Should You Put Your Dog’s Name on Their Collar Tags?

By Laurie Darroch

The safety and security of a beloved dog is a priority for any responsible loving dog owner. Dogs are not just pets; they are family members. They have tags for three purposes. Tags are used to identify the dog and locate the owners of a dog in case they get hurt or lost, to show verification of shots and licensing, and simply as an adornment to proudly show their name. The choice of dog tag styles is varied, but should your dog’s name be included on their tags or not?

Some dog tags simply have the animal’s first name. The tag should include some form of contact with the human guardian. If you are hesitant to put your address on the tag for anyone to see, use a phone number and possibly an email address for contact purposes, but do have a tag of some kind. It is security for them and peace of mind for you. Losing an adventurous, curious or naughty dog can be heartbreaking and frightening. Searching for them can be a heart wrenching nightmare.

The issue of putting the dog’s name on the tag is something to take into consideration. It may look nice, but there are reasons to think about whether or not you want their name and yours on their tags.

Some dogs are overly comfortable with strangers. Not every stranger is a friend to your missing dog, any more than they are to a human child. If the dog’s name is on the tag, a person with nefarious intentions may coax and trap the dog using the name it is familiar with. Dogs know their names. They know who they are once they are part of your family, but they can be tricked with familiar verbal cues such as their name. You have to be their protector in the best way that works for the dog. They can’t speak up for themselves. Even a wary or smart dog can get duped by someone with expertise in luring them in.

On the converse side to that argument, the dog may only respond to a kindly stranger trying to help them if they feel comfortable or feel the person actually knows them, or is concerned for their welfare if they have gotten out of your home or yard, and are lost or injured. The sound of the stranger saying that name may break down the fear of the unknown person a bit and allow them to help your dog.

You have to make the decision as to what is more likely to occur and what you are comfortable with in regards to putting the dog’s name on their tags. Licensing numbers may be sufficient to help a rescuer find a resource to get your dog back to you once the dog is taken to an official or a shelter, until it is rescued by you.

An alternative idea for identifying your dog in a safe way might be to consider having an identity chip placed under their skin by a professional. That can only be read by officials or care providers who will actually help get your dog safely back to you.

A tag with the dog’s name on it is cute and may show pride in your dog, but it isn’t always the best choice. Keep your dog safe. Make the best decision that works for both of you.

Top photo by Tony Alter
Bottom photo by Mark Ordonez

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