Back in 2011, the New York Times reported the jaw-dropping story of a missing cat who turned up 1,800 miles away from her original home. Willow the cat was missing for five years before someone thought to scan her for a microchip.

Thankfully, her owners had thought to have the chip implanted when Willow was still a kitten. Still, it took five years before that microchip was scanned. And thankfully, the owners' contact information had not changed in the interim or the microchip scan would have been of no use.

While microchips are a neat invention and in Willow's case, having a microchip at least helped her eventually find her way home, do you really want to wait five years to find out what became of your lost pet dog?

Even though an estimated 68 percent of households today include at least one pet, only about 38 percent of those include a pet dog.

So the chances are still far too high that if you and your dog get separated, the person who finds your pup may not know anything about microchips! If the person who finds your dog doesn't know to scan for a microchip, it won't help one bit in reuniting you with your pooch.

Another factor is that microchips can be issued by different companies. There is no one single standard microchip registry where all microchip numbers are stored and can be accessed. Different microchips read at different frequencies and not all microchip scanners can read all microchip frequencies. Sadly, stories about lost pets being euthanized in spite of an existing microchip are still all too common for this very reason.

As the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out, this is not the only challenge that can prevent itself when a missing pet is microchipped but is missing custom dog id tags. Microchips do not replace I.D. tags that make the process to find lost dog so much simpler for all concerned.

Dog Tags Are Much Cheaper Than Microchips

According to a recent pet industry report, an amazing 95 percent of pet owners state that they feel their pets are card-carrying members of their family.

Although this really isn't new news. Way back in 2008, a surprising study revealed that a full two-thirds of pet owners would rather be stranded on a desert island with their pet than with their partner!

Today's statistics indicate we aren't that surprised about this anymore.

To that point, did you know the pet industry rakes in an estimated $75 billion each year? Pet parents eagerly plunk down surprisingly large chunks of change on Valentine's day presents, Halloween costumes, treats, toys, bedding, crates, car restraints, leashes, even booties to keep their pup's feet dry during rain showers and snowstorms.

In the grand spectrum of things, spending a few bucks on custom dog id tags to find lost dog seems a literal drop in the bucket, even if you find yourself on the more conservative end of current pet spending trends.

After all, your furry family member represents not just a significant investment of your time and heart. You have also made a significant investment with your wallet.

According to the Petfinder service, it costs about $45 on average to have your dog's veterinarian microchip your dog.

But there is no cost estimate for the emotional anguish of signing your dog up to get stuck with a rather large needle, however. Nor is there a cost assigned to the time it takes to drive your pup to the vet, calm them while you wait to be seen, have the microchip inserted, remember to maintain your contact information in the associated registry and wait and hope your dog is scanned if they ever go missing. You also don't have to worry about any side effects of the microchip insertion, which while rare can sometimes be serious.

It costs less than half this amount to have a custom dog tag made. You can do it easily online from the comfort of your home. Once you attach it, your only responsibility is to make sure it is still there each morning and to get it updated if your contact information changes.

By putting your cell phone number on the tag, you reduce the likelihood you will ever have to spend any more money to update it, since most people today are able to keep their existing phone number no matter where they live.

Best of all, your dog doesn't have to endure the stress of a vet visit or get stuck with that large needle (although adding a microchip as an extra safety precaution is never a bad idea if your budget permits).

As a side perk, you can also add information about your dog's microchip right onto the dog ID tag! Writing "I'm microchipped" on the id tag is a great way to make sure both methods of contact are detected and used to reunite you with your pooch.

Dog Tags, Like Dogs, Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The days when there was only one option for your dog's tag are long gone. These days you can pick your preferred material for the dog tag, like plastic, alloy of metal, aluminium, stainless steel or brass.

You can choose your favourite colour and decide if a bone, paw, heart or circle shape should carry your information. Everyone will find their preferred tag that suits their dog best.


Dog Tags Are a Legal Requirement

In all the debate about whether dog id tags are reliable, necessary or safe, it is easy to forget one fact: in nearly all areas, pet dogs are legally required to wear dog id tags!

The American Humane Society states that in addition to your contact information and proof of a current rabies vaccination, most areas require that your dog's ID tag contain proof of current pet licenses for your city or county.

While it is true that your dog's collar can tend to get crowded with so much information displayed on it, this is nothing in the face of the threat of euthanization if your dog gets lost and is unable to be identified.

What to Put on Your Dog's Custom ID Tags

There is no one universal consensus about what information to include on your dog's custom id tags.

That is actually one of the nicest features of dog ID tags - you can decide what information you feel comfortable displaying publicly. Also, it is always smart to check with your local and state laws as well before ordering your new dog id tags just to be sure you don't leave off any required information.

In general, VetStreet recommends at least putting your cell phone number on your dog's ID tag since this is typically the most reliable way owners can be reached today.

By taking the time to order custom id tags to find lost dog in the event you are separated from your pup, you buy yourself priceless peace of mind. Ordering custom id tags for your dog is simple and quick and very economical.

Most importantly, taking this step ensures your pup will never have to face the world alone and scared with no way to tell rescuers where "home" is. The custom id tags around your dog's neck will make sure this never happens!


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