Dogs can’t ask for help for themselves when they get lost. That’s why it’s essential to protect your pet with an ID tag, so they will always have a way to find home.
“All pets should be wearing identification tags, even if microchipped,” says veterinarian Debbie Chew, DVM, owner of East Greenbush Animal Hospital in East Greenbush, New York. “An ID tag that attaches to the collar, flat against the collar, and collars imprinted or embroidered with your pet’s information are all options.”
We researched the best ID tags for your dog with advice from Dr. Chew, reviews, and manufacturer warranties.
GoTags Stainless Steel Pet ID Tag
Lots of space for personal information (eight lines)
Simple, clean design
Easy readability of text
Font is quite small when you use all the lines of text
Laser engraving not as permanent
These tags are made of stainless steel—which won’t rust—and they are available in two sizes. Plus you also get your choice of eight shapes, including bow ties, bones, flowers, hearts, and stars. Two-sided engraving means there’s room for up to eight lines of text, such as your name, multiple phone numbers (including your vet’s), allergies, and your address. They’re practical, serviceable, and reasonably-priced, with enough customization options that you have meaningful choices without feeling overwhelmed.
It also helps that GoTags are so widely available, including on Amazon, Chewy, and Petco retail sites. If you want a very specific design, color, or material, look elsewhere, but GoTags are easy to design, affordable, and practical.
Price at time of publish: $9
Tag Material: Stainless steel | Sizes: 1-inch, 1 ⅓- inch | Shapes: Bow tie, flower, heart, house, badge, rectangle, round, star
Best Collar Tag
Lays flat against collar
Deep, permanent engraving
Multiple sizes and fits
Durable stainless steel
Requires coordinating with your dog’s collar
Can’t display info on two sides
Collar tags fit around your dog’s collar instead of dangling from it, which keeps them laying flat against the collar strap. This has several advantages over a standard ID tag, since they won’t dangle into a water bowl or get caught. Since they lay flat against your dog’s collar, collar tags are also completely quiet.
Boomerang CollarTags not only makes our favorite collar tag, but they invented the format. Unlike many engraved dog ID tags, Boomerang uses diamond engraving instead of laser engraving, which makes for a deeper and more permanent cut (lasers typically engrave to a depth of less than .0005 inches, which means that the lettering can wear down over time). Boomerang provides six lines of text for engraving, or four lines for the mini version of the CollarTag.
CollarTags are slightly curved, to fit the curvature of your dog’s neck, and have slots—similar to a belt buckle—that allow you to slide it over your dog’s collar. Picking the right collar tag for your dog’s existing collar requires a little research in advance, since there are specific tags depending on the collar width, plus tags for thick leather collars and adjustable collars. Each collar tag is available in four different sizes. Or you can just opt for a combo buy, since Boomerang offers combo packages with a tag and a compatible collar.
Price at time of publish: $12
Tag Material: Stainless steel | Sizes: Mini, small, medium, large
Providence Engraving Pet ID Tags
Front and back engraving available
Easy online customization
Limited number of styles
Aluminum subject to bending
These engraved ID tags are made from flimsier aluminum instead of stainless steel, but the Providence Engraving tags make up for it with their incredible price. Plus, they’re available in eight shapes and nine different color options, for a surprising variety of possible customizations.
Providence Engraving Pet ID Tags are easy to get engraved with your dog’s info—there’s a customization form built right into the Amazon page!—and can be engraved on both the front and back, for a total of eight lines of data.
Price at time of publish: $4
Tag Material: Aluminum | Size: 1.25 inch (large), 1 inch (small) | Shapes: Bone, circle, GI tag, paw, heart, cat face, star, hydrant Colors: Blue, red, pink, black, silver, purple, orange, green, gold
Best Non-Profit Supporting
Friends of Morris Animal Foundation Paw Jewelry Tag
Donates a percentage of each sale to an non-profit animal health organization
11 colors and two sizes
Optional “Owner Alert” network
Can only be engraved on one side
Only room for four lines of engraving
While we’ve chosen to highlight the enameled paw jewelry tag, the Friends of Morris Animal Foundation Pet Tags are available in a variety of standard designs, including metal, plastic (including glow-in-the-dark tags!), and collar tags.
The tags feel substantial, and they come in sizes ranging from dime-sized for tiny toy dogs to 1 3/16-inch diameter for larger dogs. The enameled designs with engraved ID information hold up well without chipping or fading, and the tags come with a lifetime warranty.
As the name might suggest, sales of these tags support the efforts of the Morris Animal Foundation, a non-profit veterinary organization founded in 1948, which funds veterinary research to advance animal care, including canine cancer research. A dollar is donated to the Foundation for each tag sold.
Friends of Morris Animal Foundation also offers a unique add-on service to your ID tag purchase with their Owner Alert program. For an extra ten dollars, your tag will be engraved with a 24-hour, toll-free number. If your dog is lost and you can’t be reached at your personal number, then they can still get in touch with someone via the Owner Alert service.
