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Seven Favorite Pet ID Tags to Keep Your Pets Safe

Did you know that one in three pets will get lost at some point in their lives? Many of them never make it home. It’s National Pet ID Week! Pet ID tags can help keep your dog or cat safe and secure.

If you have a dog or cat in your home, you know how valuable pet ID tags can be as a way to keep them safe and prevent them from being lost. There are countless cat and dog ID tags on the market, some of them serving different purposes than others. You can basically break them down into four overlapping categories.

The Basic Styles of Pet ID Tags

There are two kinds of ID tags available based on what they are used for – short-range pet ID tags are meant to function as a sort of GPS system to help you keep track of your pet when you’re together. On the other hand, there are dog and cat ID tags that are designed to help others get your pets back to you know matter how far they’ve traveled – long-range pet ID tags with no distance parameters.

You can also break down the tags into two very different physical categories – classic tags that are attached to a pet’s collar and newer, electronic tags that are permanently imbedded under an animal’s skin and containing an impressive amount of information, including access to medical records.

Three Traditional Pet ID Tags

In the traditional category we discovered three traditional ID tags that are attractive, durable and affordable. These are the tags that most people still have dangling from or attached to their cats’ or dogs’ collars. They are practical and easy to attach, but if your pet slips his collar, they won’t help them get home. On the other hand, the first thing most people will do if they find a lost dog is check his collar and use the contact information on it. We like these:

1. Slide-On Pet ID Tags

These can be added to your pet’s collar, where they will lay flush against the neck. If you have a pet who doesn’t like the jangling sound of tags handing off their collar, these are the perfect style. The also won’t end up in a food bowl or water. Most of them are stainless steel and engrave, with some companies offering a lifetime guarantee. Another advantage is that you don’t have to worry about a ring wearing out or getting caught on something and injuring your pet. We like the ones at Boomerang Tags. These range in price from $9 to $15.

2. Silicone or Plastic ID Tags

Plastic or silicone tags are great for several reasons; they look great and come in a variety of bright colors, they are silent because the only metal is the ring that attaches to your pet’s collar and they are extremely durable.  The Grommet’s silicone pet ID tags at the Grommet are particularly nice because the information is engraved into the silicone, eliminating any worry the information will fade over time.  You can also fit a lot of information on these because you can use the front and back of the tag. They are soft and rubbery, which means they are comfortable for your pet.  You’ll love the variety of shapes and colors, which can coordinate beautifully with your pet’s collar.  $20.

3. Driver’s License ID Tags

dog drivers license tag

The Driver’s Licences Pet ID tag carries lots of information on a small tag

We love the driver’s license-style pet tags because they aren’t just cute as can be – their whimsical design also allows you to put a lot of information on the tag. If your cat or dog gets lost, the information on a driver’s license ID tag could mean you’ll get your pet back safely. These look just like real drivers’ licenses from the various states and include a photo of your pet. If you order drivers’ license ID tags from My Pet DMV, a full size “license” will be included for you to keep in your wallet so that if your pet does get lost, you’ll have a great photo and information to show others while you’re looking.  $20.

(The folks at My Pet DMV are graciously offering a discount to anyone ordering from their website (mypetdmv.com) after reading this article. Just type in the discount code “lovepets” to get 25% off your entire order!)


Three Electronic Pet ID Tags

While traditional tags are still popular, more pet owners every year invest in some kind of embedded or electronic ID tags for their pets. These are much more expensive, but many pet owners wouldn’t use anything else.

 1. SmartTag Microchip ID

This is one of the high-end microchip brands that are placed underneath a dog’s or cat’s skin, so you don’t ever have to worry about a lost collar or replacing a worn-out out one. The information on the microchip can be read by any veterinarian or animal clinic that has a chip reader. They are a distinct advantage because you can always log in and update the information stored on the chip by using any computer. Many veterinarians recommend the SmartTag Microchip ID, particularly if your dog or cat is in the habit of wandering off or running away.  It stores an impressive amount of information about our pet, including a photo, medical information and more. If your pet goes farther than it should, it will even send your pet’s information to veterinarians’ offices and pet care locations automatically so that they can be on the lookout for your pet. The downside of microchipping is that it is more expensive and it must be installed by a veterinarian or other trained animal care specialist.  $200 and up

2. PetLink Microchips

46092590 - veterinarian identify cat by microchip implant

Veterinarians can easily scan a pet ID microchip embedded in a lost pet to get the owners’ information.

These microchips can only be purchased through a licensed veterinary professional, but with the implantation you also get lifetime registration of your pet, including free updates whenever your pet’s information changes. You can, however, go to the PetLink website and order either a pet ID tag or collar that will alert people to the fact that your pet is microchipped and indicate his or her microchip number so that tracking is easy. You’ll need to consult with a veterinarian who implants the microchips for a price.

3. Loc8tor GPS System

The Loc8tor is a GPS tracking system built into a simple tag to be worn on your dog’s or cat’s collar. Rather than a way to track down a pet that could be lost far away, Loc8Tor is a way to keep track of your pet close to your home or wherever you happen to be with them. The GPS system sends a constant signal to your smart phone so that you can pinpoint exactly where they are in relation to you at all times.

There are different systems for cats and dogs. The cat Loc8tor features pinpoint directional technology so that you can find your pet even if he’s in hiding. There’s a 400 yard range with the Loc8tor for cats. For dogs, the Loc8tor is accurate within 16 feet of a dog’s location and immediately alerts you if your dog wanders too far (a distance determined and programmed by you) or leaves your yard. In both the cat and dog versions of the Loc8tor GPS system, the tag on your pet will begin to blink with a bright red light so that you can easily see them even when it is dark outside.  $90 to $240 depending on package; $30/month for GPS subscription

One Hybrid Pet ID Tag – Dynotag QR

Purple dog ID tag in woman's hand

The Dynotag for pets can be read by any QR code reader.

The Dynotag QR combines the simplicity of attaching a tag to your pet’s collar with a system that allows for a lot of information in a small space. It’s non-invasive and not at all expensive. The Dynotag QR features a tag that has the address to the Dynotag database as well as a QR code that can easily be scanned for your pet’s information. Registration in the database is free. The coated tag is made of stainless steel and comes in a variety of styles and colors. It’s an excellent choice if you want to make sure your pet is found and returned to you but you don’t want to install an expensive microchip. The drawback? If the collar is lost, so is the Dynotag.  $17 to $25 depending on style and size.

If you haven’t yet purchased any kind of pet ID tag for your animal companions, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. It takes only a moment for a pet to run away or get lost, but without the proper ID, they could disappear for a lifetime.

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