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It happens to all of us. No matter how much caution we practice or how secure we think our yard enclosures are—at some point, our dogs will get attempt a getaway. And sooner or later, they’ll succeed.
Luckily, technology has improved our odds of finding a lost dog with things like microchipping, social media, and yes—even dog-finding apps. Still, the American Humane Association reports that one in three dogs will go missing at some point in his life.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Avoid the heartbreak by hooking your pet up with a proper, personalized ID tag. Your sanity will thank you later.
Why is my dog’s ID tag so important, anyway?
In recognition of National Pet ID Week (April 16-23), let’s take a look at how your dog’s tag keeps him safe.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your dog will run away at least once during his lifetime. And even though technology has increased our odds of reunion, outfitting your dog with an ID tag is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent him from getting permanently lost.
While microchipping your pets is certainly advisable, a good old-fashioned ID tag is a faster and more convenient way for people to contact you. In order to access the chip, your dog would need to be brought to a vet clinic or a shelter, and—let’s face it—some people just won’t bother with the hassle.
Even if your dog isn’t a habitual drifter, you need to be prepared for things like natural disasters or accidents that could separate you from your dog. If he has tags, he’s more likely to be returned to you. It’s that simple.
Wearing identification will also make your dog more approachable to strangers. It indicates your dog is not a roaming stray, which may spur someone to take protective action.
What to put on your dog’s ID tag
So, your dog needs an ID tag. Got it. But—what do you put on it? Tags have limited space, of course, so you need to choose the right info carefully. Consider the following:
1. Your Pet’s Name—Kind of a no-brainer.
2. Your Phone Number—Include a number you’re likely to answer. You might want to add a friend or neighbor’s number as well to boost your chance of being reunited.
3. Your City— If room allows, include your entire address.
4. Medical Needs— If applicable, adding the phrase “Needs Meds” can add a sense of urgency.
5. Microchip Information—It’s not a bad idea to include a line that states your dog is microchipped.
6. A Personal Message—Something personal can be a nice touch. “I’m friendly” or “Please call my mom” or “If I’m alone, I’m lost” are all good options.
7. A Reward—If you can swing it, offering a reward could encourage someone to return your dog.
Of course, you won’t be able to include all of these items in the few lines you have to work with. Take what’s applicable to your situation and customize your dog’s tag to make it work for you.
The benefits and drawbacks of getting your dog an ID tag
As with anything you get for your dog, an ID tag has its benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of Dog Tags
• They’re inexpensive.
• They’re easy to purchase and customize.
• They’re easy to read, even without technology.
• They’re the fastest way to identify your dog and ensure the quickest return.
Possible Drawbacks of Dog Tags
• It’s a potential choking hazard. To reduce the risk of it getting caught on something, choose a well-fitted collar. A good rule of thumb: you should be able to fit two fingers underneath it.
• Tags are noisy. While this is a legitimate concern, there are ways around it. Try “tag silencers,” which are plastic pieces that go around the tag to minimize sound. You could also try laminating the tags.
• Your dog is reluctant to wear tags. The key here is to introduce your dog to his new tag gradually. First, try putting him in just a collar. Once he’s comfortable with that and associates the collar with good things (like treats and rewards), you can add the tags.
If he’s still super resistant to the addition of jangling tags, consider having a custom collar embroidered with your contact info.
Where to get your dog’s ID tag
It’s not difficult to get your hands on a customized dog tag. Just head to any major pet retailer, like Petco or PetSmart and use one of their dog tag engraving machines. These are easy to operate and will get you a personalized tag in minutes. Tag machines can be found at Walmart, too.
You can also order a custom tag online if that’s more your style. Amazon offers loads of different designs, colors, and shapes to choose from. Just fill in your info and voila!—you’ve done one easy thing to keep your dog safe!
If you’re looking for something extra special, Etsy is a great place to find adorable, unique tags for your stylish pet.
With so many simple and affordable options available, there’s no reason to avoid getting a custom dog tag. This simple purchase will keep your dog safe while giving you peace of mind.
A wise investment, if there ever was one.