Dog Safety 101: Tag, Chip, Puppy Collar and Leash & Harness

Puppy Collar and Leash

Accidents happen. Someone can open the front door one day and there goes your pooch running to the outside, wanting to explore the world. In most cases, your puppy is simply sniffing around and the dog comes back once you call their name or go after them. But in other cases, your dog simply disappears! 

Unless you have the proper safety identification placed on your four-legged friend, people may literally “steal” your dog, or worse yet your pooch may get injured or lost forever.

In this post we will review how to properly secure your puppy or dog with ID tags, microchips, comfortable dog training collars, best dog harnesses, and best dog leash that will help secure your pooch.

*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Several links in this post will take you to or to other sites where you can find out additional information about some of the products mentioned here, read reviews, and check out prices. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Your puppy’s ID: Dog tag and microchip

An ID tag is the easiest and quickest way to return your pet to you.

When choosing to secure your puppy, the ideal safety measure is to have two forms of identification on your pooch: An ID tag (this is the least you can do), and a microchip to identify your puppy if they are returned to a shelter.

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What to put on a dog tag?

An ID tag for a dog is an absolute must. It is simply a requirement for owning a dog! You can buy a customizable dog ID tag online and have it personalized and engraved. Just choose the shape and the color that you prefer.

At minimum, you should have your name and your current telephone number visible on the ID tag. It is also recommended that you place the name of your puppy on the tag. Sometimes dogs can respond well to their names.

You should always have an ID tag on your puppy. Being safe is better than being sorry.


How much does it cost to chip a dog?

The cost of a dog microchip depends on your location, your veterinary pricing, or on your community outreach programs. The average chip service is somewhat between $45-$75, and sometimes a bit more or less, depending on the location.

Dogs have a naturally inquisitive personality. If you think that your puppy may have a remote chance at running away, then you want to invest in the added security of having a microchip embedded under the skin of your dog. Your veterinarian will be able to get that done.

It is highly recommended that you get your dog chipped with a unit that is permanently attached under your puppy’s skin. This is the safest method of identifying your pet friend in the instance that the ID tag falls off your dog.

  • Under the skin. The microchip usually goes under the skin between the shoulder blades.
  • Small. These chips are very small and will not hurt your puppy.
  • Data. The digital data inside the chip helps to identify the family of the animal.
  • Information to include. If done correctly, it will have your name, your address, and a stable phone number stored on the chip.
  • Important: Keep your activation card and any documentation with phone numbers that you receive with the chip. Usually you will have all of them handed out to you. You will need this information in case you have to change the data inside the chip.
  • Optional: Register your chip and your pet information with the Michelson Found Animals Registry. This is an organization that has been a blessing to many pet owners. It allows you to register your chip with them in their database with your contact information. It can be very handy and easily accessible should your dog go missing or should you need to update your contact information or transfer your pooch to another family.

READ MORE: 10 Best Puppy Toys (For Teething, Chewing, Snuggling & More).

How old does a puppy have to be to be microchipped?

That all depends on the dog’s breed. Larger breeds may have more body mass and may be able to be chipped as young as 8 weeks old. This gives you plenty of time to properly potty train your puppy and get him ready to go outside a bit more each day.

Smaller dogs and breeds may be requested to bulk up a bit, and the vet may recommend them to be chipped between 10-12 weeks old.

Can you feel the microchip in a dog?

This may happen, but it’s not usually common. If you can feel the microchip, don’t worry. It will not hurt your dog. Usually, you will not feel the microchip when it’s embedded in your puppy. It will be as small as a large grain or rice, and it will be placed between the shoulder blades, right under the skin.

In some cases, the puppy’s microchip may migrate a bit left or right and can be felt. The more your puppy grows and puts on healthy weight, the less you will feel the microchip’s presence.

Do microchips have GPS?

No. At least not now. The technology may come when the pet microchips can have a GPS, but for now they don’t. They are not really tracking devices to begin with… Think of them as devices that contain a set of data that can be accessed when scanned and found.

