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Metal Dog Tags: A Durable Way to Identify Your Furry Friend

December 08, 2023 9 min read

metal dog ID tags


Metal dog ID tags are an essential item for any dog owner. They have a long history of keeping dogs safe by providing important identification information in case a dog gets lost.

Metal dog tags first became popular for dogs in the late 1800s. At the time, rabies was spreading rapidly among the stray dog population in major cities. To control the outbreak, governments began requiring all dogs to wear a metal license tag as proof the dog had been vaccinated against rabies. This helped officials identify which dogs were vaccinated if a stray dog was found roaming the streets.

Later on, metal ID tags became more commonly used by individuals to identify their pet dogs. The tags allow owners to engrave the dog's name, their contact information, and other details to help identify the dog if it gets lost. The durability of metal allows the tag to last a long time even with daily wear and tear. Stainless steel and aluminum are common metal types used today for dog tags.

While microchipping pets has grown in popularity, metal ID tags still serve an important purpose. They offer visible identification on the dog's collar, which can help alert someone who finds a lost dog on how to contact the owner right away. ID tags continue to be a simple and effective way to help lost dogs get back home safely.


There are several common types of dog ID tags available to choose from. This allows owners to select the style that works best for their pet's needs and preferences.


The most popular shape for dog tags is round or oval. These curved edges help prevent the tag from getting caught or snagging on objects. Rectangular tags are also common and lie flatter on the pet's neck.


Standard sizes range from 1 inch to 1.5 inches in diameter for round tags, and equivalent dimensions for rectangular shapes. Mini tags around 0.75 inches work well for small dogs. Large tags up to 2 inches are available for bigger breeds.


Stainless steel and aluminum are the most durable metals used for dog tags. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant, strong, and hypoallergenic for most dogs. Anodized aluminum is affordable, lightweight, and decorative. Plastic tags are cheaper but more prone to cracking or fading over time.


Laser engraving provides permanent, legible text that won't wear off or fade. It can accommodate any info without becoming too cluttered on a small tag. Embossing presses designs and text into the metal. Etching carves the surface through a chemical process. Printed designs can look attractive but may fade or rub off over time. Owners should consider the lifespan and durability of the engraving method based on their dog's lifestyle and activities.

Information to Include on a Dog ID Tag

A dog ID tag should contain several important pieces of information so that your dog can be identified and returned to you if lost. Here are the key details to engrave on a dog tag:

  • Name - Include your dog's name so someone who finds them knows what to call them. Use the name you most frequently call your dog.

  • Your address - Your full street address should be included so someone can easily return your lost dog. Make sure to include your city, state, and zip code.

  • Phone number - Engrave a phone number where you can be reached. This allows someone who finds your dog to call you right away. Include an alternate number too like your cell phone.

  • Microchip information - If your dog has a registered microchip, include the microchip number and registry on the tag. This provides backup contact details if the tag falls off.

  • Medical conditions - List any important medical conditions your dog has, like diabetes, seizures, allergies, etc. This helps ensure your dog gets proper care if lost.

Having complete contact and medical information engraved on your dog's ID tag is crucial. The tag should make it as easy as possible for your lost dog to be returned home safely to you. Be sure to keep the information current.


One of the best things about metal dog ID tags is that you can customize them with personal engravings and symbols that make the tags special for your pup. This turns an essential identifier into a keepsake for you and your dog.

Custom Engraving

Engraving the dog's name and your contact information is a must for ID tags. But you can also add custom text like nicknames, your address, or a short note. Many tags have enough space for a few lines of text to capture important details or a personal message.

Some popular custom engravings are:

  • The dog's nickname
  • "I'm microchipped!"
  • "Reward if found"
  • Your phone number
  • Your dog's favorite activities like "I love hiking!"

Get creative with the engraving to make it meaningful. Just keep it short and easy to read.

Adding Photos or Symbols

Along with custom text, some metal ID tags allow you to engrave a small photo or symbol. For example, you may add:

  • Your dog's portrait
  • A paw print
  • A heart or star
  • A symbol representing their favorite toy or activity

Adding an image makes the tag even more unique to your pup. Just choose a simple high-contrast image that will engrave clearly on the small tag.

The personal engravings and images on a metal ID tag make it special for both owner and dog. It's a thoughtful touch that provides essential information in a keepsake format your pup can wear with pride.

Attaching Your Dog's ID Tag

Dog ID tags often come with a ring or loop that allows them to be attached to your dog's collar. But there are other creative ways to attach and display your dog's ID that go beyond the standard collar ring.

Common Collars, Harnesses, and Slides

Collars and harnesses provide a great spot to prominently display your dog's ID tag. Attaching the tag to a flat collar or harness allows for easy visibility and prevents the tag from dangling or getting caught on things. Slide-on ID tags can easily attach to any collar. Look for a reinforced slots or rings on collars and harnesses specifically designed to hold ID tags securely.

Carabiners and Quick-Release Rings

For tags that have a hole rather than a ring, carabiners and quick release rings allow you to quickly and securely attach the ID tag to your dog's collar. Carabiners come in a variety of sizes and materials. Make sure to select a sturdy stainless steel or aluminum carabiner for long-lasting performance. Quick release rings function like a keychain, allowing you to quickly remove and attach your dog's ID tag.

Badge Holders and Reels

Badge holders and retractable ID tag reels provide a unique way to display your dog's ID tag. Badge holders have a clear vinyl window that allows the ID tag to be seen while protecting it from wear. Retractable tag reels attach to the collar and can retract the ID tag to keep it close to your dog's neck when not needed. This prevents tags from jingling and minimizes tangling.


