Your kids have been begging for a pet forever, and you’ve recently decided that it’s time for your family to get a new addition — a dog! While everyone is excited for the new arrival, you’re wondering if you need to have a dog license. How much does it cost? Is it required? Where do you get one?
5 Benefits of Dog Licensing
- Comply With State Regulations
Dog licensing may be required in your town, and you could face a fine if your dog is not licensed. For example, in the City of Boston, unlicensed dog owners could be cited $50 for violating dog licensing laws for both the city and the state of Massachusetts.
The penalty and amount varies based on your location, but they are significantly higher than the cost of obtaining the license. Generally, licensing is required on a yearly basis and must begin when a puppy is about 4 to 6 months old.
- Prevent Rabies
To obtain a dog license, you must provide proof that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies. Keeping your pet up to date on all vaccinations is incredibly important as a responsible pet owner. Not only does this keep your dog safe, but, in the unfortunate event he gets lost, animal control or anyone else who comes upon your missing pooch will know he is safe to approach.
- Identify Your Pet
If your dog is lost, a license provides identification. Miami-Dade Animal Services states that licensing your dog will let people know your pet has a home. If someone finds your dog, she can be traced back to you, which will help her get home safe and sound quickly. Proper identification means a faster return to your family!
- Help Other Lost Animals
Oftentimes, the licensing fee you pay helps local animal control programs and services provide care for other animals. For example, in Placer County, California, money from dog licenses funds animal services. The animal services in your area can help find pets, care for them when they are found and — in a situation in which there may not be an owner — locate a new family for a dog or cat.
- Contribute to Spay/Neuter Funding
Along with helping lost animals, the profits from these licenses often fund spaying and neutering programs to prevent the overpopulation of dogs and cats.
Getting a License
Now that you know the reasons why getting a license is so important, where do you go to get one? The good news is the process of getting a dog license is actually quite simple! The best place to start is by contacting your local town or city government to see if licensing is required and how to start the process. Sometimes you can file for a license online, or you might just have a simple form to fill out at your local city hall.
In most cases, you will need to provide proof of a recent rabies vaccination as well as a spay or neuter certificate. The cost will vary based on your town, city or county, but the fee can range from $15 to $60. For animals who have been spayed or neutered, a discount often applies. Remember, your license must be renewed yearly with an up-to-date rabies vaccination.
Jacqueline LaVana lives in Boston and is the proud owner of Lola, a rescue cat.