Cleaning Your Tag

How to “refresh” your Canine Habits tag

Every dog owner knows our Canines are not exactly easy on their gear. Although I am constantly looking for ways to extend the life of my tags, basically everything dogs do works to wear them out. If your pooch scratches at his collar, shakes regularly, or plays in water, you’ve probably found the dark coloring that makes tags more readable wears out long before your tag ever does. Even the natural oils that keep your dog’s coat healthy will work to break down the coloring on her tag!

Luckily there are a few things you can do to get as much life out of your tags as possible - and it shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes!

What you'll need:

  • Your pet's tag
  • Option 1 - A fine abrasive material (I use a scotchbrite pad, but you can use super fine steel wool or sandpaper)
  • Option 2 - Rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball/pad
  • Permanent ink (sharpie works well)
  • Pliers (optional)


 how to clean your pet tag

Step 1:

Remove your tag from your pet’s collar. It’s not impossible to clean your tag while it’s attached, but it’s much easier if you remove it. This is where the needle nose pliers come in handy!

This is also a good time to make sure your connector is in good shape! If you see any gap forming, bending, or warping make sure you replace the connector.

Step 2:

Sand down your tag completely with your abrasive material. I prefer to sand back and forth for a brushed look, but it doesn’t matter! You just want to make sure you remove anything that has built up on the tag. Don't worry about any leftover color in the stamped areas, since that's what we're darkening.

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Option 1

Step 3:

Mark in the stamped areas with your permanent ink. Let it dry completely.


Step 4:

Use your abrasive (lightly) to rub away the ink. If you press too hard you might remove the color from the impressions too. If this does happen, no problem! Just touch up any spots and repeat the process.


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Option 2

Please note that this may produce an all-over darker color to your metal (especially brass and bronze).

Step 3:

Completely color in the tag with the permanent ink. 

Step 4:

Lightly wet your cotton pad with rubbing alcohol (you don't need much). Wipe down the tag. This can be a little messy, so you may want to wear gloves to protect your hands from the ink. To make the metal brighter, let the tag dry and then wipe it down a second time.

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Step 5: Reattach your tag!

If you were using a smaller split ring to attach to the larger connector, I recommend leaving this off at this point. Chances are the smaller ring has taken a lot of wear, and this is always the first piece to wear out. If you prefer the way it looks, just make sure you use pliers to tweak the ring back into shape with no gaps in the wire.


Repeat as needed!