Are dog identity tags compulsory?

Naughty Rin Tin Tin
Don’t be a Rin Tin Tin, wear your ID collar!!

During our walks with my Indy we have recently come across quite a few owners who kept their dogs on harness with no collar. No harm done there, if it weren’t for the fact that the dogs did not have an identity tag on the harness.  The owners kept telling us their dogs could not bear anything around their neck since pups, and their handler have never managed to train them to have a collar.


Your dog must wear an ID tag

At least in UK and in the States it is compulsory by law that your dog wear an identity tag whenever in public places.  In UK under the Control of Dogs Act 1992, any dog in public place must wear an ID tag on their collar showing name, address inclusive of postcode and possibly (but optional information) telephone number of their owners.  This law has been created specifically to combat pet theft, or more simply to enable a dog that may have got lost and found to be successfully returned to his/her owner.

You might be thinking your right to privacy is not preserved.  But as a responsible dog owner, I believe it is your duty to preserve the safety of your dog before your own privacy – you would give your personal details when it comes to your child, so you should equally be prepared to release information about yourself if it is to do with the security of your dog.  For this very same reason, the UK has recently introduced also to the compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs by the age of 8 weeks.


Some of Indy's collars

My dog does not like collars

Unfortunately wearing a collar should become part of the training plan for your dog.  I can’t advise much about getting your dog used to wearing a collar, other than with the use of treats, perseverance and patience.  My Indy has never had problems wearing a collar, nor has ever bothered him the fact that sometimes the actual tags can become noisy as your dog walks or run, as they tinkle.

I expect it is equally acceptable for your dog to wear his/her ID tag on their harness, so long as the harness is not removed during their walks.  But I have actually found on the market army ‘dog’ tags which are a little dearer than the regular ID tags for canine, but can of course be engraved with your personal details and can be transferred from one collar to another, if like me you are in the habit of swapping and changing collars on your dog regularly.  At least in UK, the compulsory micro-chipping does not replace the need to wear the ID tag, I am afraid – in fact dog owners will be fined if their dogs are found not micro-chipped and not wearing an ID collar.




    1. // Reply

      I know, some dogs just don’t like having collars around their neck. But it’s a must, I’m afraid. We are lucky our Indy is not bothered at all about collars, and the types – as you can see, he’s got a collection (!!!). But then again, that is little surprised, given the extremely lay back attitude of my Border ??

  1. // Reply

    Hi Giulia, I think it’s a very good idea to ID tags for dogs and I’m glad that it is mandatory in the UK and United States. When I returned from the service, my father let my dog off the leash so he could run around. He had a collar but no ID tag, I never saw him again. Maybe if he had and ID tag he wouldn’t have disappeared.

    1. // Reply

      Hi Stuart, and I’m ever so sorry that you had to go through the loss of your dog in such a tragic way. I’m sure your dad meant no harm at all, and on the other hand unfortunately in this world there are a to of not very nice people, who make an illegal trade of dogs for whichever purpose. It is deemed that an ID tagged collar can be removed, unlike the micro-chipping. But then again, you are right when you think that if dogs do not hand up in wrong hand but they are found, with a collar the person rescuing them can access the rightful owner’s details. I’m sure it’s the same in the States, but here in UK local councils have a Community service where you can contact rangers if you find a dog and they would take the dog from you and work with national databases to track down the lost dog owner. But the whole system is not and will never be foul-proof, and it does bowl down to owners B having to be extra vigilant all the time.
      Thanks Stuart for going through my post, it was really much appreciated. Giulia ☺️☺️

  2. // Reply

    Hi Giulia

    Thanks for giving me information about your dog Indy. I want to get a dog myself in the future, hopefully this year.
    I agree with you. Dogs should wear collars and ID’s around their neck. If my dog was lost, I think it would be much easier for me to get my dog back when wearing ID. Also when I see dogs without a collar I always wonder if the dog belongs to someone or if it’s a dog without a owner. I can also get a bit scared when I see strange dogs just running in parks coming towards me, especially when it comes to big dogs.
    This topic influence everyone your dog meets outside, so it’s not a privacy matter.

