To identify your pet, an item known as a pet tag can help other people know your pet’s exact identity, in case they become separated from you or your home.
Pet tags, also known as pet identification tags (pet ID tags) are a small flat tag that’s usually worn on a pet’s collar or harness. These tags are generally recommended by humane societies and rescue organizations for mobile animals like dogs and cats. Pet tags are designed to help people get information about those pets if they’re encountered as a stray animal.
Behind Pet ID tags – Uses
Pet identification tags are characterized by their flat, sometimes slightly noisy appearance.
There are many styles of pet tags, such as collar mount tags that slide on or rivet onto a collar’s surface, preventing noise issues that some owners may prefer to correct. Tag silencers are another way to correct noise issues; these tools are neoprene or rubbery plastic pouches that hold various types of pet tags.
Most of the time, the slight noise made by a pet tag acts as a notifier of a pet’s presence, indirectly preventing an owner from losing track of their animal.
Perhaps the most important function for a pet tag is its use as an identification tool. Most, if not all, pet tags are required to hold the following identifying information:
- The pet’s license number and contact information for its associated licensing organization (license tags).
- The pet’s name and their owner’s phone numbers, address and/or QR code pointing to their online information, in addition to a list of their potential medical problems (pet identification tag).
- The pet’s identification number with a phone number associated with their registry (microchip registry tag).
The most common pet tag is the standard pet identification tag, as it’s relatively low cost and simple for owners to create themselves. In most cases, it’s considered to good to put the pet’s name on the tag, as it also helps people identify a pet’s owner..
Behind Pet ID Tags – Common Materials
Pet identification tags are naturally made from a wide variety of materials. Most of the time, owners will make a pet ID tag using some type of heavy card stock, heavy duty tape and/or a type of plastic laminate, permanent markers and key chain settings to affix the tag.
Later in this article, we’re going to review just how to make a homemade pet ID tag. For now, let’s review the different materials used in different types of ID tags.
The most resilient out of most pet identification tags are metal tags. Metal pet tags generally have information stamped, engraved and/or embossed onto its surface. The characters embossed or engraved into the material are typically pushed into the tag’s surface, though not as deep as stamped-in characters. Stamped-in characters, in fact, are typically stamped into the tag’s surface with a metal die.
As a result, this produces a more durable tag that’s known to last longer than engraved tags. Nowadays, engraved tags are just as durable, thanks to newer technology that produces engravings as deep or even deeper than traditional metal stamping.
Many pet ID tags are made from metals like aluminum, brass and stainless steel. Aluminum is considered the least resilient of the aforementioned materials, while brass is considered relatively better. Stainless steel, however, is considered the most durable, as it can retain engraved lettering for a long time.
Plastic pet identification tags are etched or printed with pet information. They’re also known for coming in many different colors. They also are fairly luminescent, which helps them refract better at night.
Some plastics, however, are sensitive to ultraviolet light, which can make its color and/or composition fade over time. The most durable plastics used to make plastic pet ID tags are acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastics.
Other types of pet tags are made using techniques like sublimation to print artwork and other images onto the tag’s surface. This technique produces permanent and fade-resistant images, helping pet tags avoid wear and tear over time. 3D Printing is also used to create tags from a wide variety of materials.
Behind Pet ID Tags – Pet Tag Upkeep
Although many pet tags are designed to last a long time, it’s always a good idea to replace a pet tag when you feel it’s getting too worn out. Additionally, many pet experts suggest to affix a new tag to your pet’s collar every time they’re re-vaccinated. Naturally, you should always update your pet’s tag when you move and/or change your phone number.
Your pet’s tags should also be checked every few month for legibility, though this can be avoided somewhat by protecting your pet’s tag with some type of laminate, even if it’s metal. Some pet tags don’t have deep engravings or embossing, which can make them fade faster than tags that do. Tags should also be readable, so anyone can understand the information present there.
All pet owners should have at least two spare sets of tags around. This helps you stay prepared for cases when your pet’s tag goes missing.
When you’re buying pet tags, always select a tag that best suits the lifestyle of yourself and your pet. As an example, if your pet has a certain personality type, certain tags may work better for them.
If you travel a lot with your pets, as an example, portable tags work best. These tags are typically pet tags with waterproof metal tubes and/or barrels that can screw open or closed. This allows you to write important information on a piece of paper that can be inserted into the unit when traveling.
Silenced dog tags work best for pets who are more rambunctious in personality. As an example, pet ID tags with a type of ‘silencing’ laminate can prevent you from hearing the continuous sounds of a jangling tag throughout the day.
