A dog tag, dog ID tag, dog name tag, pet ID tag, or pet tag is a small flat tag worn on a pet's collar or harness.
Humane societies and rescue organizations recommend that dogs and cats wear these tags, which contain information to enable someone to contact a stray pet's owner.
Some people object to pet ID tags because of the jingling noise they make as their animals move and the fact that the tag can get caught on obstacles. A collar-mounted tag or collar name plate, which is riveted flat or slipped on to a collar's surface is silent and does not protrude from the collar and therefore avoids these problems.
Some organizations recommend not putting a pet's name on a dog ID tag because, in an ownership dispute over a stray dog, the original owner could use the pet's name to demonstrate that the pet recognizes the name and therefore has an association with that owner. There is also the chance that a thief will have a better chance of stealing a pet if they know the name of the pet and can make the dog or cat more comfortable by calling it's name. Others believe that a lost pet might feel more comfortable if strangers call it by its own name, so the name should be on the tag. Also, if a stray dog slips out of his collar, or is skittish, there is a greater chance of controlling him if his name is used.
The resemblance of human identification tags to this method of pet identification led to human tags being called dog tags, such as the metal identification tags worn by members of the US military on a chain around the neck.
Dog tags are made of a variety of materials. Metal tags usually have their information embossed or engraved onto, or stamped into, their surfaces. The characters created by embossing or engraving are made by removing some of the tag's surface.
The most common metals used for pet tags of are aluminum, stainless steel, and brass. Aluminum is the least durable of the three.
In this age of mobile phones, pet ID tags showing the pet's owner's landline and cell phone numbers make it easy for someone finding a stray pet to contact the owner.
Microchip implants, tattooing, and registering the dog's license number, microchip information, and tattoo number with lost-pet registries are good backups to identify stolen pets or strays found without ID tags but it is always a good idea to include registry ID numbers on engraved dog ID tags as a very thorough method to identify a pet.
In the military, a dog tag is the informal name for the identification tags worn by military personnel, because of their resemblance to actual dog tags. Various formats exist in the US military, but Army dog tags record the surname, given name, social security/service number, blood type and religion - stamped on a small piece of metal that is worn on a metal chain around the neck. During World War II, certain medical information such as the date of the soldier's last tetanus shot was also included on the tag. The name tag is primarily used for the identification of dead and wounded. In the event the member has a medical condition that requires special attention, an additional red tag with the pertinent information is issued and worn with the dog tags.