Do you need this $10 product to keep your dog safe?
It looks like your average dog tag, but it does much more.
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Dogs are an integral part of many families—and keeping tabs on them when you’re away from home is getting easier thanks to innovations like smart collars and pet cameras.
I’ve grown up with dogs my entire life. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the nightmare scenario of my dog escaping, however, since my dog stays inside most days unless we’re out for a walk. We have a fenced backyard to prevent her from running free and several Nest Outdoor Cams to track her if she decides to break free. Granted, she’s approaching 11 and I don’t think she’d take off without warning, but, still, it could happen.
So, when I found out about Wag’s “smarter dog tracker,” which stores emergency contact information and other important details you’d want someone to know about your missing dog, I was intrigued. Based on the name alone, I thought the dog tracker would actually track your dog’s location like the Fi Collar does, but that’s not quite how it works.
What is the Wag Tag?
The Wag Tag is a digital dog tag that replaces the one you might normally create like this Personalized Engraved Dog ID tag from Petco for $11.24. Released in September, the tag designed by Wag, a dog walking app that connects dog owners with dog walkers, retails for $9.95.
It offers access to imperative information about your dog, should they get lost, via a QR code printed on the back of the tag. As for size, it’s about as large as a 50-cent coin and feels like it weighs about the same as any other pet ID tag. And, since the tracker is basically a dog tag with a QR code, no batteries are needed to make it work.
How to use the Wag Tag
The Wag Tag requires the Wag App, available for download on iOS and Android devices. After scanning the back of the tag, set up your account and create a profile for your dog. You don’t want to skip this step because this is where you will log important details about your dog, including basic information like weight, breed, and age. There’s also a section to enter information about your dog’s vaccination history, contact details for your veterinarian, and more.
Use the camera app on your phone to scan the QR code. You’ll be directed to a link that tells you everything you need to know about your pet, which can be helpful if your pet gets out and is found by someone else.
If those who find your lost dog aren’t familiar with QR codes, the back of the tag says “scan if found” and also includes a link to the Wag Tag website.
How much is the Wag Tag?
The tag itself costs $9.95, but at the time of publication, you can get the tag for free as long as you pay the $2.95 shipping charge.
Wag includes its essential service plan free of charge when you purchase the ID tag. This includes access to all of the basic information like emergency contacts, secure drop-off locations, allergies, vaccinations, and more. Also included is access to the Lost Dog Guide service, which can offer helpful pointers about where to post information about your missing pup, who to alert, and more.
The other option is to pay $59.95 annually for a few extra features that Wag claims can "help find lost dogs faster." There's not a ton of explanation about the process, but your $60 annual payment alerts Wag dog walkers to be on the lookout for your missing pup, who will make flyers and post to lost dog platforms such as Pawboost and LostMyDoggie.
What we like
Unlike a traditional dog collar, which only has enough room for one, sometimes two, phone numbers, the Wag Tag lets you add other emergency contacts. I tried adding 10 emergency contacts and still had room for more. Sometimes I’m unreachable, due to work or my kids, and having more than a few back-up emergency contacts in my dog’s Wag Tag—including our veterinarian—means that someone I trust may be able to bring my dog home if I’m not able to respond.
There’s also a spot to leave notes about your dog that may be useful to whoever locates your lost pup. This sort of information—like enjoying belly rubs to ease anxiety or, if you’re my dog, refusing to drink water that’s been sitting out for a few hours—can be used to help your dog feel more relaxed in an unknown situation.
And, knowing more about the dog, such as their temperament and vaccination history, may even bring some peace of mind to the person who found your pooch.
Finally, one of the coolest features about the Wag Tag is the ability to use the platform to notify others that your dog is missing.
What we don’t like
Buying a dog tag at the pet store means that you get to choose the shape and color of the tag. However, the Wag Tag is only available in seafoam green with the company’s logo printed on the front. The aesthetics aren’t a huge make or break for me, but it would be nice to have some control over the color and design of the tag, like being able to add an image of my dog or customizing it with my dog’s name on the front of the tag instead of “Wag!”
The size of the tag is also something to take into consideration, too. While it looks just fine on my 47-pound English bulldog, it may appear too large and bulky on small breeds like Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers.
The tag also doesn’t track your dog’s movements like a smart dog collar. So, in the event that your dog gets loose, you won’t be able to use the tag to see where your dog is. I was hoping that the tag would offer some kind of tracking feature—even just the dog’s last known location, but it does not.
Is it worth it?
For $10? The Wag Tag is absolutely worth the cost. And, if you can snag it for free and only pay shipping, why not? At that price, it’s more affordable (and certainly won’t cost you any more) than buying a regular dog identification tag at a place like Petco or Petsmart.
Keeping your dog safe is a top priority for pet owners. So, it’s nice to know that if my dog ever escaped and I was unreachable, someone would be able to return her to our vet’s office or call one of the emergency contacts listed in the app. The tag goes above and beyond what a regular dog tag can do, but I’d love to see a tracking feature added to any future iterations of the Wag Tag.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.