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Plastic Dog ID Tags

December 08, 2023 10 min read

Plastic Dog ID Tags

Introduction

Dog ID tags are small plastic tags that attach to your dog's collar and contain important identification information. Their purpose is to provide a way to identify lost dogs and reunite them with their owners.

The use of ID tags for dogs became popular in the late 1800s. As leash laws were established in many areas, dogs were increasingly let loose to roam neighborhoods alone. If a dog went missing or was injured, their owners needed a reliable way to identify them. Engraved metal tags were the earliest dog tags, but plastic became the preferred material over time as it was lightweight, durable, and inexpensive.

Today, dog ID tags are an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. They should contain current contact information for the owner as well as the dog's name. Some tags also list important medical details like vaccinations, medications, or allergies. If your lost dog ends up at an animal shelter or vet's office, staff can use the ID tag information to quickly reunite you and your pet. Having visible ID tags on your dog's collar increases the likelihood of a safe return home if they ever get lost.

Types of Plastic Used

Plastic dog ID tags come in a variety of plastic types, each with their own unique properties. Some of the most common plastics used are:

Polycarbonate

  • Made from BPA-free material
  • Durable, impact-resistant, and weatherproof
  • Provides good scratch resistance
  • Can become brittle over time when exposed to sunlight

Polyethylene (PE)

  • Low density PE is flexible and resists impact
  • High density PE is more rigid and durable
  • Provides good chemical resistance
  • Prone to becoming brittle over time

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

  • Very durable and impact resistant
  • Provides chemical and scratch resistance
  • More rigid than other plastics
  • Can become brittle when exposed to sunlight over time

Polypropylene

  • Durable and resistant to chemicals
  • Provides stiffness while still being lightweight
  • Prone to becoming brittle over time
  • Can be brittle in cold temperatures

When selecting a plastic for a dog tag, polycarbonate and high density polyethylene provide the best mix of durability, chemical resistance, and scratch resistance for withstanding daily wear and tear. Avoid plastics like polypropylene that become extra brittle in cold weather.

Engraving vs Printing

When choosing a plastic dog ID tag, one of the most important decisions is whether to get an engraved tag or a printed tag. Both techniques have their own unique pros and cons.

Engraving

Engraved plastic tags have the text physically cut into the plastic. This makes the text permanent and impossible to wear off. Engraved tags are extremely durable and can last many years without fading. The engraving process requires specialized equipment and is usually more expensive than printing. However, engraved tags have a premium, professional look that many pet owners prefer. Deeply engraved text is easy to read and stands out clearly. Engraving allows for finer details and smaller text sizes than printing. An engraved tag will maintain its legibility over time, while printed text may fade and become difficult to read as the tag ages.

Printing

Printed plastic tags have the text printed onto the surface of the tag, usually with an inkjet or laser printing process. This allows the text to be printed in color and intricate fonts that would be difficult to engrave. Printed tags are less expensive since they don't require specialized equipment. However, printed text can fade, chip or wear off over time as the tag gets banged around on your dog's collar. Friction can gradually erase the ink, making the text difficult to read. Printed tags may need to be replaced more frequently as they wear out. The text can also be damaged if the tag gets wet. High quality UV-resistant inks help slow this fading process. For very short-term use, printed tags are a budget-friendly choice. But for permanent identification that will last years, engraved tags are the better investment.

Comparison

When choosing between engraving and printing for a plastic dog ID tag, consider your budget and priorities. Engraved tags cost more but provide permanent identification and superior durability. Printed tags are affordable and allow colorful designs, but may need replacement periodically as the text fades. For most pet owners, an engraved tag is the best option for permanent, long-lasting identification. The extra cost is worthwhile to get a tag that will remain readable for many years and provide peace of mind if your dog ever gets lost.

Shapes and Sizes

  • Plastic dog ID tags come in several standard shapes and sizes. The most common shapes are round or bone-shaped, rectangular, and oval or pill-shaped.

  • Round ID tags measure 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Rectangular tags are about 1-2 inches long by 0.75-1 inches wide. Oval tags are typically 1.25-2 inches long. Thickness ranges from 1/16 to 1/8 inches.

  • Larger tags are easier to see at a distance but can be cumbersome on small dogs. The optimal shape and size depends on your dog's neck size and fur density.

