How Much Does it Cost to Register a Dog?

Dog registration is the procedure of getting paperwork for pet owners that serve as proof that they are the lawful owner of the dog.

In most cities, the law requires the owner to have the dog licensed. If a city official finds you with your dog not registered, you will be fined, and this can be more expensive than the registration fee.

Registering your dog comes with a tag that your dog should always have on its collar. On that tag, you should have the license identifying number of the dog, its name, the owner’s name, and contact information. In case a dog is missing and found by someone, the individual can go to the nearest veterinary facility to identify it and its owner, through the unique license identifying number. However, not registering your dog will decrease the chances of finding him, if lost.

How Much Does it Cost to Register a Dog?

The cost range for registering your dog is anywhere from $10 up to $60 per year, depending on your geographical location and local taxes, whether your dog is spayed or neutered, the dog’s age, and other factors. For example, to license a puppy that has no more than 5 months is somewhere from $10 to $15, usually. The cost will also be influenced by your location.

You will find in the table below, the range of costs for registering a dog, in different cases:

Type of License Cost per Year
Male/Female (non-neutered) $34 to $60
Spayed or Neutered $15 to $25
Puppy $10 to $15
Service dog No charge

Take into consideration that the cost of registering a dog will heavily depend on your geographical location, being based on the local taxes.

In the table below, we compiled several costs from different cities around the United States:

Calhoun County, MI $13.50 $27
Chesapeake, VA $4 $10
Clackamas County, OR $30 $50
Clerk, CHI $5 $50
Colorado Springs, CO $15 $30
Dover, NH $7 $10
Lincoln, NE $25 $50
Louisville, KY $10 $60
Manchester, NH $8 $14
Miami-Dade County, FL $30 $60
Minneapolis, MN $30 $80
Nassau County, NY $10 $23
Orange County, California $38 $159
Pima County, AZ $20 $65
Riverside, California $16 $100
San Bernardino, CA $24 $96
Winnebago County, IL $30 $50
York County, PA $4.50 $6.50

These costs are from the official website of each city, at this time of publishing.

Consider contacting your local official institution to get a more accurate quote.

Registering a dog overview

In most cities, registering your dog is mandatory by law, as we stated above.

Cities laws state that the puppy must be registered until four to six months from birth, at most or at a maximum of 30 days after you become the owner. The puppy’s age registration limit depends on your local law.

Registration means proof of the legal existence of the dog and the validation of your ownership. The licensing can be done by completing an online form on your local official county website, or by completing a paper form at the local county licensing department.

In order to find your local registration department, search online for ”your city name + dog registration” to find the form you have to fill out or to see the address of the facility. Some cities provide the possibility to license your dog at veterinary offices or approved shelters.

On this form, you will write the dog’s name, date of birth, the dog’s vaccines, as well as your name and contact information. After completing it and paying the fee, a tag will be received, which will have to be attached to your dog’s collar every time he is outside.

The specific tag should have a unique license-identifying number. In case the dog is lost, that ID will help to identify it and contact the owner. In order to find the owner, the dog must be taken to a vet clinic or authorized shelter, where personnel can access the specific information.

What are the extra costs aside from this fee?

Once the dog is registered, the license must be renewed every year. Usually, if you pay by card, every year the fee will be automatically deducted.

As we stated above, the puppy must be registered until four to six months from birth or within 30 days from when you received him. If this requirement is not accomplished, a late fee of $2 to $60 or more can be charged, depending on your geographical location. For instance, Cesar’s Way mentioned that this fee may go up to $200.

Generally, the fee for an unspayed or unneutered dog is more expensive than for a spayed or neutered dog. As we listed in the table above, you will see that there is a large difference between the fees.

In order to receive the license, the animal must be up to date with the required rabies vaccination and other vaccinations as well. If not, the vaccines will be an extra cost to consider. For example, a rabies vaccine can cost $15 to $60.

You might also like our article about AKC registration for a dog.

Moving from one city to another will require you to renew your dog license which means paying a renewal of license fee.

Registering a pedigree dog may come with some extra costs.

Important things about this dog license

How to Register a DogTypically, an individual can register up to three dogs in the same household. However, there may be cities that have different restrictions. Ensure to check with your local department to see the legal number that they approve.

Keep your dog’s health record up to date. One of the requirements of registering your dog is to have all the needed treatments and vaccinations up to date.

Most cities consider the lack of license for your dog, a class IV misdemeanor.

Not having your dog registered, may make it harder for you to find him, if missing. Also, in the worst-case scenario, if the dog ends up in an animal shelter and the owner can’t be found in the next three to seven days, it may be euthanized.

There may be cities that will charge more when you forward the form online.

Saving money on animal registration

Service dogs can usually be registered free of charge.

Private organizations usually charge more. So, consider registering your dog at your local registration office provided by the government.

Check with your local department to see if they offer any discounts. For example, some local counties will offer a discounted fee for persons over 62 years old.

Depending on your location and city’s regulations, you may be able to procure a lifetime license. With this possibility, you may save up to 50 percent. Another option provided by several counties is that you can pay for two to five years of license at once. This will help you to save up to 30 percent.

Keep in mind that registering your dog on time will save money from a potential fine for lacking a license.

If you are a breeder, consider applying for a kennel license. This will allow you to register a specific number of dogs per year and may be more affordable.

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