Dog Tags 101: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Pet Safe

Collar that has microchip tag
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If your pet is microchipped, you should attach a tag to your pet's collar with the company's name and phone number.

How Often Should I Change My Pet's Tags?

Each time that your pet is revaccinated, make sure that you affix the new tag to his collar. It’s also important to update tags whenever you move or change your phone number.

You should also check your pet’s tags every couple of months for legibility. “Most ID tags are not engraved very deeply, and the information does tend to wear off,” says Smith. “Make sure they’re still easily readable, and replace them if they’ve become worn or scratched.”

Smith also recommends keeping one or two spare sets of tags around the house.

“Dogs lose tags more often than you think,” she says. “One of my dogs lost not one, not two, but three complete sets of tags — ID, chip registry and rabies — in the span of a couple years.”

What Should I Look For When Buying ID Tags?

Just like breeds of dogs, there are a variety of choices when it comes to pet tags. Bottom line: Choose one that fits your lifestyle best.

Globetrotting Pets If you travel with your pet often, you may want to consider portable tags, which are waterproof metal tubes or barrels that screw open and shut. You can write your hotel or destination contact information on a piece of paper to insert into the unit, and then change it whenever you head out of town.

Rambunctious Pets If you hate the sound of jangling tags, a dog tag silencer may be a good idea — especially for homes with sleeping babies. The soft pouches fit snugly around your pet's IDs, muffling the sound of clanging metal when he runs through the house to greet you.

All Pets If you know that you aren’t moving anytime soon, you may want to consider a tag that comes with a lifetime guarantee. These sturdy tags are typically made of stainless steel, and companies will replace them for free if they become illegible. Don’t want to deal with hanging tags, which tend to wear and fall off? Consider a secure collar tag, which is less likely to get caught on things.

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