These microchips operate on what is called RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology. Since these don’t have a GPS, it is crucial to have your dog and puppy wear their collar with a good tag that anyone who finds your pooch can access. It is the quickest and easiest safety measure.

GPS Tracker. Check price on Amazon
GPS Tracker. Check price on Amazon

GPS trackers are available, but not in chip form. If you’re interested in tracking your dog’s whereabouts at all times, new technology has made it possible to have pet GPS trackers readily available on the market. They usually work for both dogs and cats with a nationwide location tracking service. These usually attach to a collar, require batteries and a subscription plan. They can be well worth it if you can afford them or if your pet friend is a curious wanderer.

Do microchips cause cancer in dogs?

Not likely. Let’s face it! Anything, including a poor diet, can cause cancer and so can toxins and bad habits. Although there were some tumors associated with microchips in a handful of dogs among million other dogs (as to the publication of this post, only two were reported that we know of), the tumors were tested and could not be linked directly to the microchip itself. It is our guess that something else might have caused these tumors.

Cracks may cause issues. It is important to make sure to keep an eye on the location of the ship. It shouldn’t have any strange indentations from underneath the skin. Cracked microchips can cause inflammation in dogs as reported by the National Institute of Health.

When should you update your dog’s chip?

The word ‘euthanasia’ can scare any pet owner. If your puppy or dog is lost, and their tag is removed by accident, the only way to identify them is through their microchip.

It is crucial (absolutely crucial) that you update the microchip details when you move, or change your permanent phone number. In the instance your puppy gets lost and no tag is found on them, then a microchip is a sure thing to have them return to you safe and sound.

This means that your “chipped” puppy will have his or her own identification number that will stay with them for the rest of their life.

Contact info change. Update the pet chip info when your contact information changes (i.e. you move permanently, or your phone number changes).

New family. Update the pet chip info when the dog has a new family. It is important to share with friends of family that your dog’s chip will need to be updated in the case there’s a chance that your dog may outlive you.

How do you update your dog’s microchip?

The chips is never removed from your dog.

This is why you need to reach out to another party to have the information updated by phone or online. It is very important to have the original documents available before you go online or call someone. The chip should have a reference number of some sort, or a manufacturer name.

Grill your veterinarian to make sure that they keep all this information handy for you in their own database in case you lose your own records, and especially if they were the ones who embedded the chip.

If you have a rescue dog, the Humane Society may NOT be able to accommodate any change of information on their chips. So, make sure to keep all your original documents from when you got the chip embedded. Again, better be safe than sorry.

(a) Update the dog chip by phone

Remember the activation card that you received when you chipped your puppy? This is the time to dig that card out and call the number to update the database. The number could be the manufacturer or the holder of records.

You may need to give out a special chip ID that is in your documents.

(b) Update the dog chip online

If you know the manufacturer’s name, you can login online and update the information that way.

  • If you know the name of the manufacturer: Log in and get the information changed. A common manufacturer is 911 Pet Chip. 
  • If you don’t know who the manufacturer is: You can look up the microchip ID on the American Animal Hospital Association website and do a search on who the manufacturer is.
  • You may want to do this before you lose your pet: Register all the information with the Found Animals Registry. This site has a database that holds information on all sorts of chips, regardless of who made them. You can simply reach out to them without having to call anybody else, but do so while you have your pet.

There were many instances where dogs were lost and found and returned to their owners’ homes thanks to an embedded microchip that was scanned by the humane society or another veterinarian.

Once accessed, the data is cross-referenced with other information in the main registry, and your dog can be brought back to you safe and sound.

best dog collar and leash

Choosing the best puppy training collar (6 most common types)

Some products go together like butter on warm toast. This includes best collar and best leashes for your pooch.

You definitely want to buy both, and we will start with the collars. Although some tags can attach directly to the puppy collars, we found the buckle collars with a clip to work best.

