Why do we engrave, rather than etch, our brass dog tags?

DrPaul -

Why do we engrave, rather than etch, our brass dog tags?

A question we often get asked is, “what’s the difference between deeply engraved and laser etched/shallow engraved tags?” To many people, it all sounds the same, and it can be hard to choose which is the best option for you. Especially when there are so many options available online.

In this blog, we discuss the differences in deeply engraved and etched brass dog tags, in relation to their legibility, durability, and cost, and why we choose to deeply engrave our brass dog tags.

Etched vs deeply engraved, what do they mean?

Etching involves ‘scratching’ the top layer off the surface of the brass. This is a quick process which leaves  your pet’s details on the tag, either with a laser, or a machine which you may find in a local pet shop.

Deep engraving carves out the desired lettering/shapes from the brass, leaving deep marks which can be infilled with paint (which we do). At Engraving Studios, we use state of the art techniques, to produce only the finest products featuring deep, crisp and durable lettering and artwork.


As many dog owners know, our pets are incredibly active, exploring their surroundings whether it be the muddiest of woodland to the roughest of seas. That’s why it’s really important that your dog’s ID tag can stand up to whatever life throws at it. 

As etched tags are only a shallow mark, abrasive materials such as salt water and scraping against bushes can result in letters fading. Not ideal if your pet goes missing. 

Deep mill engraving is incredibly resistant to such stresses, due to the depth of the lettering. Paired with our black infill, is sure to last no matter what your dog has in store!


Both etched and deeply engraved tags are legible and clear at the point of purchase. However, as previously mentioned, etched dog tags fade over time, resulting in the vital information on your pup’s tag becoming unreadable. If they are not replaced, and your dog becomes lost, it may result in a delay in being reunited. Something which can be stressful for you and your pet. 

As the lettering in deeply engraved tags are carved out of the brass, information is clear for the entire time you own your tags. The only time they would need replacing would be if your tag becomes lost or the information (such as address or phone number) changes. 


Whilst it is true that (normally) etched  brass dog tags are cheaper than their deeply engraved counterparts, their lack of durability means they have to be replaced more frequently. This means that opting for deeply engraved dog tags results in less money being spent in the long run. 

Convenience & speed

While it’s true that you can drive to a high street pet shop and immediately have a tag which has been shallow engraved, sometimes by a machine in front of your eyes; here at Engraving Studios we’ve worked hard for a number of years to develop just as convenient a process for our customers - meaning you can have deeply engraved tags delivered to your door, normally within 2 working days; plus free 1st class postage! 

Don't forget! Machines such as those you’ll find in your local pet shop only give the option of adding text to the front of your tag. Most of our deeply engraved brass pet tags have the option of two sided engraving, giving you even more choice and space.


Although etching techniques (such as the introduction of lasers) has advanced over the years, having worked within precision engraving for over 25 years, we know the deep engraving technique we use at Engraving Studios produces the best results for legibility, durability and longevity of  your dog tags. These factors are important to us, as well as our valued customers.

It’s why we don’t use laser etching or shallow engraving techniques and we never will.

Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who's worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK's busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.