Read on about how to make your own special ID tag for your traveling pet. But first an ad: If you’re having problems at the design stage of making your own tag, take advantage of a very special offer from Earthcircuit’s Media Design Team: send us your details, what you’d like on the tag, images of your truck or whatever – and we’ll send back to you a PDF that you can take and get printed somewhere local to you. All for just US$10 for a unique, bespoke design. See below for more details…
Traveling around with a dog from country to country is a very nice experience. Don’t let people try to convince you that it’s better to leave your pets at home. That’s maybe a good idea for a short holiday but, if you’re going away for months and months, it would be less cruel to take your furry friend along with you – otherwise they’ll be wondering the whole time where you’ve gone and what they’ve done wrong.
One of the tricky things to work out is what to put on the dog’s ID tag while you are both away from home. Your phone numbers are going to change and there’s no point keeping the metal disc that your local pet ID scheme gave you. Maybe some of the countries you’re headed for don’t do animal ID schemes at all, with a population of dogs that have hardly been troubled with a name, let alone a collar and tag. Some countries like to think they have an active animal welfare program when in fact all they do is round up any stray dog they see, take it to an “animal rescue center” and then put it to sleep. Maybe, even, you’re shifting from Cyrillic to Hangeul to Latin, from the empty uplands of North Asia to the steamy, tropical beaches – how to second guess the global citizen who finds your lost dog and is wondering whose it is?
The solution is to make your own ID tags, tailored to you and your dog’s unique situation. Traditional engravers, working on metal, sometimes find it hard to include the @ sign; they may not have a small enough font for your dog’s sixteen digit micro-chip number; most definitely they are going to struggle with a graphical image. With this technique all you need is a computer in a city big enough to have a store around that can print out plastic cards similar to ID cards, bank or credit cards or, if you have time to wait, you could use an online service.
- Using software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, you design your tag on computer – divide the size of a bank card into the shapes that will be your final dog tag. A bank card is 85.60 × 53.98 mm (3.370” × 2.125”). Your image should be set to 300 pixels per inch or the equivalent before you start and saving in a PDF format is usually the most useful for the person who’s going to print it out. If you’re having problems at this stage, see below for a fantastic offer that could save you hours…
- Things to include are, of course, your name and email address. The microchip number is good for those moments where you need to show the number but don’t have the machine to read it. If your dog is registered somewhere already, you can put the number and a phone number – maybe even a map of the world with a little dot to show the origin of all this information. Finding a lost dog hopefully involves no more than searching around where you’re staying rather than an international rescue effort – if you’re traveling in your vehicle, put your license number and country code – or even a little picture of your rig. Remember that you have the reverse of the card to use too.
- Print the tag out, duplicated over and over so that you fill the size of a card.
- You then cut them back down into their shapes, smoothing round the corners, and make a little hole to fit onto the collar. Scissors for the edges and a low-speed drill for the hole – be careful, hey.
Just checking now how long they last: Vaga’s had hers for over six months now. By the sea, the metal parts of her collar have rusted and, where it touches, the plastic is stained yellow. The thin transparent layers of the card have separated from the printed core but the printing’s still clear and true. And when it finally becomes unreadable, I still have another six duplicates.
Fantastic Offer from Earthcircuit’s Media Design Team
$10 gets you a digital image of a pet ID tag. Fill out the form on our contact page to register your interest and we’ll get back to you with a choice of designs. You can also direct the design yourself to make it your own personal creation. After a few days, we’ll have the final product ready – an immaculate PDF file that is ready for printing out.