Why You Should License Your Pet

In this post:

  1. Why you should license your dog
  2. How to license your dog

Being a dog owner comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is having your dog registered and licensed in your city. A pet license is yet another way to make sure your pet is protected if they become lost. It may seem like a chore and an unnecessary expenditure of money. However, licensing your dog has quite a few benefits!

Why you should license your dog

We all hope our dogs will stay in our yard and not run off, bite any animal, or worse a person, but despite these hopes, things happen that are out of our control. Unfamiliar places, people, and situations can all lead to your pet to bolt. Typical circumstances are storms, fireworks, and away from home pet boarding conditions. Unfamiliar people and animals may also scare frighten your dog into running away and even biting.

Most major cities require owners to license their pets. It is also required by law for you to keep the metal tag with your dog at all times. If you are out in public with your pet, perhaps taking Fido for a walk, there is a chance you could be asked to show your dog’s license. If you do not have it, you could face a decent-sized fine. As a general rule, you should always know what your cities pet regulations and laws are.

This law also helps your dog by keeping your dog safe. Most states have laws stating that stealing a licensed dog is against the law but this means that your unlicensed pet does not have the same protections. If your dog is dognapped, it may be difficult to get your pet back or even file a police report if your dog is not licensed.

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It keeps the public safe

You must prove that your dog is vaccinated in order to obtain a dog license. Knowing your dog has its license makes it easier for the staff at a grooming salon or boarding facility to be assured your dog is healthy. Vaccinated pets help keep diseases down in the community.

If your pet is loose and bites another animal or person, a license can save its lifeAuthorities tend to take unvaccinated dog bite more seriously than those done by vaccinated dogs.

It helps return your dog home

If your pet ever runs away, a city license can help bring them home safely. A licensed dog may be given more time to a shelter to find the owners than one that is unlicensed, so he is less likely to be put up for adoption or worse, euthanized if the shelter is full. Policies vary from county to county, but most unlicensed dogs may be euthanized at the department’s discretion with no effort made to find the owner, while laws protect a licensed animal – forcing the authorities to try to locate the pet’s owner. This could be the difference between life and death to your beloved pet.

Additionally, if your pet does run away and authorities catch them, there is a higher chance of a free ride home. A license provides the pet’s owner’s address. This can save you a very expensive stay at the local animal shelter.

It supports local shelters

The costs associated with licensing your pet usually help fund local animal shelters and services. The money can be used to maintain the shelter, feed the animals, provide discount vaccines and neutering services, etc.

By licensing your pet or renewing their license, you are literally supporting your local community and helping animals in need. Who doesn’t like that?

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How do I license my dog?

Luckily getting a license is pretty simple and pretty cheap. Simply search for your local pet licensing department. If you are having a hard time finding information, call your local animal shelter and they can put you in contact with the right people and get you information on the steps needed to get your dog licensed.

Pet licenses are anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars depending on the city or county, although unaltered pets may have higher fees. Most of these licenses must be renewed every year and require that your dog is up to date vaccinations, mostly the rabies vaccine.

Final Thoughts

Remember, there is no such thing as too much identification for your pet. Every pet owners’ goal should be to get their pets safely home if something happens. You are also helping support the local communities and above all, you are being a responsible pet owner.

Special thanks to:

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Normandy Park Police Department

The Normandy Park Police Department serves approximately 6,500 citizens over about 2.5 square miles in southwest King County, WA. The Normandy Park Police Department provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week patrol and emergency response service.

Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB
Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB is one of the founders of Wag Enabled (originally Why Does My Dog). Aly has a certificate in applied animal behavior through the University of Washington and is a certified veterinary assistant and AKC Evaluator. She aims to provide an unbiased perspective on dog training by providing practical, intelligent, and caring advice for people to impart on their canine companions