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Dog Licensing

Photo of a dog drinking water

Dog licenses are issued by the Division of Animal Services.  To obtain a dog license, an owner must show proof of a valid rabies and distemper vaccination.  DC law requires dog licenses to be renewed annually.  More information regarding how to obtain a valid license can be found below.

Legal Requirements

The DC Code 8-1804 reads as follows:

(b) An owner who has a dog over the age of four months shall before July 1st of each year, or within 10 days of acquiring the dog, or within 10 days after the dog becomes four months of age, obtain an annual license. An owner shall ensure that his dog wears a collar and a license.
(c) Before any annual license may be issued, the owner of the dog shall have the dog vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and shall pay any outstanding fines.
(e) The annual license fees for dogs are as follows:
     (1) No fee for a dog trained as a service animal and actually used for the purpose of assisting a person with a physical or sensory impairment, such as a vision or hearing impairment;
     (2) $15 for a male or female dog certified by a licensed veterinarian as neutered or spayed or certified as incapable of enduring spaying or neutering; and
     (3) $50 for all other dogs.
     (Incapable as in unable to do or achieve due to a medical condition that would prohibit the ability to have the procedure of spay/neuter done in its lifetime)

Application/Processing Requirements

Please read and follow the instructions below carefully. A correctly completed application will expedite the issuance of your dog license.

• Please complete your online application with current information.
• Please provide your complete mailing address including the apartment/unit number (if applicable)
• Proof of rabies and distemper vaccinations is required.
• Proof of sterilization (spaying or neutering) is required.
• Each dog over four months old must have his/her own license.
• Owners with seven or more dogs over four months old must apply for a hobby license.
• Please allow our office 4 to 6weeks to receive, review and process each application.

License Renewal

Prior to the expiration of your license, the Division of Animal Services asks that all owners submit renewal applications (30) days before the expiration date. The initial licensing fee and the renewal fee are the same.

A completed license renewal application must include the following:

• Proof of valid rabies and distemper vaccination
• Proof of sterilization (spaying or neutering) or proof of certification by DC Health that the sterilization requirement has been waived

Dog license renewal applicants will not receive a new dog tag. Your previous dog tag number remains valid. If you have lost your old dog tag, please submit a ‘lost dog tag application’. The fee is $5 for a replacement tag.

All dog owners are responsible for annually renewing the license. Each dog over four months old must have his/her own license. Owners with seven or more dogs over four months old must also obtain a valid hobby license prior to obtaining license renewals for each owned dog. 


DC Health’s online dog licensing application system is now LIVE. (See link below.)

DC Health, Health Regulation and Licensing Administration (HRLA) is excited to announce the opening of our new online dog licensing system.  Effective immediately, all dog owners in the District are required to submit their dog registration or renewal applications by going to the below link and submitting an online application. 

Please enter your complete address that must include your street address, quadrant (NW, NE, SE or SW), zip code and apartment/unit number, if applicable. 

Please note that you will not receive your dog tag if your address is incomplete. While creating your account, please use the mailing address where you would like to receive your dog tag.

HAVE QUESTIONS? Please reach out to Division of Animal Services and
Vet Board Health Licensing Specialist Sahar Majid at email: 
[email protected] for your dog licensing inquiries.  


Contact Phone: 
(877) 672-2174
Contact Fax: 
(202) 727-8471
Contact TTY: 
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:45 pm
Service Location: 

Health, Department of

GIS Address: 
2201 Shannon Place SE