  • For long-haired dogs, larger rounded tags stand out best. For short-haired dogs, smaller flat rectangular tags lay flush against the neck. Tiny and teacup breeds do best with small round or oval tags.

  • Consider getting two pairs of tags in different shapes and sizes for versatility. One lightweight, minimal tag for everyday wear and a larger tag for when visibility is key.

Personalization

One of the biggest benefits of plastic dog ID tags is the ability to customize them with your pet's information. There are several ways to personalize dog tags to fit your pup's needs.

Types of Customization

  • Name: Include your dog's name prominently on the tag. This is the most essential piece of information. Make sure to use your dog's actual name rather than nicknames so they can be easily identified.

  • Your contact info: Add your phone number and address on the tag so you can be reached if your dog is lost. Only include information you're comfortable being publicly visible.

  • Veterinarian info: List your vet's name, phone number, and address. This allows your vet to be contacted if your dog needs medical attention.

  • Microchip number: If your dog is microchipped, add the microchip ID number to the tag. Shelters and vets will scan for a microchip if your dog is found.

  • License number: In many areas, registering your dog and putting the license number on their tag is required by law.

  • Additional text: You can add short messages like "Reward if found" or "I'm friendly".

Including Key Information

When personalizing your dog's tag, focus on highlighting essential info needed to get your lost pup home. Prioritize your name, phone number, address, and dog's name. Additional info like vet details, license number, and microchip ID can be included in a smaller font. Only include text that is directly relevant and avoid cluttering the tag.

Additional Options

Beyond just text, some customization options include:

  • Photos: Many tag manufacturers allow you to add a photo of your dog to make them more easily identifiable. This could be their headshot or a photo of you with your dog.

  • Logos and symbols: You can add your own artwork, logos, paw prints, or symbols that represent your dog's personality. However, keep designs simple and bold.

  • Color: Pick colored plastic or enamel that matches your dog's look or personality. Vibrant colors are easiest to spot if your dog gets lost.

  • Shape: Choose a fun tag shape like a bone or fire hydrant instead of just a rectangle. Shapes can also indicate important info (ex. a heart shape for dogs with medical conditions).

No matter how you customize your plastic dog ID tag, the goal is creating something that clearly conveys your dog's identity and your contact information at a glance. Prioritize essential details and visuals to get your furry friend home safe.

Attachments

Dog tags are designed to be convenient and easy for dog owners to attach to their pets. There are some common types of attachments used on plastic dog ID tags that allow the tag to be securely fastened and visible.

Ring Loops

One of the most popular attachment methods is a ring loop or D-ring that is molded directly into the tag. This loop allows a standard keychain ring to thread through and connect the tag to a collar. Ring loops come in various sizes to accommodate different widths of rings and chains. They provide a simple but secure way to attach the tag.

Keyring Holes

Some plastic dog tags have a pre-drilled hole located at the top of the tag, similar to a keyring. An owner can thread a standard split keyring through this hole to easily attach the tag to a collar. This is another common, no-fuss way to connect the ID tag. The size of the drilled hole may vary to fit different keyring widths.

Chains

Rather than attaching to the pet's collar, some plastic dog tags come with their own metal ball chain. The chain may be attached through a hole in the tag or connect to an embedded ring. Chain lengths vary and allow the tag to either hang loose or be secured tightly to the collar. Chains offer a more visible and prominent display of the ID tag. Some may include clasps or clips to remove and reattach the chain as needed.

Visibility

To ensure your dog's ID tag can be easily seen day or night, there are a few features to look for when selecting a plastic ID tag.

Reflective materials are a great option to increase visibility. Many plastic dog tags come with a reflective strip or printing to make them shine brightly when light hits them. This helps the tag be noticed from further away and makes it easy to spot your dog even in low light conditions.

Glow in the dark plastic is another excellent visibility feature. Tags made of photoluminescent plastic absorb light during the daytime and then glow brightly in the dark. This helps your dog be seen at night when visibility is low. Glow in the dark plastic dog tags are a smart choice if you walk your dog after sunset or in unlit areas.

The shape and size of the plastic tag can also impact visibility. Larger tags are naturally easier to see from a distance. A tag with a unique or irregular shape can also stand out more compared to a standard round or bone-shaped tag. Consider a large or uniquely shaped plastic ID tag to maximize visibility.

