Pet Identification Tags: Benefits/Dangers

Pet identification tags are worn on many pets’ collars. As I look at the 4 tags that are on my American Eskimo Gusto’s collar, I wonder if he should be wearing so many pet identification tags that serve basically the same purpose…identification.

Types of Pet Identification Tags

  • Dog’s name and phone number
  • Owner’s name, phone number and address




  • Rabies tag with ID number and with the veterinarian’s phone number
Pet Identification Tag
Rabies Tag
  • County license with ID number and a phone number to call


Pet Identification
Dog License
  • Microchip number
  • AKC Reunite Tag with Registration number, a microchip number on file and a phone number to call
Pet Identification Tag
AKC Reunite Tag

How Many Pet Identification Tags Are Necessary?

I asked a few of my dog-loving friends how many pet identification tags were on their dog’s collar. Their answers ranged from 0 to 6.  If I had every tag on one of Gusto’s collars, there would be 5 tags.

By law, a dog is required to be vaccinated for rabies so many owners put the Rabies tag on their dog’s collar.  It is an easy way to prove a dog is vaccinated if an incident occurs at a dog park or elsewhere in public. However, an owner does have 24 hours in most cases to prove that a rabies vaccination is valid and current so wearing a rabies tag on the pet’s collar is not necessary.

In Pennsylvania, you can buy a Lifetime Dog License if your dog has permanent identification in the form of a microchip or tattoo.  So theoretically, if your dog is lost and is scanned or the tattoo is visible, he is also licensed.

Most county offices have limited hours so wearing a dog license does little good if the dog is injured and ends up in a vet’s office wearing only a license.  The vet may delay treatment until the owner can be reached and in many cases, payment is agreed upon for the necessary services.


Benefits of Pet Identification Tags

  • Peace of mind for the pet parent
  • Quicker return of the wandering pet

Dangers Associated With Pet Identification Tags

  • Pets swallow tags
  • Tags with or without O rings get stuck in fences/bars of kennels
  • Tags fall off and get lost when dogs run free
  • Multiple Tags make noise as they dangle, alerting predatory animals that your pet is approaching. This can be prevented by encasing the tags in a quiet spot tag bag.
  • Multiple tags attached to collars with heavy carabiners can cause cervical subluxations resulting in neck pain and a visit to the chiropractor.
  • People who find your pet may grab at the your pet’s collar to read the tag hiding in thick fur. Your pet may fear that person and either continue to stay on the run or bite in response to being fearful.

Pet Identification Microchip May Be Best Option

Gusto is the first dog that I have had microchipped.  In the past, my holistic veterinarian was concerned about migrating microchips and sensitivity to a foreign object causing lameness in my American Eskimos.

However, since I travel to dog events with Gusto, we muscle tested him for sensitivity and agreed that

Pet Identification Tags
Home Again Microchip ID

microchipping him would be the best option for permanent identification.

I chose to use Home Again that has a one-time activation fee of $10 and a yearly fee of $14.99 for the additional benefits of being able to make a single phone call if Gusto ever got lost and having the following actions take place:

  • 24/7 Recovery Specialists issue an immediate lost pet alert to local vets, shelters and Pet Rescuers in the area where Gusto is lost
  • I can create a Lost Pet Poster on the website and start posting them immediately
  • When Gusto is found, the shelter or clinic is provided with up-to-date owner and medical information to ensure proper treatment
  • I will be contacted immediately when Gusto is found
  • I have a Pet ID Card to use in case of emergency or pet validation at kennels which has Gusto’s photo, name, breed, color, weight, age and gender as well as vaccination information on it.

Like you, I want to take advantage of all of the options for pet identification.  Since I remove Gusto’s collar and thus his pet identification tags while he is in the house, at least I can rest easy knowing that he can still be identified through his microchip in case he slips out of the house and runs down the rabbit trail on a dark, stormy night.


Come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!



P. S.  What forms of pet identification do you use for your pets?



6 Replies to “Pet Identification Tags: Benefits/Dangers”

  1. Layla wears one tag only although she is microchipped, it is from PetHub and has an online profile of hers with all emergency numbers, medical issues, etc and it cost me 10 dollars that was all. It can be scanned by a cellphone as it has a barcode. I love it. The rest of her tags LOL I keep on my key ring that way she does not jingle all the time

  2. Tags surely do fall off. I don’t even know how many our guys lost over time. They can get stuck in all kinds of places; even between deck boards. Fortunately, wearing a harness, it’s scary for the dog but they cannot really get hurt unless they freak out really badly.

    We are trying a tag carabiner now; it’s much easier to take off and put on tags and it does seem like it would be very difficult to have it accidentally pulled open.

  3. I have an ear tat. myself. Of course, it’s useless, but THAT’s kinda a good thing. You see, when I first arrived on the peeps’ doorstep, many years ago, I was TOTALLY lost. I didn’t have a collar on or anythin’, but I had a tattoo in my ear. The peeps tried to trace it. Peep #1 called every veterinarian from Halifax to Yarmouth but most didn’t tattoo, and those who did, didn’t have a record of mine. Then they looked out of province, but no luck there, either. There’s no database for those ear tattoos, you see.

    But it all worked out, really, ’cause you know what? I LOVE MY PEEPS and I wouldn’t wanna live anywhere else. That useless ear tat. was the best thing, for sure, ’cause I ended up with the best peeps ever. Even if they do sometimes try my patience, you know? purrs

  4. Both of my dogs have microchips and wear pet ID tags on their harnesses. They both came microchipped from their rescues. Tags are super important! I once found a Shiba Inu tied up outside on the street and alone. I used their tag to call the owner (turned out to be a dog sitter who left the dog alone on the streets of NYC!) I think all pets should wear them.

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