7 Dog ID Tag Options With Pros & Cons of Each

From fashion-forward to fully functional, these dog ID tag options have something for every pup's lifestyle.

Updated February 6, 2024
Silver Labrador Retriever puppy with tag

Dog tags might not seem like a sexy subject to dog owners, but they're a crucial accessory for your dog. If your dog ever becomes lost, a tag can make the difference between being reunited with your best friend and losing them entirely. Learn about the types of dog ID tags so you can select the best one for your pup. 

Related: Funny Dog Tags to Fit Your Dog's Spunky Personality

1. Metal Dog Tags

The cheapest and easiest dog tag option is a metal tag. Most large pet stores like PetSmart and Petco, as well as many smaller independent shops, have tag kiosks in their stores. You can purchase a tag and then use a code provided to you on your receipt to activate the kiosk. Simply type your information in and have the tags engraved while you wait a few minutes.

Helpful Hack

According to Morgan Weber, founder of pet-sitting company Lucky Pup Adventures, "It is smart to consider your dog's activity level and play style when choosing the type of tag for your dog's collar."

Personalized Bone Dog Tag ID for Collar with Stamped Front Name


  • These tags are a good option because they're quick and easy to make.
  • Metal tags come in many different sizes, colors, and shapes, such as bones, hydrants, circles, and hearts.
  • Some styles even come with bling on them, like tiny rhinestones. 


  • The downside to metal tags is that there usually is not a wide selection if you want something truly standout for your dog.
  • Depending on the type of metal, these tags may not last as long and can break. Aluminum is the weakest option, whereas stainless steel or brass last longer.
  • You may not have as much room on these tags as you like to include all your desired information, although you can always buy two tags for your dog's collar to fit everything in.
  • Some dog owners do not like the jangling sound these tags make, as they can be noisy when your dog is running about (or shaking their head at 3am).
Quick Tip

One way to handle the noise of metal tags is to get a pet tag silencer, which is a small bag that holds your tags together so they don't make noise.

2. Slide-On Tags

If you don't like the idea of loose tags making noise as they hang from your dog's collar, a slide-on tag is a good option. Slide-on tags are flat metal strips that you run a collar through so they sit neatly on top of the collar. Rivet tags are similar in design but are attached with rivets rather than holes for the collar to slide through.

Helpful Hack

"If a dog wears a collar throughout the day, it is a good idea to look into an identification tag that slips flat onto their collar," notes Webber. "This will help prevent the tags from getting caught on kennels, furniture, or other household hazards."

Custom Silent dog tag Collar,Slide on dog name tag,Dog Tags for Dog


  • Slide-on tags are much quieter than hanging metal tags. 
  • These tags can be inexpensive.
  • They work well for dogs that engage in a lot of heavy activity where the tags may get pulled off and broken, such as running through the woods hunting, splashing about in a lake, or competition dogs need to focus.
  • They look sleek and attractive. 


  • They usually require you to order them online or via the mail, so they're not a good choice if you need a tag right away.
  • Slide-on dog tags don't work with all collar types. 

3. Digital Dog Tags

Just like everything else, dog identification has gone digital, too! An example is the PetHub tag, which is worn on a dog's collar, just like a metal tag, but can include much more information that is accessed via a QR code on the tag. Any smartphone can read this QR code and get detailed information on your dog, including names, numbers, medical info, and whatever else you would like to include about your dog.


  • It's the most visible way to include a lot of information on your dog's ID.
  • The tags come in many colors and shapes, so you have the option of not only having a very effective tag but a stylish one as well.
  • Instead of getting a new tag anytime you change your number or move, you just need to update your contact information on the site.
  • Some manufacturers like PetHub also include a subscription recovery service you can pay extra for that sends out alerts to shelters and vets if your pet is reported lost.


  • As with the slide-on tags, these tags usually need to be ordered online and take time to arrive, so you should have a backup plan in place until you receive the tags.
  • While most people are comfortable with QR codes these days, not everyone is.

Related: Lost & Found: What to Do If You Find a Lost Dog

4. Tube Tags

Tube dog ID tags are an interesting concept that works well for people who want to include a lot of information on their dog's tag. It is basically a small tube that can be opened and information placed inside on a small, rolled-up slip of paper.

Dog tube tag


  • This is a nice option for people who have a dog with medical issues that they want to include, or if you're traveling, you might want to include information on their veterinarian, current shots, country of origin, and more.
  • These tags can be one of the lowest-cost options.


  • One downside is that they're made of aluminum, so if you have an active dog, there's a chance of them breaking and falling off.
  • Although the tube is sealed, if your dog gets wet, there's a chance that it may not be 100% waterproof, and the written information inside could get damaged.

