In the course of learning about USB flash drive dog tags, I came across this suggestion for an alternative way of ensuring that your lost dog makes it home or is otherwise cared for: Buy a domain name for your dog (e.g., www.spot.com). The cost of a domain name varies with the ending you choose; the useful and appropriate ending .info is currently very inexpensive — no more than about $5 a year. Put the domain name on your dog’s ID tag — if there’s room on the tag, consider a phrase like “If I’m lost, visit www.spot.com.”
(Spot.com, by the way, is not available, and most one-word domain names are taken. Try just your dog’s name, but be aware that you’ll likely do better with something like spotthedog.com or spotthedog.info. Go to my husband’s favorite domain registrar, Dynadot, to investigate different possibilities.)
Then you can create a site for your dog that’s as simple or complicated as you choose. At the simple end, the site could provide your current contact information. You could write a form for a finder to fill out that automatically gets sent to your e-mail account. You could scan in all of your dog’s medical records, and add pages of your own describing her background, training, habits and preferences — all of the information you’d like someone else to have if they need to assume responsibility for her care. You could create a page for your petsitter or a kennel to access, with up-to-date instructions about food, exercise and medications.
You can create a site, in fact, that’s as informative as a loaded flash drive dog tag. So which is better? Cost is not really a deciding point, since in about six years your domain name fees will catch up to the cost of a flash drive tag. I have to say that the domain name option seems simpler and a bit more dependable, since it doesn’t rely on a piece of hardware to work. I’ve bought a domain name for Chloe, and I’ll report someday on what we do with it.