Is dog tag law in the UK new? Not really. As a dog owner, you have to follow the law when it comes to microchipping your pup. If you don’t, it can result in a hefty penalty of up to £5,000! The new requirements come as part of a law which came into effect in 2016.

In this article we will outline the rules and regulations for owners who need help with how they should go about following them correctly.

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Do dogs need identification tags?

According to the Control of Dogs Order, it is a legal requirement that dogs in the UK must wear a collar and the collar must have a dog tag on it. This tag is used to identify your dog if it goes missing, and prove your dog isn’t a stray. The collar is a key piece of information about your dog and its owner.

The dog’s collar can be worn on the collar to identify the dog’s name and the owner of the dog. It can also be worn to identify a dog who is not a stray.


On 6th April 2016 it became law that dogs in the UK must have a microchip that contains information about the owner, the dog and the breeder (if applicable) If your dog is not microchipped, you can be fined up £500.

The law applies to all dogs of any age but vets recommend that microchipping does not take place on puppies under six weeks old. Exemptions are available if a vet believes there is a valid health reason not to microchip a dog.

When your dog is microchipped, this is usually in the neck, but it can move. Although your dog must br microchipped, it is a good idea to have your vet check regularly that the microchip has not moved.

UK Dog Tags Law

Note that the legal requirements to microchip your dog are different from those requiring your dog to wear a dog tag.

Your dog must wear a collar that has a dog tag. A dog tag should contain information that can allow you as the owner to be identified when your lost dog is found in a public place (whoever that public place may be)

Most tags are too small for your name and address, but you should add a phone number, as anyone finding your dog will want to use the telephone number from your dog’s id tags to call you and let you know that your pet is safe. A phone number is probably sufficient for contact details, given the average size of dog tags.

Also, adding your name and address could be a bad idea because if someone steals your pet, they can simply use its name to call it back to them, and they know that you are likely out looking for your pup, so their house may be empty.

If your dog has a health condition that someone needs to be aware of, you could add this to your dog identification tag. If you’re based in the UK, a dog tag must by law contain: ‘I am deaf’ or ‘I have epilepsy’

No matter where your puppy goes and losing your dog can happen any time, make sure they’ve got their tag.

So What Is the Law?

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 in the UK requires any dog in a public place to wear a collar with the ownership information engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag.

The law came into effect in 1992 and is enforced for dogs inside public areas.Telephone numbers are optional but recommended.

The fine is up to £5,000 if your dog does not wear an identification tag whether it was lost or not.

There are some differences of opinion on what optional information to put on dog tags.You do not have to put your dogs name on the tag and some people recommend not including it if there are concerns about dog theft.

It is incorrect to think that the requirement for dog tags was repealed when microchips came into force. People with a pet should make sure they have both on their dog’s collar at all times.

What Exemptions Are There?

Certain dogs are exempt from wearing a collar with a tag. They include:

  • Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
  • Any dog while being used in emergency work, such as rescue.
  • Any dog while being used by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, HM Customs and Excise or the police, but only if on official duty.
  • Any dog while being used for driving or tending cattle or sheep.
  • Any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin.
  • Any dog while being used for sporting purposes.
  • Any pack of hounds.


So these are some strict legal requirements that need to be complied with. While they are small, they are important and if they are not met then there is risk of a fine.

Dog Tag FAQs

What is legally required on dog tags?

A dog tag must allow the dog and its owner to be identified.

Is it illegal to not have dog tags UK?

Yes – dogs must have legible dog tags containing the required information but a collar with the name of your dog is only optional.

Is it illegal to walk a dog without a name tag?

The requirement is that your dog much have a dog tag. So if you were carrying him to the car without a collar then fine but you run the risk if he gets lost that he cannot be identified, and then there is a breach of the law.

Should you put your dogs name on its tag?

While the more important information is about who owns the dog, it can be useful to calm or coax a dog if you know its name.

This is an Emerald Life Article on Pet Insuran

Article references: Dogs/Control of Dogs Order 1992/Legal Requirement/Laws on Dog Identification/Microchipped Dogs/Pet Control/Dog Tags