Dog ID tags provide several important benefits for canine owners and their pets.

Identification. The primary function of a dog tag is to provide identification. The tag displays the dog's name and owner's contact information. This allows someone who finds a lost dog to call the owner and reunite them. Dog tags with a phone number and address ensure a lost pet can easily be returned.

Contact Information. At minimum, a dog tag should display the owner's phone number. This allows anyone who finds the dog to immediately call the owner. Some tags also list the owner's name and address or email. Multiple points of contact give a lost dog the best chance of getting home safely.

Medical Alerts. Custom dog tags can indicate important medical conditions like diabetes, seizures, or allergies. This medical ID tag alerts anyone finding a disoriented dog to potential health issues and special care needed. Dog tags noting medical needs can be lifesaving information.

Customization. Owners can fully customize a pet ID tag with the dog's name, their contact info, even the dog's photo. Fun shapes like bones or fire hydrants allow personalization. Custom laser engraving creates permanent dog tags. Lettering can be black, gold, or colored for visibility. Personalized dog tags distinguish each pet.


When choosing a metal dog tag, there are a few important factors to consider:


Metal tags can jingle and make noise as your dog moves around. This may be annoying to some dogs and owners. Look for tags made with rounded edges or consider getting a tag made of silent silicone instead.


Sharp edges on metal tags can irritate a dog's skin, especially if the tag flips around. Opt for tags with smoothed, rounded edges for maximum comfort. Also ensure the tag is lightweight enough not to bother your dog.


Metal dog tags are extremely durable, but may eventually bend or scratch. Go for stainless steel or brass for the most long-lasting wear. Aluminum is lightweight but can dent easier over time.


Basic metal tags may rust or corrode if exposed to water often. Look for tags with a protective coating or consider engraving instead of embossing for rust-resistant durability. Silicone and plastic tags are also waterproof options.

Dog ID tags come in many styles and designs from a variety of popular manufacturers and brands. Here are some of the top places to buy quality dog tags:

  • Boomerang Tags: Boomerang makes some of the most customizable and durable dog tags on the market. They offer a huge selection of tag shapes, sizes, fonts, colors, and materials. Their slide-on plastic pet tag holders are very secure and easy to attach. You can design your own tag or choose from thousands of premade options. Boomerang tags can be purchased directly from their website or Amazon.

  • GoTags: GoTags specializes in creating sturdy, military-grade aluminum dog tags engraved with your custom text. They have a wide selection of tag shapes and designs. GoTags can be purchased directly from their website and come with a lifetime guarantee.

  • TagSmart: This company offers engraved plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel dog tags in a variety of shapes and colors. They have an excellent custom designer tool to create your pet's ID tag. TagSmart tags can be purchased directly from their website.

  • PetHub: In addition to dog tags, PetHub makes GPS-enabled smart collars that allow you to track your pet's location. Their tag selection includes durable plastic and aluminum options with custom text and designs. PetHub products can be found on their website and major retailers like Amazon and Chewy.

No matter what style or design you prefer, you can find a high-quality personalized dog tag from one of these top brands to help keep your pet safe and secure. Be sure to include all essential contact and identification information tailored specifically for your dog.


The cost of metal dog ID tags can vary quite a bit depending on the material, customization options, and brand. Here's an overview of what to expect:

Typical Price Range

  • Basic aluminum or stainless steel tags: $5 - $15
  • Precious metal tags like silver or gold: $20 - $80
  • Designer or luxury brands: $50 - $100+

The material used is one of the biggest factors affecting cost. Precious metals like silver and gold cost more than basic metals like aluminum.

Customization options can also impact price. Getting the tag engraved with the dog's name, contact info, or other text adds to the cost. Unique shapes, colored enamel fill for text, and other custom designs cost more too.

Brand name has an effect as well. Tags from luxury designers usually come at a premium. On the other hand, buying in bulk keeps the per-unit price down.

Other Factors

  • Size of the tag
  • How many tags are purchased
  • Any additional accessories like necklace chains
  • Where it's purchased from - online, boutique pet stores, vets, etc.

With so many options, it's easy to find metal ID tags at various price points to suit different budgets. Take the time to consider what features are most important so you can focus your spending effectively. With proper care, a quality metal tag can be a smart investment to last your dog's lifetime.


Metal dog tags are an important way to provide your dog with identification should they ever get lost. The key points covered in this article are:

  • There are several common types of metal dog tags available, including brass, aluminum, and stainless steel. Stainless steel is one of the most durable options.

  • Key information to include on the tags is the dog's name, your name, address, and one or two phone numbers. Some tags allow you to add custom text as well.

  • Personalizing the tag with your dog's name and contact information is recommended, as it will allow anyone who finds your lost dog to get in touch with you.

  • Consider getting a tag with an attachment ring to easily attach to your dog's collar. Silencers can help quiet the jingling of tags.

  • Benefits of metal dog tags include durability, customizability, and the peace of mind knowing your dog has ID. They can last for years.

  • Take into account your dog's habits, environment, and activity level when choosing a tag. Larger or active dogs may benefit from more durable stainless steel.

  • Popular brands to consider include Boomerang Tags, American Kennel Club, and Tag Smart. Shop around for the style and price range that fits your needs.

  • Costs range from $5-15 for most metal dog tags, depending on materials and customization. This small investment could save you much stress if your dog is ever lost.

Overall, metal dog tags are an easy and inexpensive way to provide your furry friend with identification. Taking the time to personalize and properly fit them to your dog can give you peace of mind.

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