By law, every San Francisco resident owning, keeping, or having control of any dog over the age of four months must obtain a current San Francisco dog license. Licenses for cats are not required but are available as lifetime licenses.

Five reasons why licensing your dog should be a priority:

  1. If your dog is lost, a license tag on your dog’s collar is the fastest way to reunite you and your dog.
  2. Licensing shows that your dog is currently vaccinated for rabies.
  3. The fee paid for your dog license and license renewal helps to fund your city’s animal shelter. Licensing is a source of revenue for San Francisco Animal Care & Control.
  4. A dog license shows that you are a responsible dog guardian.
  5. It’s the law.

Obtaining a Dog License

Dogs over the age of four months must, by law, be licensed. Licenses are available that are valid for one-, two-, or three-year periods, depending on your dog’s rabies vaccination. New residents have 30 days to obtain a dog license after establishing residency; otherwise a late fee may be charged.

To apply for a dog license you must submit the following (Get Viewer – External Link):

  • A completed Dog License Application Form (fillable PDF).
  • A copy of your dog’s rabies vaccination certificate.The vaccination must be valid through the entire license period you choose.
  • License Fee. The fees are discounted if the dog has been spayed or neutered (certificate required), and/or if the dog owner/guardian is a senior citizen (proof of age is required).

Important: If you purchase the dog license at the shelter, you do not need to fill out the application; simply bring a government-issued photo ID and a current rabies certificate. You don’t need to bring your dog to the shelter.

With all the required documents, you can obtain your new or renewal dog license in person (see the list of locations), by mail, or ONLINE (External Link) with no additional fee by using one of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. If paying by mail, send your application,  a copy of the rabies certificate, and payment to: San Francisco Tax Collector, P.O. Box 7427, San Francisco, CA 94120-7427.

For any questions about obtaining or renewing a dog license, please visit the License Section (City Hall – Room 140), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or email

Dog License Renewal

To renew a dog license, follow the same procedures as obtaining a license. The dog license tag issued previously remains the same. Replacement tags are available.

Failure to renew 30 days after the expiration date will result in a late charge.

Young Dog Certificate

If you have a Young Dog Certificate because you adopted a dog between the ages of 2-4 months from the Department of Animal Care & Control, you may be able to exchange the certificate for a license without paying an additional fee. Please either mail or present the Young Dog Certificate and a copy of the dog’s rabies vaccination certificate and we will issue you a dog license that is valid through the expiration date of the original Young Dog Certificate.

Dog Tags and Fees

Dog tags are non-transferable and are valid for the lifetime and/or guardianship of the dog. No other tag will be issued unless the tag needs to be replaced. License fees vary for altered dogs, unaltered dogs, senior citizen owners, and whether the license is a 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year license.

Locations for Obtaining a License in Person

You can apply for a dog license with proof of a current rabies vaccination at the following locations:

San Francisco Animal Care & Control
1200 15th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 554-6364

Treasurer and Tax Collector
City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 140
San Francisco, CA 94102

Marina Pet Hospital
2024 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

VIP Grooming
4299 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114


Related Links:
Rabies/Microchip Clinic
License Fees