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Dog Licensing

Photo of a dog drinking water

Dog licenses are issued by the Animal services program. Dog owners must show proof that their pets have had rabies and distemper shots and renew their dog’s license each year. Get more information about licensing requirements, fees, and procedures below.

Legal Requirements

The DC Code 8-1804 reads as follows:

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the annual license fee for a dog is as follows:

  1. No fee for a dog trained to aid the audio-handicapped or blind and actually used for that purpose;
  2. $15.00 for a male dog certified by a licensed veterinarian as either neutered or incapable of enduring neutering;
  3. $15.00 for a female dog certified by a licensed veterinarian as either spayed or incapable of enduring spaying; and
  4.  $50.00 for all other dogs.

Application/Processing Requirements

The District of Columbia has introduced our new on-line dog licensing system.

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

  • Please complete your on-line application with current information.
  • 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.

Online Dog License Application

Because all licenses for dogs that are licensed in the District of Columbia must be renewed on or before June 30 of each year, the dog owner is responsible for annually renewing the license.  Each dog over four months old must have his/her own license.  Owners with five or more dogs over four months old must also have obtained a valid hobby license prior to obtaining license renewals for each owned dog.

Prior to the expiration of the then current license, the Animal Services Program will send each owner a renewal notice in the mail.  There is an annual license fee for the renewal, which is currently the same as the initial license fee. 

A completed license renewal application must include the following information:

•     Proof of valid rabies and distemper vaccinations.

•     Proof of sterilization (spaying or neutering) or proof of certification by DOH that the sterilization requirement has been waived.

On-Line Dog License Renewal

By Mail

Please forward the required information and a check or money order made out to DC Treasurer to:

Department of Health
P.O. Box 37804
Washington, DC 20013

In Person

  • Please bring the required information to the address above Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.
  • Please call the number above to arrange any special provisions for special needs applicants.

DC Dog & Dog Park Application

Veterinary Clinics (new licenses only)* 

Don’t see your veterinarian listed? Call and ask them to participate in the dog licensing program!

Humane Rescue Alliance Medical Center
71 Oglethorpe St., NW
Washington, DC 20011

Call  (202) 726- 2556 for more information

* DC Official Code § 3-512.02 allows licensed veterinarians to collect an additional $2 fee as reimbursement for administrative costs associated with Dog Licensing.

Dog License Application

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: 
899 North Capitol Street, NE