Your dog must be wearing the collar at all times in order for the tag to be of use, so make sure you get your pooch a good quality, comfortable collar. It is important to leave the puppy collar on your dog, keeping enough space between the collar and the skin.

To get the right size collar for your dog, measure the dog’s neck and add 2 or 3 inches for comfort. For a comfortable fit, place 2 normal size fingers between your pooch’s neck and the collar. Tighten the collar accordingly. Less than 2 fingers worth of space could mean that the collar is too tight.

The 6 most common types of collars for dogs

There are many dog collar sizes, shapes, and colors to choose from, but the functionality will remain the same. Here are the most common types of dog collar products that are readily available on the market.

Padded Leather Dog Collar
  • Any size dog.
  • Adjustable Nylon Dog Collars
  • Puppies up to 8 weeks old.
  • Braided Dog Collar
  • Long coated dogs.
  • Older dogs.
  • Any size dog.
  • Metal Buckle Dog Collar
  • Puppies.
  • Rolled Leather Dog Collar
  • Long coated dogs.
  • Choke Dog Collar
  • Best used by professionals for strong breeds.
    • Leather dog collar. The best leather dog collar will have lasting quality and can work well with any size dog.
    • Nylon dog collar. The best nylon dog collar is good enough, but it is not the greatest product! It may be inexpensive, but it could also be flimsy and not very sturdy. You may need to purchase a set of nylon collars to ensure that when your puppy’s nylon collar breaks, you change it with a new one.
    • Braided dog collar. The best braided dog collar for dogs should be made with strong braids. This product can work great for long coated dogs or older dogs. You have a Lhasa Apso that looks like a 1960’s rock band member? Better get them something that they are comfortable with.
    • Buckle dog collar (also known as flat leather collar). These types of collars are great for puppies. The best flat leather dog collar (or buckle collar) should not bother your puppy because they can be resized as your dog grows older. These flat collars don’t really have to be made from leather, but leather seems to be very popular and sturdy. They are known as buckle collars and are very handy and suitable for everyday usage.
    • Rolled leather dog collar. The best rolled leather dog collar should fit your long coated dog beautifully. They are designed for dogs with long coats such as Wheaten Terrier, Bearded Collie, Yorkshire Terrier, and Afghan Hound. Again, they don’t have to be made with leather, but leather is the best material and the most durable one. Rolled collars are thinner than flat collars. They also weigh less. They look more like a rope. The structure of the rolled collar gives it its strength.
    • Puppy choke collar, choke chains as collars or prong collars. We are not really fond of these products and they are not recommended for daily use. These choke chains dog collars are best used by professionals and on strong breeds after a period of training, such as Rottweilers. They can also work on very high energy dogs like Boston Terriers. There are some alternative products or methods you can use to having choke chain collars, since these collars can hurt your dog and cause injuries if not handled properly.
      • Try other collars. Instead of using choke chains or methods that can hurt your dog, try to use other types of collars that are strong and sturdy. Dogs are very smart creatures, and they can quickly learn what you want them to do or not do. Just stay consistent and loving in your approach. Treat them to a treat when they do what is asked of them.
      • Get the help of a trainer. You can always enlist the help of a professional trainer in training your strong breed dog. Choose your trainer right, since different techniques may results in different behaviors. Remember, not all trainers are good and the dog training business is not regulated. So, make sure you ask around for a good trainer.

    RELATED: How To Humanely Crate Train A Puppy (Puppy Crate Training Tips).

    Choosing the best dog harness for your puppy

    A puppy dog harness is not a new concept.

    Harnesses originated from the culture of horses circa 1500 BC, back when kings and queens maintained chariots for wars and for hunting.

    These days, harnesses are mostly worn by guide dogs, but they have increased in popularity among dogs and puppies.

    Dog collars and harnesses are two very complementary products. One cannot work without the other.