No matter what style you choose, make sure the text engraved or printed on the tag is large enough to read from several feet away. Bold, clearly defined letters and numbers will ensure your contact information is visible at a glance.

With the right reflective, glow-in-the-dark, or simply large and boldly printed plastic dog ID tag, you can ensure your pup's identification is visible even in low light. Keeping their tag noticeable will make it easy for anyone who finds your wandering dog to contact you.

Cost

The cost of plastic dog ID tags can vary widely depending on the materials, customization options, and where you purchase them. Here are some factors that affect the price:

  • Materials - Basic plastic tags are the most affordable, while engraved metal, smart tags with QR codes, and tags with added rhinestones or glitter can add to the cost.

  • Customization - The more personalized you get with shapes, engraved names, etc., the more it will cost. Basic name and phone number tags start under $10, while premium custom tags can be $25+.

  • Retailer - Buying from big box stores is often cheaper than boutique shops or sites catering to pet owners. Discount retailers like Walmart sell basic tags for under $5.

  • Quantity - Ordering in bulk brings the per tag cost down. Single tags range $5-15, but bundles of 4-6 tags may average only $3-5 per tag.

Budget: For those who just need basic contact info on a tag, inexpensive and simple plastic or aluminum tags from big retailers for under $10 are perfect. These have basic engraving or printing.

Mid-Range: For more customization like shape, color, and engraving font, expect to spend $15-25 per tag if buying individually. These are usually purchased from pet stores or specialty sites.

Premium: Highly personalized shapes, designs, and materials like stainless steel or smart tag technology can cost $25-50+ per tag from luxury pet brands and specialty engraving shops.

So while basic ID tags are quite affordable, pet owners can spend over $50 for premium versions. Assess your needs and budget to find the right balance of price, customization, and durability when choosing plastic dog ID tags.

There are many reputable brands that make quality plastic dog ID tags. Here is an overview of some of the top options:

GoTags

GoTags is one of the most popular plastic dog tag brands. They are known for their durability, variety of shapes/sizes, and customization options. Their Deluxe and DuraChrome plastic tags are high quality with engraved text that won't fade or wear off. They also offer fun tag shapes like bone, heart, circle, and more.

Boomerang Tags

Boomerang Tags offersSlide-On plastic ID tags in a wide selection of colors. Their tags come in multiple sizes and can be customized with laser engraved text and symbols. The slide-on design makes it easy to quickly attach tags to collars. They are a budget-friendly option.

TagWorks

TagWorks provides custom engraved plastic pet ID tags made in the USA. Their QualityFlex polymer material is durable, fade-resistant, and flexible. TagWorks offers popular bone and heart shaped tags, as well as round, rectangle, oval, and unique designs like tire, phone, shield, and more.

Planet Dog

Planet Dog plastic ID tags feature vivid glossy photo images that are protected by a scratch-resistant laminate. They offer durable, lightweight engraved plastic on the back. Planet Dog has a fun, unique aesthetic for pet parents who want eye-catching ID tags.

American Kennel Club (AKC)

AKC sells high-quality, customizable plastic pet ID tags made in the USA. Their engraving goes deep into the plastic for permanence. They offer polished beveled edges and come in a range of shapes/sizes including bone, heart, oval, and round. As an established dog brand, AKC tags convey pedigree/prestige.

Conclusion

Plastic dog ID tags are an essential way to provide your dog with identification should they ever get lost. When choosing a plastic dog ID tag, consider the type of plastic, engraving vs printing, shape and size, personalization options, attachments, visibility, cost, and popular brands.

The type of plastic is important when it comes to durability. PVC and ABS plastics are lightweight yet durable options suitable for dog tags. Engraved tags will last longer than printed tags. Make sure to choose a shape and size that suits your dog's collar. Consider personalizing with your dog's name, your phone number, and even vaccination information. Some tags come with metal ring or silicone strap attachments to securely fasten them. Opt for a tag color that contrasts your dog's fur for better visibility. Shop around for the best deals, with prices ranging from $5-$15 for most plastic dog tags. Some reputable brands to look into are GoTags, Tag4Pet, and Id Tag It.

When selecting a plastic dog ID tag, keep in mind key factors like durability, personalization, visibility, and cost to choose the best option for your pet. Investing in identification can provide peace of mind in case your dog ever wanders off. A high-quality plastic tag keeps your best friend safe while showing off their unique personality.

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