Price at time of publish: $11
Tag Material: Enameled metal | Sizes: 1 inch, 1.1875 inch | Colors: Red, blue, purple, pink, black, green, yellow, mint, lime green, sky blue, white
Best ID Collar
Buttonsmith Custom Dog Collar
Many different design choices
Quick-release, high-durability clasp
Print large enough to read easily
Price includes personalization
Union made in the United States
Only has room for your pet’s name and phone number
Brief warranty period
ID collars provide an alternative to a tag by printing your dog’s vital information directly on the collar itself. Our favorite is the Buttonsmith Custom Dog Collar.
Buttonsmith collars come in an array of colors, including solids and fun prints such as florals, leaves, dots, patriotic prints, sporty stripes, pine trees, and artsy designs like Van Gogh’s irises. You can also choose between ten fonts and 12 text colors. The print is then bonded to the polyester webbing so it won’t fray like embroidery. You can customize the wraparound text on the collar up to 30 characters, which is enough room for a name and a phone number at least.
In addition to the dizzying array of design and color options, Buttonsmith collars incorporate Duraflex buckles, which are made of super-tough acetal plastic, and aren’t subject to rust like metal buckles.
Buttonsmith Custom Dog Collars are union-made in the United States and available in six different sizes.
Price at time of publish: $20
Collar Materials: Polyester, acetal, metal | Sizes: Many sizes available | Font Colors: White, black, blue, brown, green, hi-viz yellow, orange, pink, red, sand, silver, yellow
QALO TraQ Silicone Dog ID Tag
Silicone tag doesn’t jangle
Uses familiar Tile app
Waterproof up to one hour
Can use Tile network for expanded tracking
Limited range on tracking
Battery is non-replaceable
Silicone dog tags are waterproof, flexible, and silent. QALO’s TraQ Silicone Dog ID Tag takes the format to the next level by incorporating Tile Bluetooth tracking. Tile is a well-established tracking device that’s typically used to hang from your car keys and other easy-to-use items—similar to an Apple AirTag. If the lost item is in range of your Bluetooth connection (or any other Bluetooth connection in the Tile network), you’ll be able to find its location on a map. This gives it a standard working range of about 200 feet from your device. It’s also nice that it uses an existing app ecosystem, rather than requiring yet another proprietary piece of software to operate.
TraQ tags are available in eight different patterns and solid colors. Each tag is approximately 2.5 inches long and wide, making them a little too big for small dogs. There are also non-tracking versions of QALO’s silicone dog ID tags available.
Price at time of publish: $50
Tag Material: Silicone | Size: 2.5 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches
Best AirTag Holder
ElevationLab TagVault Pet AirTag Dog Collar
Makes Apple AirTags waterproof and durable
Fits almost any collar
Uses tiny screws, making it a little tricky to affix
Too bulky for very small dogs
Apple’s AirTags are some of our favorite dog tracking devices, since you can find an AirTag’s location—using the Find My app—with either your own device or via proximity to any other iPhone or iPad on the Find My network. In cities, where you’re surrounded by iPhones all the time, an AirTag can perform even better than GPS. However, AirTags are only water resistant, and not really designed for the rigors of a dog’s life.
Enter ElevationLab’s TagVault Pet, a waterproof and armored enclosure for attaching AirTags to any dog collar. The TagVault Pet will fit any collar up to a thickness of 0.2 inches. The TagVault uses custom “self-tapping” screws, and comes with a little tool you use to mount it on your dog’s collar. Despite the robust protection it offers, the TagVault has thoughtful design elements that still let you access AirTag features, including the ability to hear the AirTag chime. There’s also a second set of screws on the front of the TagVault which lets you change the AirTag battery without having to fully remove the mount.
Price at time of publish: $20
Tag Material: Stainless steel, composite
TagsForHope Drivers License Pet ID Tag
Room for a lot of information
Available in three sizes
Get any state ID, and many countries too
Purchase supports animal non-profits
Tags are bulky and dangle
These novelty tags mimic state drivers licenses, and can hold way more information than your typical ID tag, including a photo of your pet, date of birth, breed, gender, eye color, special traits, and all the standard information you’d expect to find on an ID tag.
Not only is there a design available for every state (some states have multiple design options), but there are also versions of the ID mimicking a wide range of identification cards from around the world. There’s also an FBI (Federal Barking Investigation) version of the tag, but you probably shouldn’t give your dog that much authority without careful consideration.
Made from a combination of aluminum and polycarbonate, the Drivers License ID Tags are lightweight and waterproof, with three different sizes to choose between. TagsForHope also offers a lifetime warranty, and will replace your tag for any reason—all you need to pay is a shipping and fulfillment fee.
Manufacturer TagsForHope is also deeply involved in charitable work, offering grants to animal shelters and supporting non-profit rescues through nearly 500 partner programs.
