How to Search for a Dog's Owner by Tag Number

A dog tag can help a lost pet go home again.
i Small dog image by Mat Hayward from

Any dog can get lost, but as long as he has a tag on his collar you can help him to go home again. It’s easiest if he has his name and address on his collar, but you can also find out where he belongs by using the tag number.

Step 1

Check the tag for the name and phone number of the organization that issued the tag. A dog license will have contact information for the city or the county, while a rabies tag will typically have contact information for the veterinarian who gave the shot. You can find the dog’s owner through any of these places.

Step 2

Write down the information from the tag, including the number. Also make a note of the dog’s sex, color and any obvious markings, as well as your best guess as to the dog’s breed.

Step 3

Look up the department of animal control or the health department in your area to see if it offers an online tag search. If so, enter the dog’s tag information on the search page to find the owner. Include the year the tag was issued or the shape and color of the tag. If there is no website, you’ll have to contact the organization by phone.

Step 4

Call the number on the tag and give the organization the tag number. If the phone number and the name of the organization are completely unreadable, start calling vets and shelters in the area and describe the tag. This may help you to track down where the tag came from. Often agencies have distinctive tag shapes or colors, and these usually vary by year.

Step 5

Ask the person at the vet’s office or licensing agency to give you the owner’s information. Typically he will provide this information if you have the dog’s tag number. Call the owner directly and tell her you have her dog. In most cases the owner will rush over immediately to reclaim her lost pet, and will thank you profusely for taking the trouble to rescue her dog and bothering to get in touch directly.

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