Passive identification devices

To continue the discussion about the different technologies available to identify, track and/or locate pets, I will first address 

Passive identification devices.

These include nametags, collars and various similar devices which provide information about the pet, and contact information about the owner. They are the simplest, cheapest, and probably the most common. Many municipalities have laws that require pets to be licensed, and to carry that license tag on their collars, enabling the owner to be traced.

Passive devices have many advantages. They are cheap, they do not require batteries or recharging, they do not have any running costs such as a subscription fee. They also have a few disadvantages. They do not locate your pet, instead they rely on somebody finding it, catching it (which can be a challenge), and contacting you. ID tags can break off, or on cheaper ones the engraving can become illegible. And of course, if your pet looses their collar, then the identification capability is lost with it.

For engraved tags, we recommend good quality engraving over printed tags, unless the printing is protected in some way. Engraved tags riveted to collars are available, and are still relatively inexpensive.


With smart phones being so ubiquitous these days, smart tags have become available that offer more information than what can be engraved on the tag. The smart tag has a QR code, a 2D "picture" that contains either static information, or points at a web site which contains more information about your pet. The better smart tags will send you a notification is traffic on that web site is detected, meaning that somebody has scanned the tag of your pet. Combined with the location of the device that did the scanning, this can provide location information for your pet, and all this from a completely passive device.


The advantages of passive identification massively outweigh the disadvantages, and we would strongly recommend that pets have at least one form of printed collar, ID tag or smart tag.

Have a look at our collection of Collars and Smart Tags for a selection of available products.

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