When you own a dog, you’re expected to comply with laws that keep both you and your dog safe.
One of those are dog identification tags–small pieces of metal that attach to your pup’s collar that contain key information about them.
…But are they a legal requirement in the UK?
In this guide, we’ll talk about:
- Whether dogs need ID tags
- Which dogs are exempt from ID tags
- What you should put on a dog tag in the UK
Click the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue scrolling to learn more about dog tags and the law in the UK.
Do dogs need identification tags?
You’re just nipping out to the park to let your puppy play. Do you really need to put their collar on, or is it OK to nip out with just your dog’s harness?
The short answer: No.
According to the Control of Dogs Order 1992, dogs in the UK are legally required to wear a collar–or attached plate–that contains key details about you (the owner) and your dog.
This tag is used to identify your dog if it goes missing, and prove your dog isn’t a stray.
What dogs are legally exempt from wearing ID tags?
Legally, not all dogs are required to wear identification tags in public places, but it’s uncommon. For example:
- Sporting dogs
- Guide dogs
- Dogs being used by royals or the police
- Dogs being used for emergency rescues
Any dog that doesn’t fit that criteria probably needs a dog tag attached to their collar.
You could be breaking the law, and land a hefty fine of up to £5,000, if not!
What to put on a dog tag (UK)
If you’re based in the UK, a dog tag must contain:
- Your name and address: This is the basic legal requirement for dog tags in the UK, and helps return your dog if they get lost. If your plate doesn’t have much available space, just add your surname, house number, and postcode.
- Your phone number: If someone finds your pup, add your contact number so someone can easily contact you when they find him.
- “I am microchipped”: It’s a legal requirement for dogs in the UK to be microchipped. I’ve added a line to Hugo’s dog tag that states he is microchipped, which reminds anyone who finds him to scan his chip. They can then find my details, prove I’m the legal owner, and return him to me.
You could add the name of your dog onto his collar. However, this could be a bad idea because if someone steals your pup, they can simply use its name to call it back to them.
Attaching your dog’s name to his collar an easy way for thieves to steal him.
If your dog has a health condition that someone needs to be aware of, you could add this to your dog identification tag, too–like “I am deaf” or “I have epilepsy”.
No matter where you’re taking your puppy, make sure they’ve got their dog tag attached.
Not only will it keep you on the right side of the law (and avoid a fine), but your dog is much safer when exploring!
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