Pet Identification Tags

Even though practically all pet owners appreciate the advantage of a simple ID tag, there are still large numbers of people who do not obtain a pet identification tag for their pets.

There are no accurate statistics being taken regarding the proportion of un-tagged pets in the UK, but analysis of the number of pets who are found, shows that up to 40% of them are un-tagged, and/or un-chipped.

Many vets believe that pet owners do not feel that their pet will ever go missing - largely because (on the whole) British pet owners are disciplined about how they manage their pets (dogs particularly) when they are in a public place. Unlike pet owners in other countries (including some major European countries) british dog owners tend to keep their pets on a leash when taking them out on the streets for a walk.

But many dog owners will unleash their pets when in a field, or on a quiet country road, allowing the dog some freedom to roam about on their own. This is an essential part of a dog's well-being, and it is perfectly acceptable for pet owners to allow their dogs a bit of "free-ranging" when the environment permits it. A trained, obedient dog will remain reasonably close to their owner at such times, and in general will respond to a call to return to the owner - but this is not always the case.

Dogs are attracted by many stimuli - particularly interesting smells - and their sense of smell is several thousand times more sensitive than that of a human - so if they get a whiff of something interesting, off they will bound to investigate it. And the cause of the smell can easily be hundreds of yards away - a dead rabbit, or droppings from some wild animal, such as foxes and badgers. Even thoe most disciplined dog will find it hard to resist investigating an interesting smell, and they will often gallop off in spite of their owners trying to call them back.

Also, dogs that are couped up in small places all day, or who are seldom (if ever) allowd a bit of free roaming, will cherish an opportunity to "escape" and explore, and this is where the problems can start. Such dogs will race off very quickly, trying to absorb as much of their environment (and sudden freedom) as they can - before they are reigned in and returned to what is often restrictive confinement.

How should dog owners go about teaching their dogs to enjoy free roaming, yet behave properly when called to return?

The answer is in proper training.

Puppies should be taken into open spaces at the earliest opportunity, and while they are small, should be on a long, retractible leash, so they can move some distance from their owner but still be under full control. They should be taught to return to their owner's side without retracting the leash - so it is the puppy that comes back of its own volition and not because it is being "dragged" back by the leash.

Over time, this recalling will become habitual, and as the dog gets older, so they will be more likely to obey the return command when off their leash.

But there remains the possibility that a dog will go running off - even if they are well-trained, and it is in these circumstances that proper pet identification is essential. And there is no better and simpler form of pet id than a pet tag. The public will almost instinctively look on a dog's collar for a tag, and if there is a tag, the chances of a quick re-unification with the owener is extremely high. The vast majority of dogs who go missing - and who have a pet id tag on their collar with an address and phone number - are re-united with their owners in less than an hour!

Dog collars need to be sturdy

There is a chance that a dog will lose either its tag (very common), or it collar, while it is "enjoying its freedom", and estimates for tagged pets losing their tags/collars while on the run, vary from 5% to 10%. Most often this is because the collar is worn or frayed, or ill-fitting. The collar has to be appropriate for the dog, and the size of the dog is the main guide as to what type of collar to use. Wide collars are more sturdy, and leather is always a good choice. More recently, nylon collars have become popular, and a good-quality nylon collar should last as long as a leather collar of the same dimensions.

It is up to the owners to make sure that the collar fits comfortably, and that it cannot be retracted over the dog's head when pulled.

Pet ID Tags should be fitted with a good-quality split ring, made from sprung steel or brass. A plated split ring is best as this will reduce the chances of rusting or disintegration.

Inspect your Pet Identification Tag frequently

A good-quality pet tag should last a few years at least. Some could last the life-time of the dog - but the lifespan of a pet tag is usually determined by how active a dog is. The more knocks and bumps a tag endures, the sooner it will need replacing. And there are many circumstances where a tag can break off and get lost.

This is why TagMakers strongly recommends that spare pet id tags are purchased along with the main tag. These spare tags need not be one of the fancy or expensive varieties. The 25mm brass pet tag is ideal as a spare. It is sufficiently large enough to contain all essential contact information, but is relatively cheap compared to popular the stylish and exotic pet tags.

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