All pets, however, can get the most out of a stainless steel tag, since these tags are practically guaranteed to last a lifetime. If you buy a stainless steel tag, many companies commonly will replace them at no additional cost if they’re lost and damaged.
Homemade Pet ID Tag – Make A Homemade Pet ID Tag
Although it’s easy enough to purchase a pet identification tag, many types of ID tags can be made as do-it-yourself projects.
As pet tags have few complicated components to construct, anyone can make a pet tag in as little as a few steps. Since they’re easy to make, they’re considered one of the more popular pet-related craft projects for people of all ages.
Though, why is it a better idea to craft your own pet tag instead of buying one?
Crafting your own custom pet ID tags is an inexpensive process that takes little time to prepare and execute. Some pre-made pet tags may take a long time for others to make, especially if you’re getting it custom made by a reputable company. You also have to worry about potential costs, particularly if you’re getting a custom stainless steel pet tag made, the costs perhaps making crafting a tag the better option.
A custom made pet tag is also more personable than a store bought one. Homemade pet ID tags, in fact, are a special gift from you to your pet. It’s a gift that doubles as a way to keep ID on them at all times—and ultimately, keeps them safe.
Make your own homemade pet ID Tags
Plastic ID tags
The easiest way to make a pet ID tag at home involves using shrink plastic and other materials. Here, we’re going to review exactly how to make a plastic pet ID tag at home.
To start, you will need the following materials:
- Shrink plastic.
- A pet tag template, printed from an online resource or made by hand.
- Permanent markers. Other materials like colored pencils can be used too, though permanent markers are likely to last longer.
- Large jump ring.
- Scissors and/or a craft knife.
- Pliers, needle-nose.
The entire process, from start to finish, will take at least 30 minutes to complete. Although children aged 5 and up can participate in this project, it’s suited for those aged 10 and older.
Shrink plastic is the main component of this project. It’s a type of plastic that shrinks upon baking in an oven; alternatively, it shrinks and flattens when in direct contact with a heat source like a hair dryer. You can use standard shrink plastic laminate and printable ink jet shrink plastic, used to directly print pet tag patterns from a computer.
You can use the pet tag template to do one of the following:
- Trace the pattern onto the shrink plastic and cut out the resulting shape. This generally involves placing the cut out pattern onto the plastic and tracing around. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut around the plastic and remove it from the extra plastic.
- Print the pattern onto the printable shrink plastic and cut out the resulting shape. Print your pattern from the computer onto the printable shrink plastic via a printer. Cut around the plastic using a pair of scissors or a craft knife for a more accurate cut.
Printable pet tag patterns can actually be designed entirely on a computer before using ink jet shrink plastic to print them out. In most cases, people use graphics programs like Photoshop to color in the tag’s patterns or create another unique design. Alternatively, you can print out monochrome patterns and color them with permanent markers after printing them out.
The other patterns can be traced onto the plastic and later colored in with a permanent marker. You should always keep your colors relatively light in color, as light can make them look darker after they completely dry.
Each pet tag can be cut out using scissors or a craft knife. Craft knifes give a more cleaner and accurate cut, while scissors are considered safer to use. To cut holes, most people may prefer a hole punch for an accurate hole, though you can also use scissors or a craft knife to do the job.
To bake the pet tag, first preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. You can use parchment paper or aluminum foil to protect the tags as they’re baking on a cookie sheet or other flat pan. Place your tags onto the lined flat plan and place them inside the oven. It typically takes at least one to three minutes to bake and shrink the pet tags.
When the pet tags bake, they shrink first by curling up and flattening out. After the tags bake and shrink, remove them from the oven to cool. It generally takes a few minutes for them to completely cool.
Most people place their finished shrink plastic tags onto a large jump ring, which can easily fit onto a pet’s collar.
Alternative Pet ID Tags
Shrink plastic tags aren’t the only type of pet tags that owners can make for their pets.
Label maker tags are as they’re implied—they’re pet tags made using a label maker. Print your pet’s identification information onto the label using the device, and then encase the resulting label in a type of plastic laminate. After finishing the tag, slip the laminated label into the D-ring of your pet’s collar.
Cloth tags are made using cloth labels. You can create a cloth pet tag using printable fabric paper, found in department stores or online. To protect the tag, it’s suggested to use some type of laminate to prevent the information from being rubbed off or eroding over time. You might want to look into getting the information embossed onto the fabric, though it might become time consuming.
The best thing about creating your own homemade pet ID tags is that there’s an incredible amount of options out there to choose. No matter what crafting method you’re using, you’re ultimately creating a tag that not only pleases you, but acts as a special gift to your favorite pet.