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Boston Dog License Requirements and How to Apply

Dog owners in Boston know that their furry friends are more than just pets - they’re family members. And that’s why it’s essential to ensure that your pup is properly vaccinated and licensed. 

Complying with Boston dog license requirements ensures that your dog is adequately vaccinated and increases your pup’s chances of finding its way home should it ever become lost or separated from you for some reason.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the requirements for obtaining a dog license in Boston and provide step-by-step instructions on how to apply. So whether you’re a new dog owner in the Boston area or simply need a refresher, here’s everything you need to know.

What is a Boston Dog License?

In Boston, a dog license is a legal document that identifies your dog as belonging to you. It also serves as proof that your dog has met certain health and vaccination requirements. 

Is a City of Boston Dog Licensed Required?

Yes, a dog license is required by state law for all dogs over the age of six months who live in the state of Massachusetts, including the City of Boston. Failure to license your dog by the annual deadline of April 1 can result in penalties such as fines and other legal consequences.

Why do I Need a Dog License in Boston?

There are several reasons why you need a dog license if you live in the City of Boston. First, Boston requires that all dogs have a current rabies vaccination, and a license is only issued after the owner has provided proof of vaccination from a licensed veterinarian. This helps to protect both your dog and the rest of the community.

Another important reason to obtain a dog license in Boston is that it provides identification for your furry friend and increases the chances that it will be returned to you if it’s ever lost or separated from you. 

Without a license, it can be difficult to prove that your dog belongs to you, and you may have a harder time getting your dog back if it’s picked up by animal control or taken to a shelter. Additionally, having proof of ownership is essential for reclaiming your dog if it’s ever stolen.

Requirements for a Dog Licence in Boston

You must meet minimal requirements to obtain a dog license in Boston, but they are designed to keep your dog and the community safer. Specifically, your dog must be at least six months old and have proof of an up-to-date rabies vaccination provided by a licensed vet.

While it’s not a requirement to have your dog spayed or neutered to obtain a license, it is highly encouraged. Therefore, you will receive a significant discount on your license fee if you provide proof that your dog is spayed or neutered. This extra incentive is put in place to help reduce the number of unwanted animals in shelters.

Dog licenses in the City of Boston must be renewed annually by April 1 of each year. If you’re renewing an existing license, you’ll need to provide the current license number as well as the paperwork mentioned above.

Where Do I Get a Dog License in Boston, Massachusetts?

To obtain a dog license in Boston, you can visit the City of Boston’s website or go to the city’s Animal Care and Contol Division in person. The website provides detailed information about the licensing process and walks you through the process of applying for a Boston dog license online.

Once you’ve obtained a dog license for your furry friend, it’s important to keep the license up to date by renewing it every year. You should also ensure that your dog wears its license tag at all times. This helps to ensure that your dog is properly identified and prevents legal issues associated with unlicensed dogs.

How Do I Apply for a Boston Dog License?

To apply for a new dog license or renew an existing license in Boston, simply follow these steps:

  1. Visit the City of Boston’s website or go to one of the city’s animal control offices in person to obtain the dog license application form. 

  2. Fill out the application form completely and accurately. You’ll need to provide your dog’s name, breed, age, gender, spay/neuter status, and your contact information.

  3. Provide your dog’s current rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. You’ll also need to provide proof that your dog is spayed or neutered, if applicable.

  4. Submit your application online, by mail, or in person and pay the licensing fee.

  5. Receive your dog’s license tag and registration document. Be sure to attach your dog’s license tag to its collar to identify them as a responsible member of the Boston community.

How Much Does a Boston Dog Registration Cost?

The cost of a Boston dog registration or license varies depending on several factors. At the time of this writing, dog licensing fees in Boston are as follows:


  • Intact dog (not spayed or neutered), six months or older: $30

  • Spayed or neutered dog, six months or older: $15

  • Residents over 70 years old with a spayed or neutered dog, six months or older: $5

  • Service dog: No fee

Depending on the circumstances, additional fees may be required for late registration or replacement tags. It’s also important to note that licensing fees are subject to change, so you should check the City of Boston’s website or contact the animal control office directly for the most up-to-date information. 

In Conclusion

In summary, all city dog owners in the Boston area must license their dogs by April 1st of each year. To obtain a dog license, your dog must be six months or older and have a current rabies vaccination certificate. If your dog needs a rabies vaccine, visit one of our convenient locations throughout the Boston area.

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