5. License Tags

License tags are exactly what they sound like. These dog ID tags look like a driver's license and are made of sturdy, quiet plastic. These are another option that can work well for any dog, but especially ones that are traveling with their owners.

pet's tag license


  • They can include more information on them, and their bright colors stand out, making them easy to see if your dog gets lost.
  • Although you need to order these online, they can be printed in 24 hours and shipped.
  • They look like your dog has their own little driver's license with a photo ID, which is absolutely adorable. 


  • These tags tend to be more expensive than other tags.
  • They're usually a lot larger and bulkier than other dog ID tag options. 

6. Embroidered Collars

If you have an active dog and worry about the tags falling off, another nice option is to get a collar that has the tag information embroidered into it or embossed on a buckle that's part of the collar. An example of an embroidered collar is from GoTags, who will put your dog's name and your phone number in brightly colored, large embroidered letters and numbers on the collar. It's information that's definitely going to be hard to miss!

Microchip Dog Tag for Collar Silent Round with Number Personalized


  • One benefit of these collars is if you have a shy dog that a rescuer can't get close enough to grab, they can still see the dog's name and your number and can call you to let you know where your dog is.
  • Embroidered tags tend to be really durable. 
  • They're completely noise-free because there aren't any hanging tags.
  • You can customize them however you like. 


  • These collars do need to be ordered and take some time to get to you so you'll need to have some ID for your dog in the meantime.
  • They can't have too much info.
  • They're not as customizable.
Quick Tip

If the slide-on dog tag and the embroidered collar had a baby, it would be the buckle tag collar. Unlike the embroidered collar, the buckle tag collar has the information traditionally found on an ID tag engraved onto the buckle. This means it's a permanent part of the collar, so there's much less risk of the tags flying off or breaking.

Related: 6 Actionable Ways to Find Your Lost Pet

7. Fashionable ID Tags

If you want something truly out of the ordinary, don't feel like you have to settle for the run of the mill dog tags with hearts and bones. You can find artisanal dog tags on Etsy that feature unique shapes, designs, colors, and materials. Hand stamped tags with designs are popular on copper, brass, and steel.

You can also find tags with unusual shapes, such as a stamped copper bar that can list contact information on all four sides. Don't feel stuck using tried and true designs if you want to express your personality or your dog's personality while keeping them safe. 

Information Every Dog Tag Needs

At a minimum, your dog tags should include the following information:

  • Your dog's name.
  • Your phone number (ideally, two numbers if you have an alternate and there's room). Make sure you include your area code with your number.

Additional Helpful Info

After this, the information you choose to include can vary and will depend on how much room there is on the tag. Some helpful items to include could be:

  • Your home address with street and city, or just the city if you're not comfortable placing your detailed street information
  • A message such as "I'm microchipped!" or "I have diabetes" or "I'm deaf!" These types of messages can give the person who finds your dog valuable information to help them care for your dog until you are reunited.
  • You might even want to make a second tag that includes the name of your microchip company, their phone number, and your dog's microchip ID number.
  • Your name, if you're comfortable having it on the tag
  • Some dog owners include information about a reward to incentivize people to reunite them with their dog.
  • Another option, if there's room, is to include a personal message such as "Please call my mother, she'll be so worried!" This can help humanize you to the person who found your dog and encourage them to contact you.

Should Dog ID Tags Include Your Dog's Name?

Some dog owners believe you shouldn't put your dog's name on the tag, as this means any random stranger can learn your dog's name and get them to come with them, even if they may have bad intentions in mind for your dog.

On the other hand, if your dog is frightened and stressed, which is likely, having a stranger say their name can make them feel better hearing something familiar. It can also help the kind-hearted stranger to get your dog to come to them if your dog is shyer and anxious. Ultimately, the decision to include their name is up to you.

Microchipping and Dog Tags

Microchipping is an excellent compliment to an ID tag. Ideally, every dog should have one. Just know that having a microchip doesn't negate the need to have a tag as well.

Microchip pet implant
  • Not everyone who finds your dog will be a "dog person" and aware that microchips exist.
  • They may also not be near a shelter or vet where they can get the chip scanned.
  • If your dog wandered off a few streets away from you and is found, having a tag that can be quickly read can get your dog back to you faster. Says Weber, "Microchips can only be read by a special machine. If your dog gets out and a passerby finds them, they will be happy to have your phone number on that collar. It can make the difference between finding a lost pet within minutes and within days."
  • If you've moved, it is not unusual for dog owners to forget to update their microchip information, unlike with dog tags that are visible to you every day.
Quick Tip

If your dog slips out of their collar while lost, having them microchipped can help you become reunited. 

Make Sure Your Dog Wears ID Tags

The ASPCA reports that the return-to-owner rate for lost dogs is as low as 10 to 30 percent in many communities! Having your dog wear ID tags can significantly increase your chances of your pet coming home and staying safe. There are so many tag options to choose from that you should be able to find one that works well for you and your pet. Just make sure you keep them up to date and check them regularly for wear and tear.

7 Dog ID Tag Options With Pros & Cons of Each