More and more cities are requiring owners to license and microchip their pets. While this can seem invasive, tedious, or unimportant, we’re here to tell you that it is absolutely worth it to license and microchip your dog!
Here are just a few situations where microchipping and licensing have come in clutch for dog owners:
- Nico, who was returned to his owner after going missing four years earlier. Vets believe Nico was scrounging the streets for survival for years before wandering into the backyard that would eventually lead him home. A vet scanned Nico and discovered the microchip. They were able to reunite Nico with his owner soon after.
- Cedar, who was taken from her Florida home and then found by a cop two years later and 2000 miles away in Colorado. She is now living her best life with her original family.
- Shaggy was reunited with his family eight years after he got loose from his yard.
Meanwhile, states from Maine to California and everywhere in between are encouraging owners to avoid fines by licensing their dogs. But here are the major reasons licensing is so important:
- Licensing promotes and helps reunite dogs and owners. Licensing reduces the number of dogs in shelters, thereby creating space for truly homeless pets and reducing euthanization rates.
- Animal shelters operate on unbelievably tight budgets. The money you spend on licensing goes towards paying animal services employees. Additionally, it helps provide much-needed resources for shelters.
If you’re wondering whether you should license and microchip your dog, consider these benefits for you and your dog.
Why you should absolutely license and microchip your dog
Reduce chances of euthanization
While shelters look for you, you have more time to look for your dog. You can check your dog’s microchip number at petmicrochiplookup.org to see the last place they were scanned.
According to a study, microchipped dogs are 2.5% more likely to be returned to owners while microchipped cats are 20x more likely to be returned. Without identification, your dog could be adopted by another family or worse, euthanized.
Avoid big fines
Cities require licensing to reduce the number of pets in the animal control system. In Los Angeles, all dogs older than four months must be both licensed and micro-chipped. Chips are permanent. Licenses last for one-year or three-year intervals.
Unlicensed dogs can receive a hefty fine. For example, Santa Monica residents can face fines of up to $300 for unlicensed dogs. Visit LA Animal Services for more details.
Support your local animal shelter
City animal control agencies depend on annual donations to meet their budget. The money you spend on licensing supports caring for and feeding lost dogs as well as the wages for shelter workers. Donate to LA Animal Services.
Prevent the spread of rabies
In order to get register their pet, owners must provide proof of their dog’s rabies vaccines. Therefore, licensing helps prevent the spread of rabies. License tags also let other owners know that your dog has been vaccinated and is safe to play with.
Get your dog back
Microchips can not be lost, falsified or altered! Vets and shelters routinely scan pets for microchips. A microchip is your permanent proof of ownership.
So even if your dog has been “lost” for years, your registration information will provide instant proof of ownership. Since dogs aren’t always scanned right away, registration tags are the first indication that your dog has an owner. So having both is key!
License & Microchip Your Dog
Both licensing and microchipping are easy to obtain and relatively affordable.
Microchips usually cost a one-time fee of $45. Although microchipping seems like an invasive process, it is a minimal procedure done in seconds. To find microchip clinics in LA, check out our guide here.
Licensing costs vary by city. In Los Angeles, it cost $20 annually. Some dog owners may be eligible for a discount. Service and guide dogs are usually free to license, breeders and multi-dog owners may be able to apply for a “kennel license” that apply to all of their pups, and you may be able to purchase a “lifetime license” with a one-time payment covering a dog throughout its lifetime!
Licenses can be purchased by mail or at your local animal care center. Contact your local animal control agency to find out their microchip clinic schedule.
Sources: L.A. County Department of Animal Care & Control, Found Animals
Originally published 7/2/2019. Last updated 2/27/2020.