Technology is constantly improving in the dog-finding arena, as it is everywhere else. Microchipping your dog is basically expected, and now we even rely on social media to help us find Fido. We even have apps for that! I recently interviewed FindingRover app CEO and founder John Polimeno about how that tool will literally change the face of the lost dog problem (you have that app, right?).
With all of this awesome technology at our fingertips, we still shouldn't forget the good ol' fashioned dog tag. If a dog has one, it's the quickest way to communicate information to a good samaritan. It's also the quickest way to communicate information to dog nappers and the likes of would-be Michael Vick wanna-bes. Sorry, but it's true.
The one thing you don't want to put on your dog's tag is probably what's on the first line: your dog's name. That's right...don't put your dog's name on his tag! It's super-cute for him to be able to "tell" everyone his moniker, but not safe. Knowing a dog's name allows anyone to call him sweetly forth, beckoning him into a situation where he might be sold or held for ransom–or worse. He could be used for fighting or could be part of an even darker fetish.
Sorry to go there, but it's true.
So what should you put on your dog's i.d. tag? Well, if you have a dog that tends to stick pretty close to home, your phone number should suffice. A cell number is best in case he goes lost while you are traveling. If you have an escape artist or the type that likes to roam in spring with the birds and the bees, you should consider adding as much information as possible. All of your phone numbers, and also phone numbers for a neighbor, friend, family member, or pet sitter as a back-up in case you can't be contacted right away. Most people will want to help, but not everyone is willing to board your dog if you're in the middle of a dinner date and don't pick up the phone. Your found dog may then be released back into a life on the streets. If you have four individual's phone numbers on the tag, your odds are better.
Should you include your address? Possibly. If your dog gets out and is a regular at the neighborhood park, then his address might be helpful for a finder, other than that, it's just taking up valuable real estate for all of those phone numbers.
Speaking of real-estate: if that tag is just too small, feel free to add multiple tags! Many tags are quite light and, aside from the possible jingle, wouldn't be a bother for you or your dog at all.
And with your added real estate, you could consider adding a kind message for the person who finds your dog, such as "Thanks for finding me! My family loves me and must be terribly worried. Please call them for me. I left my cell phone at home." You never know. That personal touch just might make the difference for your pooch.
Let him be friendly and found. And let him be anonymous.