The San Francisco Department of Public Health requires that all dog owners vaccinate their pets against rabies and license their pet. Licensing DOES require up-to-date proof of your dog’s rabies vaccination.  For information on animal-related health codes please click here (External Link).

ACC Low-Cost Rabies/Microchip Clinics

San Francisco Animal Care & Control holds four Low-Cost Rabies and Microchip clinics each year at the shelter, 1200 15th Street, San Francisco, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm (first come, first served). The clinic enables you to renew or purchase a license, vaccinate your pet for rabies, and get them microchipped all at the same time. A microchip is not required by law but is an essential tool for identifying your pet if lost or stolen.

For clinic dates, see Community Events or the Events Calendar.

  • The cost of the rabies vaccination is $6 per animal.
  • Licensing costs vary depending upon whether or not the dog is spayed or neutered (senior pet owners receive a discount). Payment of licensing and rabies vaccine will be handled by SFACC. All animals must be at least 4 months of age.
  • Microchips are free to all San Francisco residents.

Note: There have been several positive rabid bats in San Francisco over the past few years. Because of this, all cats that are adopted or redeemed from SFACC are given a rabies vaccination. All adopted dogs are also given a rabies vaccination and all redeemed dogs must have a current rabies vaccination or are given one when they leave SFACC.

Five important things to know before and after your pet is vaccinated for rabies:

  1. The low-cost clinic does not include a physical examination of the animal.
  2. Before the veterinarian administers the vaccine you must notify the veterinary staff if your pet has had a previous vaccine reaction.
  3. Before leaving the vaccination clinic, notify the veterinary staff if your pet vomits, has trouble breathing, has diarrhea, begins to scratch excessively or develops any change in behavior that concerns you.
  4. The veterinary staff reserves the right not to vaccinate any animal in the event that the animals does not appear to be in good health or for medical reasons cannot receive a vaccine at this time.
  5. If your pet becomes sick after leaving the clinic, please contact your local veterinarian for help.

Why Microchip Your Pet?

Pets are curious and prone to explore their surroundings; they are also natural escape artists. Sometimes, the will to wander takes our pets outside the boundaries of home. Microchipping provides your pet with a lifetime unique, permanent  identification number that is recognized in most countries around the world. Even if your pet stays indoors, unexpected events such as natural disasters, house fires, and other unplanned incidents often leave pets unprotected. By microchipping your pet and registering the microchip, you can drastically increase the chances of being reunited with your beloved pet if it is lost or separated from you.

Important: You must register the microchip yourself in order for the information to become active in the microchip system.

Microchip Registration

Microchipping is a reliable, permanent, one time service that helps give you peace of mind for your pet’s lifetime, but it only works f the microchipped pet is registered in a database such as PetLink. Without accurate registration associated with the microchip number, a lost, microchipped animal that is scanned might not be returned to its owner.

SFACC uses DataMars’ animal companion ID technology (microchips) and the PetLink registry. PetLink (External Link), is a 24/7/365 registry and recovery service for companion animals. PetLink provides pet owners a user-friendly, online service to register and report lost or found pets. The registration is valid for the lifetime of your pet. No subsequent renewals or fees are ever charged. You can access PetLink online at any time to update or change personal information or pet profile at no charge for the life of the animal.

Microchip FAQ

Download the PDF (PDF)

What is a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny computer chip encased in a surgical glass case about the size of a grain of rice. The glass is inert and cannot dissolve, corrode or interact with living tissue. The chip inside does not hold any information other than a unique ID number.
Does it hurt?
Microchip implantation is to a pet what a flu shot is to us. It’s a momentary prick, but not really painful. No anesthetic or stitches are required. After it’s  injected, the chip stays in place and does not move around under the skin.
Is it safe?
Yes. Microchips have no power supply, battery or moving parts. Microchips contain nothing that will burn, irritate or otherwise harm your pet. Microchips are completely biocompatible and are proven to be safe and effective.
Suppose my pet gets lost and gets picked up by someone who brings her to a vet or other place with no microchip scanner?
Most vets do have the scanners, as do all shelters and commercial kennels.
How much does it cost?
Most vets and vet hospitals charge $80-$100. The Friends of SFACC Microchip clinic offers this service for FREE to any San Francisco dog with a current license and $20 per pet to nonresidents.
What microchip system do you use?
SFACC uses Datamars’ animal companion ID microchip and registration. If an animal already has a chip from another system, SFACC’s “universal” scanner can identify the brand of chip but may not always be able to read its number.
Is your microchip recognized elsewhere?
When you get your pet microchipped at SFACC your info goes into the computer system at SFACC only. You must register the chip through so that the chip is will be recognized anywhere including many international countries.
Where and when do you hold the clinics?
Clinics are held at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, 1200 15th Street, on the corner of 15th and Harrison. Check Community Events or the Events Calendar for upcoming dates.
How do I register the microchip?
Complete your registration at (External Link).
Suppose I transfer ownership of my pet or move with my pet to another address?
You can update personal information at (External Link) for free.
How many animals can I get microchipped at the SFACC Low-cost Rabies and Microchip clinic?
There is no limit, but each dog must be on a separate leash, and each cat must be in a separate carrier (an exception would be for older kittens, who may share a large carrier). Please do not bring animals other than dogs and cats, and please make sure they’re old enough (at least 8 weeks). Also, each animal must have a separate application filled out before getting a microchip.
Do you microchip animals besides dogs and cats?
No, because most shelters do not scan for microchips in animals other than dogs and cats, and the large needle would be needlessly painful for a smaller animal, like a bird, hamster or lizard.
Should I bring my pet's paperwork (proof of vaccinations, vet visits, licensing, etc.)?
No paperwork is required for the microchip; however, San Francisco dogs must be licensed. For convenience, SFACC’s Low-cost Rabies and Microchip clinics both take place at the shelter, and dog licensing services are provided onsite. With a current dog license, the microchip service is free to San Francisco residents. Licensing DOES require up-to-date proof of your dog’s rabies vaccination. Cats and nonresident dogs do not need to be licensed, although cat registration is available from SFACC  for $12 for the life of the cat. You can also license your dog online (External Link). The licensing fees vary based on whether or not your pet is altered (seniors get a discount).
Do I need a reservation?
Reservations are not accepted. If you have a disability that requires that you be in and out quickly, and there’s a line when you arrive, let one of our volunteers know, and we’ll move you to the front of the line.
What time should I come to SFACC for the clinic?
The clinics run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please come no later than 12:30 p.m.
What if I have other vet questions about my pet?
You may ask the vet as your pet is getting microchipped, but we request that you keep it short and simple, since others will usually be waiting their turn, and we will have only one vet administering the microchips.
Do microchips really work?
The Humane Society of the United Stated recently published a study that involved thousands of animals. The results showed a 250% increase in reuniting microchipped and registered dogs with their owners, a 20% increase in reuniting microchipped and registered cats with their families.


Related links:
Get Viewer (External Link)
SF Municipal Animal-related Health codes (External Link)
SFACC Event Calendar
PetLink FAQs (External Link)
Dog License Application (PDF)
Vet FAQs