Registering your Dog in New York City

Written by Small Door's medical experts

Did you know that you must register your dog for a license if you live in New York City? Your dog’s license is a metal tag that you keep on their collar. It can help find your dog if they’re lost, and it has other legal benefits when living in NYC.

Do I have to register my dog in NYC?

Yes, it’s the law. The New York Department of Health requires that all dogs in NYC have a license that is attached to their collar when in public.

Other benefits of registering your dog

If your dog is lost, it can help locate them. When your dog has a license, it can be used to help safely return them to you in the event of an emergency.

Your dog can go off-leash. With a license and proof of rabies vaccination, your dog can legally be off leash at dog runs and parks. Note that some parks only allow off-leash dogs at certain times. Search the NYC Parks website for details.

Support local dogs. The cost of your dog’s license is put towards helping shelters and spay and neuter programs.

The law states that all dogs in NYC have a license that is attached to their collar when in public.

How can I register my dog in NYC?

To get your dog a license, the process is relatively simple and quick. You can create an account for a dog license and apply online. You can also view the instructions to apply for a dog license.

To get a paper copy of the application and apply via mail, call 311.

Before your dog’s license is about to expire, you’ll receive a notice in the mail to renew it.

How much does it cost to register my dog in NYC?

The cost to register your dog depends on their age and their spay or neuter status:

  • Dogs who are spayed or neutered: $8.50 per year

  • Dogs over four months old who are not spayed or neutered: $34 per year

  • Dogs under four months old who are not spayed or neutered: $8.50 for their first year

If you have any questions about registering your dog, as a Small Door member you can reach us 24/7 on our mobile app.

Do I need to register my cat in NYC?

No. Cats do not need to be registered or licenced in New York City. However, all cats must be vaccinated against rabies, even if they are indoor-only. We also strongly recommend that all cats (both indoor and outdoor) are microchipped and wear an ID tag on a breakaway collar, to help reunite you with them if they get lost.

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