Price at time of publish: $32
Tag Material: Aluminum, polycarbonate | Size: 1.2 x 1.6 inches (small), 1.5 x 1.9 inches (regular), 1.7 x 2.2 inches (jumbo) | Colors: Red, blue, purple, pink, black, green, yellow, mint, lime green, sky blue, white
Murphy and Max Custom Pet ID Tag
Dizzying array of materials and designs
Tags shaped like your state
Elegant font option, icon images
Limited room for text
Your pup has a unique personality that deserves a completely customizable dog ID tag to match. When you order a Murphy and Max dog tag, you can choose from eight different shapes or opt to have it created in the shape or your state or pay a little more to have it in a customized shape just for your pup.
The tags come in nine different metal types, including basic aluminum and stainless steel to nothing-too-good-for-your-pup 14K rose or yellow gold. Add on one of 75 images (think: camera, four-leaf clover, or smiley face) before finishing it off with a line of hand-stamped text on each side. The customization options are dizzying, but you're limited in how much data a tag can carry, with room for a name on one side and a phone number on the other.
Price at time of publish: $11 (copper)
Materials: Copper, brass, aluminum, nickel, stainless steel, sterling silver, 14K rose gold, 14K gold, nu gold | Designs: More than 60, including geometric shapes, all 50 states, and fully customized designs
Our favorite dog ID tag is the GoTag Stainless Steel Dog Tag, which is easy to customize online, comes in a wide range of options, and is made of durable stainless steel. If you’re sick of the dangling and the jangling, check out Boomerang CollarTags, which fit flush against your dog’s collar and features extra-durable diamond engraving.
What to Look for in a Dog ID Tag
Your dog’s ID tag should be large enough to show your pet’s name and phone number. If possible, an address should also be displayed because most dogs are lost close to home, says Dr. Chew. The size should also be proportional to your pet: Toy dogs should have tags an inch or less in size, while larger dogs can wear a tag that’s 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches or so.
ID tags typically are made of metal or plastic; both have pros and cons. Metal, such as stainless or aluminum, is typically more durable and less likely to break off than plastic, but it also has a tendency to jingle and make more noise up against other tags. In addition, both print and engraving can wear off over time on either type of material, so check tags frequently to make sure they’re still in good shape.
If the print is too tiny or fancy, it’s tough to read. Opt for the largest font size possible on a tag so it can be read quickly and easily, and stick with block typefaces, not script, which is sometimes difficult to interpret.
Some collar tags come with scannable QR codes, which makes it easy to get all the owner info at a glance. However, there’s no way of knowing if the person who finds your dog will know what to do with it (remember, people have varying levels of tech-savviness), and cell service might be limited if you’re on a camping trip, for example. Technology is great for enhancing your dog’s protection, but old-school still wins when it comes to being able to get owner information from your dog’s ID tags at a glance.
Do dogs need ID tags?
Absolutely! “This is the first thing an animal control officer or person who has found your lost pet will look for to find an owner,” veterinarian Debbie Chew, DVM, told The Spruce Pets. “Microchips are helpful, but only shelters and animal hospitals have scanners, and oftentimes, they don’t scan easily, information isn’t updated, or the animal may make it difficult to wave the scanner over them when they’re scared.”
What information should I put on my dog’s ID tag?
Your dog’s ID tag should have his or her name and a phone number in large print. If there’s room, an address is also helpful because most pets are lost close to home. “It’s also important to make sure the information is current because I’ve often been called into the office to check on a lost pet because they have on one of our rabies tags but no ID,” says Dr. Chew.
How do I attach an ID tag to my dog’s collar?
The metal key ring-type loops are okay to attach to the collar, but there are risks. “These loops can tangle in the long hair of some dogs, and toes and toenails can be lodged in the ring as well,” says Dr. Chew. “I prefer flat tags that attach to the collar, which decrease risk of getting caught on something. For example, tags can become lodged between the bars of the kennel or grates on the bottom of the kennel. The same risk occurs with dogs crated at home.”
Does my pet really need a microchip if he or she wears ID tags?
Yes! Microchips and ID tags work together to protect your dog and bring your fur baby safely home to you if lost. ID tags provide instant identification, while microchips provide permanent identification if ID tags are lost. But make sure both forms of ID are updated if your phone or address changes, says Dr. Chew. If you adopt a pet with a microchip, make sure to register your own information with the manufacturer when you bring your baby home, and update it if your address or phone number changes.
If you haven’t microchipped your pet yet, don’t worry that microchipping is painful. It’s often done at the time of spay or neuter so you’re pet never feels the needle. Even if awake, the chip is the size of a grain of rice, and it’s similar to the amount of time it takes to giving a vaccine, says Dr. Chew. It’s really a moment of discomfort to make sure your fur baby is identified for life. Microchips also are required for international travel.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets
This article was written by Arricca SanSone, a lifelong dog lover who shares her home with two microchipped and ID-tag wearing papillons. She chooses collars with embroidered ID to prevent the risk of entrapment, or she removes collars before bedtime or when crating her boys if they’re wearing ID tags. She researched the market with tips from veterinarian Debbie Chew, DVM, reviews, and manufacturer warranties.