UK Legal Requirements for Dog Tags


One question we are often asked at D for Dog is "What should I put on my dog's ID tag?" Dog owners are often unsure whether dog tags or other forms of dog identification are required by law in the UK and what information needs to be engraved on a UK dog tag. These questions have become even more frequent since required microchipping came into force. Have microchips replaced the need for dog tags? Do you need to put your dog's name on the tag? What should be on a dog tag?

dog tag UK law

So many questions. Let's get these questions answered.

Does my dog need to wear a dog tag?

Yes. The dog tag law UK states that all dogs (with some working dog exemptions - see below) are required to wear a dog identity tag or other form of clear identification by law.

My dog is microchipped so do they still need to wear a dog tag?

Yes, even if your dog is microchipped the United Kingdom law states that they must also wear a pet ID tag or other form of clear identification.

What are the UK's legal requirements for a dog ID tag?

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 mandates that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the owner's name (initial and surname), address and postcode engraved or written on it, or engraved on a dog identity tag.

What should be on a dog tag?

What is legally required on a dog ID tag? This is actually a two part question. We will cover what needs to be on a dog tag from the perspective of the UK legal requirement and what should also be on a tag regarding contact details to help you get your dog back quicker if the worst should happen and your dog is lost or has been the victim of dog theft.

What to put on dog tag UK law? You are legally required to put your name and address on your dog's tag. A house number and postcode are all that is needed to specify an entire UK address, so it is perfectly acceptable to put just those details and your name. This can be useful for smaller tags where there might not be space for your full address.

That has the legal requirement covered but what to put on a dog tag for your own peace of mind? By law you simply need the owner's name, address and postcode on the dog tag. However, we would strongly advise also adding at least one contact phone number. Why? Well, the law states that only your address is needed but this is so outdated. If your dog gets lost, is someone going to write you a letter? No. The name and address legal requirements are very outdated now. We all communicate by phone and it is much more instant, which is exactly what is needed. So definitely get your phone number engraved on the tag, even though it is not required by law.

Examples of the engraving information we recommend for dog tags are:

Mr J Bloggs
No 32, PE25 6DH
01366 666666


Mr J Bloggs
32 The Street
PE25 6DH
01366 666666

Of course, the phone numbers you should put on the tag is the one you are most likely to be contactable on. It used to be the home telephone number but for most people these days it would more likely be their mobile phone number.

We also feel it is a good idea, if your dog is microchipped, to state this on the dog tag so that any authorities know to scan your dog. So you could simply add something like "I am chipped" if there is room on the tag for extra engraving. Don't be afraid to have a custom dog tag which includes any information you think is useful. A personalised dog tag can include details about microchipped status, dietary or health issues and more.

Should you put the dog's name on the tag?

Some dog owners also add the dog's name to the dog tag while others feel this is best not done in case your dog is stolen or can be called away from you, but the choice on that is entirely up to you. As long as you make sure you have the legally required information on your dog's ID tag you will be on the right side of the law. If you are not sure whether to put your pets name on the tag, we would advise leaving your dog's name off, unless you can think of a good reason why having your dog's name on the tag would be useful.

What is the best dog tag?

The most popular types of dog tag are metal ones. They are traditional and durable, making them a popular choice. Another popular choice are more modern plastic pet tags. These are lightweight and can take really clear and deep text, making them very readable for years. You can see why they are a popular choice.

Whichever tag you go for, there are also a variety of different shapes and sizes for any pets. A circular tag is the most popular but there are also bone, heart and star shaped dog ID tags. You can even get a diamante encrusted pet tag if you really want to make a statement. Woof!

One of the most popular and highly recommended pet tag brands is Red Dingo. Durable with clear engraving and more amazing designs than you can shake a muddy stick at, they are many dog owner's go to brand for dog collars, tags and accessories.

What happens if my dog does not wear an ID tag?

You can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog does not wear a dog identification tag or the tag does not have the required information on it.

Does the information need to be on a collar?

The Control of Dogs Order 1992, the law that states that dogs should not be in public places without the owner's name and address information, actually states:

"Every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it."

