One of your first responsibilities as a new pet owner is to get your pet licensed with your local county. However, there are many pet owners every year who choose not to register their pet. If you're undecided about registering your pet, this FAQ may help you make up your mind.
Q: What is pet licensing?
A: Pet licensing is the process of registering your pet with your local county. Although practices can vary from county to county, registered pets are often given identification numbers and identifying tags that are to be worn at all times.
Q: What are the advantages of licensing my pet?
A: In many communities, licensing is mandatory for many types of pets. Licensing your pet ensures that he or she has the full protection of your local government. The primary advantage of this protection is the quick return of your pet, should he or she become lost. Licensed pets wearing their tags can be identified and their owners can be contacted when the pet is picked up by animal control services. Even if your local pound is unable to contact you soon after picking up your pet, authorities will generally take longer to euthanize a registered pet than they would take to euthanize an unregistered animal.
In addition, many local governments will help you reclaim your registered pet if he or she is stolen. If your pet is unregistered, your local government will likely not help you because they won't be able to prove ownership of your pet.
Q: What are the requirements for registering my pet?
A: This varies by county, but standard requirements include supplying proof of vaccination, filling out a form and paying a fee. Before you can register your pet, speak with a veterinarian about getting the required pet vaccinations for your community. Your pet's veterinarian will know which shots are required for your county and can provide proof once the shots are administered.
Q: How long do I have to register my pet?
A: You can register your pet at any time after taking ownership of the animal. The longer you wait, the more risk you take that your pet will become lost and will not be returned to you.
Q: What kinds of pets need to be registered?
A: Cats and dogs are the standard animals to be registered in many counties. If you own a pet besides a cat or dog, check with your local county government, or ask your pet's veterinarian if your pet should be registered.
Registration may increase the possibility of your pet's safe return in the event that he or she becomes lost. For more information about the registration of your pet, speak with your county government.