    1. // Reply

      Hi Tove, and thanks for going through my website. And yes, you find me in agreement with you fully. It is not only for the sake of returning a dog to their rightful owner that it is important to equip your dog with an ID tagged collar, but also for the sake of passers-by. I myself have found myself being approached by collar-less dogs, luckily not vicious, but where I have started looking around to see if the dog was accompanied and then I have tried to grab him to take him/her home in order to then phone the Rangers, but then I would have nothing to grab him/her by! With an ID collar, in such circumstances, all you have to do is pick up the phone and contact the dog owner as per details on their tag. It couldn’t be easier! ?? Giulia

  3. // Reply

    Hi Giulia I really like your site and your clear love of dogs.

    All dogs should have an ID collar, it helps to show that the owners are responsible and that the animal is clearly looked after and well thought of. I am so pleased that micro-chipping has become compulsory in the UK, there are just so many people who should be locked up for neglecting their animals but can never be found because of the lack of micro-chip. Hpefully this new rule will combat some of the problems.

    1. // Reply

      I couldn’t agree more Dawn. In fact, I get a little cross at finding out how many dog owners are complying now that micro-chipping has become mandatory and many dog charities and local authorities offer the service free of charge, but never before when having your dog micro-chipped was never an outrageous expense after all. But hey, I suppose if the free service grant more dogs chipped, then it will all be good in the end.
      Thanks for your comment ??

  4. // Reply

    Hi Giulia,
    My family adopted our dog from the local shelter. Since we brought her home, she has always worn a collar with an ID tag. When we walk her, it’s always with a harness – as a bouncy, wandering puppy, we found that it was easier to control her behavior with a harness but we always keep her collar and ID on her.
    The animal shelter from which we got her had implemented RF identification when she was a puppy. That too was beneficial to her safety. Every now and then, she finds a way to sneak out of the yard and A couple of times, somehow, she had gotten the collar off. Fortunately, the RF identification was used when she was found wandering the streets and she was quickly brought back home.

    1. // Reply

      Wow Dave, that must have been scary! But yes, you are right, it goes to prove that not only micro-chipping helps to prevent dog thefts, but, along with ID tagged collars, it can help in re-joining the lost dog to his/her rightful owners.
      We were lucky our Indy has never made attempts to escape. We were concerned he might try when we moved more to the country last year, but he is far too layback, and although he now enjoys his adventurous walks far more, he also loves his snoozes too much to bother trying to escape. I’m sure your pup will cool down her youthful exuberance and will stop trying to explore the big wild world on her own. Thank you for reading through my blog. Giulia ☺️

  5. // Reply

    Dear Giulia,
    What beautiful piece of information is packed in your website. A definite visit by all dog lovers.
    I must congratulate you for such value to all dog owners. Keep up the good work.

    1. // Reply

      Thank you ever so much for your kind words Lanu. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but just to share my wonderful experience as a dog owner of my lovely Border with others. I hope I will achieve this in a fun and informative way to my visitors. Thank you again and much love. Giulia ❤️❤️

  6. // Reply

    ID Tags should be a must in every country. I found a lost dog in Charlotte, NC, USA. The pup had an ID tag on and I called his owner. Saved the dog trauma of going to the pound and having his chip researched.

    1. // Reply

      That is such a lovely story Donna, and you are right, you did spare him the additional distress after he had already lost his way. We rescued a Staffie some few years ago, it was on New Year Day, the dog was not wearing anything and of course we did not know whether she was chipped. And because of the holiday, it took us literally from 6am when we found her, till 4pm to finally find a re-homing centre that was prepared to have her. That centre was the renowned Battersea Dog Home, who actually found ‘Tilly’ (that’s what my son called her) not micro-chipped. Battersea Dog Home were most obliging in accepting Tilly in their kennel as, because of Indy and our working commitments, we could not keep her. We never found out whether she was ever claimed back by the original owners, but we suspect not. We only hope the centre could found her a loving new family.
      But the moral of the story is that if she had been micro-chipped and tagged, she would certainly had been reunited with her family.
      Thank you for your contribution Donna, and much love. Giulia 🙂

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