So yes, technically your contact information should be on or attached to a dog collar. You would have to be stopped by a real jobsworth though if the tag was attached to say the dog's harness for example, and they didn't deem that acceptable. But legally, it should be on dog collars.

Is my dog exempt?

Probably not but there are some exemptions.

Dog identification laws do not apply to:

  1. any pack of hounds (by this they mean hunting animals)
  2. any dog while being used for sporting purposes
  3. any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin
  4. any dog while being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep
  5. any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Customs and Excise or the police force for any area
  6. any dog while being used in emergency rescue work
  7. any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 - Wearing of collars by dogs

Unless you are covered by any of the above, your dog needs to have your name and address on their collar when out and about in public. And quite frankly, why wouldn't you want to do that. If your dog is lost, this information will hopefully help you to be reunited.

What other information can I put on my dog's tag?

Anything you feel is useful, if there is room. Don't go too OTT with information as you want it to be readable without a magnifying glass, but if your dog has certain special needs or requirements, it can be a really good idea to add this information e.g. I am deaf, I take medication etc...

Keep the information updated

Finally, please remember to keep the information on your dog's tag updated. If you move house or change your stated contact phone number, get your dog a new tag. An out-of-date dog tag is as useless as no tag at all. Always keep you and your pets details up to date.

Where can I buy attractive and deep engraved dog tags?

Just because it is the law for your dog to wear identification, that doesn't mean your dog's tag can't be fun and stylish, as long as it contains all the required legal information. And you will feel safer knowing your dog can be identified if they go missing.

Of course, here at D for Dog we have a large range of durable and stylish dog ID tags. Engraving is included in the price of all of the tags so you can have fabulous new engraved dog tags delivered straight to your door. Woof!

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04 September 2022  |  21:22

Doesn't having the owner's address on the tag also make it easier for dogs to be stolen in the first place?

Laura C
19 December 2022  |  12:57

The law says that's what is required. Even if the law is outdated you still have to abide by it.

02 January 2023  |  11:57

I also have huge concerns about advertising my address in public on my dog’s neck. Who stills puts their address on their suitcase when they go on holiday? No one, because thieves can see where you live and ransack your house while you’re away on holiday. It makes no sense to advertise to everyone where you and your dog live. All dogs are now microchipped and a dog tag with just a mobile number on it should be sufficient. I believe this law needs updating to protect people, especially single females, from telling everyone where we live!

17 June 2023  |  12:22

Totally agree!

28 February 2023  |  1:44

They can't even enforce the law when it comes to people using mobile phones whilst driving so I doubt if anyone will have time to stop you if you are not complying. In fact I haven't heard of anyone being stopped and their dog checked. I just have a harness with a capsule which contains the information inside it.

T Sutton-Woodhouse
18 April 2023  |  19:25

your list No. 7 of exceptions for non tag wearing should be:- Registered Assistance Dogs. Not just Guide dogs

D for Dog
19 April 2023  |  8:20

Thank you for your comment. That list of exemptions came directly from The Control of Dogs Order 1992 article 2. You can see a copy on in the section entitled "Wearing of collars by dogs". Only Guide Dogs for the Blind are mentioned.

02 September 2023  |  18:12

What about QR code tag ? Is it still mandatory to have a tag with exposed information?
QR code tag makes more sense as it has owner's name, address and contact number and does not expose them.

D for Dog
02 September 2023  |  18:33

From my understanding of the current dog tag law, the information has to be clearly accessible to everyone so I am pretty sure you would still need to have the contact information written / engraved as well as encoded into the QR tag.

22 September 2023  |  22:55

I don't agree with that law, firstly, what happens if a female meets a guy on a walk, all he has to do is look at the tag and know where she stays, her phone number. Doesn't give much security. What happens if someone has an unknown stalker, just look at collar, he got everything there . Someone can easily remove from neck, and next you get harassed phone calls, strangers coming to your door. Doesn't give owner much safety in own house. What good is the collar if dog stolen🤔🤔🤔🤔

Ms Elizabeth a Percy
04 June 2024  |  9:31

My dogs have GPS tags on their collars that at the touch of a button provide all information legally required as an audio. Do I still need a metal tag?

D for Dog
04 June 2024  |  9:34

According to the law, yes.