From a registration paper to a metal tag, pet licenses come in many forms. While the regulations vary between city, county, and state, pet licenses in some form are required all over the U.S. While it can be mildly annoying to apply and pay the registration fees, pet licenses are for the benefit of all animals. 

Why Are Pet Licenses Important? 

A pet license is granted by your city or county and gives you permission to own a particular animal. While we often think of them for animals such as snakes, exotic birds, chickens and other pets of that nature, they are most commonly for dogs and cats.

There are several reasons why pet licensure is important, and why it is being enforced more often. 

  1. It’s the law in most places. Failure to get a pet license could result in fines. For example, in Maricopa County, you risk a 6-dollar fine every 30 days if you do not license your dog—that’s over $70 a year in fines. Licenses for other pets, like cats, may be less expensive, while licenses for exotic animals usually cost more. 
  2. It helps ensure that the local pet population is up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Rabies is a deadly disease that can be spread to humans, and it can be difficult to diagnose until it is too late.
  3. Licenses can help locate lost pets and get them back home sooner. Records of local pets are checked when a stray is brought in to the local humane society. Maricopa County will often drive your pet home the same day, saving you a trip to the shelter. If they can’t reach you, the county will also shelter your pet for up to 24 hours, free of charge.
  4. Depending on the county, Arizona pet licenses also give you the option for your dog to be quarantined at home if they bite someone. Veterinary or shelter quarantines can sometimes cost over a hundred dollars a day. 
  5. Most licensing fees go directly to caring for shelter animals, like in Maricopa County. 

How to Get a License for Your Pet 

Pet license laws vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city. For example, in Maricopa County, it is the law that all dogs, 3 months and older, must be licensed. 

The best way to figure out the law in your area is to check on your local government’s website. Pet license requirements are usually listed under the animal control section. It is important to check if you need a license for your pet because going without one can lead to fines.

Next, you need to gather documentation. Typically, you will need:

  • A rabies certificate and/or health appraisal from a vet
  • Microchip information
  • General information about your pet
    • Name
    • Age
    • Description
    • Special Characteristics 
    • List of need-to-know medical information (history of seizures, etc) 
  • Your contact information and current address 
  • Payment for the license (or financial hardship paperwork, if applicable)

Wellness Exams and Rabies Vaccinations in Maricopa County

Does your new pet have a license yet? Getting your rabies vaccination or health appraisal paperwork for an Arizona pet license does need to be complicated. Our team of skilled veterinarians and technicians can make your visit as easy as a walk in the park. Contact East Valley Animal Hospital today to set up an appointment. 




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/10/23). Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.