Few things bring me as much joy as watching my dog running off-leash through the mountains.
But off-leash hiking is also one of the most dangerous things I do with my best friend. Even though he’s super well-trained, there’s always a risk that I could lose him.
That’s where ID tags for dogs can come in. Custom dog ID tags help other people identify your dog and contact you if you lose track of your dog.
My Favorite Custom Dog ID Tags
I really love pretty dog gear, and Copper Paws is my favorite place to get dog tags (Use code JOURNEY at checkout for a discount). Sure, you can get super cheap options at PetCo or Ace Hardware, but what’s the fun in that?
Copper Paws tags are flat-out gorgeous. They’re hand-stamped and made from a variety of metals. You can select styles (dangling or slide-on), fonts, shapes, and more.
Casey, the shop owner, is lovely to deal with. The tags I’ve bought from Copper Paws are so pretty that I might buy more collars so I can have more.
Do Dogs Need ID Tags?
The short answer is yes. I do own an embroidered collar with Barley’s name and my phone number on it as well. He wears this in high-risk scenarios (like hiking) in case his tags get ripped off somehow.
The thing is, your dog needs some sort of visual ID. Otherwise people might assume he is a stray. And how are they supposed to contact you if he’s not wearing your phone number?
Even if your dog is microchipped (PLEASE do this), many people don’t know that they can scan for microchips – or they don’t know where to go to have that done.
Plus, visual dog ID tags just save time. A few weeks ago, Barley and I were on a jog in an off-leash friendly area. A little springer spaniel joined us for nearly a full mile. I didn’t see the owner or anyone else around, so I eventually coaxed her over and called the number on her tag. It turned out she’d jumped the fence and her owner came to get her!
This saved me a ton of hassle, as I really didn’t want to try to use my one leash to bring two off-leash dogs 3 miles back to my car to scan the dog’s microchip.
Even if you never let your dog out off-leash, dogs can to wriggle out of collars, jump out of car windows, or slip through your legs at the doorway.
Visual ID in the form of dog tags is just necessary!
What Kind of ID Tags Are Best for Active Dogs?
I love Copper Paw’s slide-on dog tags. They don’t dangle (great for dogs that chase reflections) and are less likely to fall off or get caught on something.
When Barley and I are hiking, herding, playing with other dogs, or in agility, I prefer not to have any dangling tags that could get caught. I love how this tag is visible, but quiet and unlikely to catch on anything.
I use the slide-on tag from Copper Paws with Barley’s Ruffwear Front Range Harness. This frees up the chest ring on the harness for his light or bear bells, or lets us go dangly-free in scenarios where that’s important!
What Should I Put on My Dog’s ID Tag?
The most important thing to put on your dog’s ID tag is contact information for you. I simply put my phone number. You might also add your name, email address, or home address.
Ensure that your phone number is up-to-date and easily readable! A few years ago, I was watching a dog and realized that her tags were totally polished clean. You couldn’t read ANY information anymore!
Some fancy tags come with fancy fonts that are tricky to read. Be sure to avoid those.
Clean your tags regularly to help keep them readable in the future. Use water and dish soap to clean aluminum. Clean bronze and copper with a bit of ketchup, then rinse clean.
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, and as a private dog trainer. When not working on Journey Dog Training, Kayla works at Working Dogs for Conservation. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her dog Barley.