Should I get my dog licensed?

Should I get my dog licensed?

You need a license to drive a car, get married, and to practice certain professions. Most people don’t question this, but the idea of getting a license to have a dog may raise eyebrows for some.

Being a pet owner is a big responsibility. With all the costs associated with caring for a pet (food, vet visits, toys and other miscellaneous expenses), it may be tempting to forego the yearly licensing fee. Don't do it! Here are 5 compelling reasons to license your dog.

Licensing your dog in Arizona is legally required

Arizona, like most states, require owners to get their dogs licensed. Owners in Arizona need to license all dogs three months and older. The law also requires dogs to get a rabies vaccination to get the license. Owners must apply for an application within 15 days of vaccination. Failure to do so is a class 2 misdemeanor, resulting in the owner paying a penalty if caught.

Fees for the license depends on where you reside. Fees are waived for service animals, but owners need to provide proper documentation. Cats are not required to be licensed.

Increase your chances of recovering a lost dog

Many owners view their dogs as beloved family members, and the thought of losing them is devastating. Licensing your dog makes it easier to get your dog back if he or she gets lost and is picked up and taken to a community shelter.

Shelters make every effort to contact owners of lost pets whose contact information is readily available. Another benefit you receive if your licensed dog gets lost and winds up at a shelter — they are likely to care for it longer if they cannot reach you immediately, and the costs to house the animal are less. Maricopa County Animal Control does not charge a fee at its shelter for the first 24 hours for a lost dog with a current license.

Grooming and boarding

Getting a dog license shows that your dog has a rabies vaccination. Groomers and pet boarding establishments want to ensure the safety of their staff and all the dogs in their care. Therefore, most groomers and pet boarding establishments will not accept dogs without proof of vaccinations.

Fees help keep shelters going

Sometimes fees goes toward funding the work of the Animal Control Department in your county or city, which enables them to keep, house, feed, and provide veterinary care for more animals.

Ease of getting the license & discounts

You don’t need to leave your home to apply for a new dog license, or to renew one. Most licensing bodies allow you to apply online or give you the ability to download an application and email it. Pima County offers discounts to low income owners. If you don’t live in Pima county, check with yours to see if they offer discounts and what the requirements are to see if you qualify.

Tip: If you change your phone number or address before your current dog license expires, don't forget to update your information, which can be done online.

When getting a new dog, licensing may not be one of the very first things you think about, but it’s important. While there are costs to licensing your dogs, the cost of not doing so can be far greater.

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