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    Check price on Amazon

    • A dog harness for medium to large dogs. A good dog harness will give the dog comfort by taking off pressure from the dog’s trachea, which is the dog’s windpipe that helps in the breathing process. The harness goes on the body and not on the neck. You can choose different material harnesses, sizes, or color.
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    Check price on Amazon
    • A puppy harness for small dogs. Your puppy may need a small dog harness. Some harnesses are designed and labeled as easy walk harness or puppy harness that are only suited for small dogs. A good dog harness should allow enough space between the dog harness and your dog to prevent rubbing injuries and soreness, especially for a small dog. It will facilitate what is called as a ‘no pull dog harness’ function that eases the pressure on your dog’s neck. Try to steer away from thin material, and get a padded harness that has a bit of thickness to it. This ensures that your four legged friend is snug and comfortable.

    Choosing the best dog leash for the size of your dog (or puppy)

    Puppy leashes should be easy to choose.

    Feel free to decide on whatever you like in terms of style but you don’t want to forget that durability and quality are extremely important.

    You also want to make sure that your puppy has a comfortable leash that they can work with. You may want to buy two leashes instead of one. You can always keep one handy, just in case you need it.

    Keep in mind that a 3/8 inch leash (9 cm) may be best suited for a small 10 pound (4.5 kg) Yorkshire Terrier, and not a 145 pound (65 kg) Great Dane.

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    Check price on Amazon

    Leather leashes for dogs. Leather leashes for small dogs can be more comfortable to work with than other types of collars for puppies. They are the durable and sturdy.

    They will feel softer and they are well worth the extra few dollars. You want the best leash for your dog that money can buy.

    Make sure you purchase the correct size for your dog, one that will grow as your four legged pooch grows. Remember, you are the parent of this amazing creature, and you want the best for them.

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    Check price on Amazon

    Nylon dog leashes. Although a nylon dog leash usually looks flimsy, it can still work as a starter leash for your puppy.

    However, it should not be a permanent way to secure your dog.

    If you have a small puppy, then you can get away with getting a good nylon leash, at least temporarily.

    If the puppy is strong, they can pull the leash from your hand and you could get hurt along the way.

    Since nylon leashes are fairly inexpensive you may want to purchase multiple leashes at a time.

    Retractable dog leashes. These retractable leash products are designed to extended and then to retract back, allowing your dog to wander off without totally disappearing.

    Retractable dog leash- Check price on Amazon
    Retractable dog leash- Check price on Amazon

    Although there are some good retractable leashes available, just make sure you are aware that even a good retractable leash can be dragged through by your dog, tangled, and sometimes wrapped around trees or bushes.

    The key to avoiding injuries or entanglements is to choose the right size retractable leash.

    You want to choose the retractable length wisely, or choose a product that is tangle free. If you choose a regular retractable leash, make sure it’s not too long and not too short.

    Are you sure you have the right size leash? A small retractable leash that can extend to 10 feet (3 meters) can be best for a Greyhound size dog (about 9 pounds, or 4.5 kg or so), but will not work for bigger dogs.

    Choosing the right size leash for puppies

    If you’re unsure of what size leash to get your dog or puppy, follow these guidelines.

    • Small breeds. Choose a 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch wide leash (1.27 cm or 1.6 cm).
    • Medium breeds. Choose a 5/8 or 3/4 inch wide leash (1.6 cm or 1.9 cm).
    • Large breeds. Choose a 1 inch wide leash (2.5 cm).

    READ MORE: 10 Rules For Choosing The Best Dog Toys & Safe Dog Chew Toys.

    The bottom line on securing your puppy and dog

    It can be nerve wrecking securing your dog to make sure that they don’t wander off and get lost.

    Even with being super cautious, there’s a slim chance that one day you might get separated from your dog for one reason or another. In this case you want a higher probability of finding your dog.

    You want to make sure that your four legged friend is returned to you safe and sound. It will be wise to get prepared by having the proper identification and supporting safety products that include ID tag, chip, collar, leash, and harness ready for your dog as soon as possible.

    Be well little doggie.