Sunday, May 25, 2014


There are quite a few things you need to get before you bring your new dog home. Some of them are fairly obvious; others might not have occurred to you. Some items you may be able to borrow from friends (for example, you could borrow a small crate for your puppy, who will quickly grow into a much bigger fellow). The same goes for a collar. A puppy who is going to become a large dog will need at least three sizes of collars that he will grow out of until he reaches his full size. You may have a friend who saved her puppy’s outgrown collars and will pass them along to you to use during the growth spurts of the first year.
Collars come in dozens of materials and shapes. What you pick will be influenced by your personal taste, your budget and your dog’s neck. There is rolled leather, which can be good on a long-haired dog because it doesn’t get stuck in the fur. Flat leather collars come in many widths, with an endless variety of adornments attached. There is every imaginable hue and thickness of collars in nylon webbing, cloth, needlepoint, ribbon, rhinestone, etc.
Some people opt for a nylon collar that has your name and telephone number stitched right into the nylon, so that there’s no tag to struggle with or lose.
  Your Dog’s Collar Is His Only Link to You If You Are Separated.
Your dog needs to be wearing a collar at all times. With his name tag, he can always be returned to you. Without it, you may never be reunited. Even if your dog never runs away or has no opportunity to get lost, there are other ways that he can be separated from you. For example, your dog may be inside a car in an accident and not even be injured, just get spooked and take off.
Fireworks or lightning storms can frighten a dog so much that he runs away from home and becomes so disoriented that he forgets where he lives. The people who find him won’t know, either.
Many vet’s offices and pet stores can order ID tags for you. The tags generally come within two weeks. See the “Lost Dogs” section of Chapter Eight about the importance of having a temporary identification on your dog from the first minute you bring her home.
If you have no intention of moving in the next year or two, have an extra tag or two made up, because most dogs lose their tags or collars at some point.
  Metal or Plastic?
All the tag companies seem to sell both metal and plastic tags. The metal tags are often harder to read and can make a clanking sound against the dog’s license. The plastic ones can wear out against the metal license, but most of the tag companies have a lifetime replacement guarantee.
There are some fancier or more unusual tags available from a number of companies, all of  which have Web site listings:,,,,,,
You need to check the tag from time to time to make sure it is still attached, and to see that the information is still readily visible.
  What to Put on the Tag?
The tag companies expect you to put your name, the dog’s name and your address and phone number on the tag.
One problem with this method is that there really isn’t room for two phone numbers because the tags were designed before cell phones became so prevalent.
Another problem in putting all your personal information on a tag is that it can make you or your house a target. I have also heard a warning that if you put your dog’s name on a tag, anyone who wants to steal him can get the dog to respond as though he were his own. These seem unlikely eventualities to me, but these precautions would clearly be an issue in some locations more than in others.
One solution to these problems is to put the word REWARD on the hang-tag and then put as many telephone numbers as you can fit on there: your home, office and cell at the least. The dog license has a phone number, but no one answers it after hours. Imagine how awful you would feel if you lost your dog, someone found him and generously tried to contact you—but could not reach you.
  Digital Dog Tags
The information age has caught up with dog tags, and now you can get a Dog-e-Tag that digitally stores up to forty lines of information. You can put your phone numbers, license and vaccine numbers, destination phone number if you’re traveling, medications she’s taking and the number of the dog’s veterinarian, etc.
The tag can be updated when traveling or moving, or for changes in your dog’s health and medical condition. The high-resolution digital display is easy to read and can be programmed in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The cost is $40, and the tags are available at (866) DOG-ETAG, or
  Safety Collars
There are collars that glow in the dark, which could save your dog’s life if you live in the country or suburbs and there’s even the remotest chance that your dog might be out in the dark without you. If you walk your dog at night anywhere but in a brightly lit city, there are also leashes that have built-in reflective strips.
One such product is the “Co-Leash Night-Lite,” which is a collar with a leash attached (both of which feature a wide Scotchlite reflective strip) that runs about $20 in various sizes and colors. Go to for more information, or check out similar products on any of the dog-product Web sites or catalogs.

Another product is the waterproof “Night Light Collar” from American Leather Specialties Corp. It can be set to slow flash, fast flash or continuous shine. The lights are visible from a mile  away. The batteries included provide 125 hours of service, and the collar runs about $25. (718) 965-3900.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

1 comment:

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