In the UK, it is required that every dog in public wears some form of identity tag. This is part of the Control of Dogs Order 1992, and legally enforceable by dog wardens. You can actually be fined up to £5,000 if your dog is not wearing one.
The information can either be engraved or printed on to a small plate or badge and attached to the collar, or engraved straight on to the collar itself. It can also be connected to a harness if this is more appropriate.
Since April 2016, it has also been the law that every dog must also be microchipped and part of a national database. Don’t think that just because your dog is microchipped, they don’t need a tag - both are required.
What to put on a dog ID tag
The information on a dog’s ID tag should be informative enough so if the dog were to become lost, it could easily be returned to the owner by anybody who finds it.
When in a public place, every dog should wear a collar with a tag which has the owners name and address (including postcode) on.
An example of this is:
52 Treat St.
If your dog is small (and their ID tag can therefore not accommodate an entire address), all you need is your house number and postcode to determine your address.
Your telephone number is optional but recommended. If you do choose to put one on, make sure it is up-to-date, in use, and you have constant access to.
This should all be clear enough to read and not become smudged or damaged. As the tags we have featured on Top Dog are printed rather than engraved, there is less chance of them becoming scratched, faded and tarnished.
What about the dog’s name?
It does make sense to put your dog’s name on their ID tag. If somebody found them and they were nervous, they could use their name to comfort them, and it would be easier to pass on information to any vets or dog wardens.
However, dog theft is an increasing threat in the UK. While somebody could use the dog’s name to comfort them, they could equally use the name to bond with them or pass them on to new ‘owners’ more comfortably.
Therefore be wary of this. Instead of the name, you could simply put ‘Chipped’, ‘If Found’ or your surname. The text options on the Top Dog website are completely blank for full personalisation.
Is there a size requirement?
There are no style or size rules for dog tags. As long as the print and information are eligible for anybody to understand, your badge will be appropriate.
Our personalised dog ID tags are available in Small, Medium and Large, so there is an option to suit any breed of dog, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes.
Are there any dogs who do not need an ID tag?
While it is a general law that dogs need a tag, there are some who are exempt from the rule. These are:
- Dogs registered with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
- A dog being used for sport
- Any dog undertaking emergency services work
- Dogs herding/guiding cattle or sheep
- Any dogs being used for capturing vermin
- Dogs working with the Armed Services, Police forces, or Customs and Excise
- A pack of hounds
The vast majority of owners and dogs will not qualify for the exemption rules. It is, therefore, best to have an ID tag on your dog at all times. Also, just because a dog is exempt does not mean you can’t give them a badge.
The pros of a Dog ID Tag
If your dog becomes lost or is stolen, a dog tag makes it easier for anybody who finds them to get in touch with you or return your pet. It could rule out the need to contact a vet or dog warden to read the microchip.
This keeps them safer when they are out. Even if you feel your dog is incredibly well behaved when walking, anything could happen all of a sudden to cause them to run away or become lost, so information tags are great in these situations.
Are there any cons?
Sometimes, collars and ID tags can be uncomfortable for your pets to wear as they can cause itches or irritation. Remember that they are only required by law to wear them when in public, and your hound will likely be more occupied with their walk than realising they’re wearing a collar!
However, if there is a risk your four-legged friend is partial to tunnelling under the fence in the back garden while chasing cats, you’re maybe best keeping it on permanently.
If ordinary tags are quite heavy for your dog, the ones we have featured on Top Dog are lightweight yet durable, without feeling too cumbersome - even the copper option.
Medical ID dog tags
Another positive of pet ID tags is that you can include any medical information. Should your pooch be epileptic, require medication or have any allergies, this information is easy to access and will keep them safer.
To check out our selection of dog ID tags which comply with UK law, click here.