Licensing & Identification

It's the law. California law and city ordinances require all dogs over the age of four months to be vaccinated and licensed. If you are cited for owning an unlicensed dog, you could face fines of $50 or more. If your pet is lost, a license tag on your pet's collar is the fastest way to reunite you and your pet. Even if a pet has a microchip, a license tag is immediately visible and doesn't require a scanner.

Licensing lets people know that your pet has received the required vaccinations that protect your animal and the public from rabies. A rabies tag is separate from a license tag. The issuer of the rabies tag CANNOT and will not license your pet. It is the pet owner's responsibility to license their pet with Palo Alto Animal Services.

The fee you pay for your pet license keeps your City's animal services programs going. It is a significant source of revenue for Animal Control and allows us to provide animal related services to the residents of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. Licensing your pet helps us to find new homes for unclaimed or surrendered pets, keep neighborhoods safe from aggressive animals and provides low cost spay and neuter.

Licensing is Easy!         
Download a Dog License Application Form

Even though it's the law for all dogs over four months of age to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed, some owners either don't know the law, or don't understand that vaccination and licensing are important parts of responsible pet ownership.

As a responsible, caring pet owner, you understand how vaccinating and licensing helps keep your pet safe and healthy. We want to help. Our license application is short and easy to complete. Please, license your pet today. Do it for your pet and for your peace of mind.

  • By mail: complete a license application and send it with your payment (check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express), rabies certificate and spay/neuter certificate if applicable to: Animal Services, 3281 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303.
  • In person: bring the completed application, rabies certificate and spay/neuter certificate to our office, Monday through Saturday, between 11am and 5:30pm, excluding holidays and alternate Fridays.
  • By FAX: Fax the application, rabies certificate and spay/neuter certificate to 650-856-8591. Include your Mastercard, Visa, American Express number and card expiration date.
  • By email: complete and scan a license application and send it with your credit card number (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), rabies certificate and spay/neuter certificate if applicable to:

Dog License Fees
Duration of License      Unaltered - Altered 
12 months:                        $40.00 - $20.00 
24 months:                        $60.00 - $30.00 
36 months:                        $80.00 - $40.00
Late Penalty:                              $30.00
Replacement Tag:                       $5.00
Cat I.D. Tag:                        $5.00 - $10.00
(Prices effective 8/01/2012)

*Obtaining a rabies vaccination for your dog over the age of 4 months is State Law, and City Code. However, if your Veterinarian has deemed receiving the vaccine a health hazard for your dog, you may file for an exception from the rabies vaccine to still obtain a dog license, which is still required.
Download the Rabies Vaccination Exemption Form

Dog pass away? We are very sorry for your loss, and understand the passing of a loved pet is hard. We offer several types of disposal services including cremation regardless of residency. Also, if you have a pet licensed with us, please notify our office as soon as possible so we can amend our records! We will be sending you renewal notices, and failure update us in a timely manner may result in a citation. Call us at 650-496-5971 for assistance.

Move out of town or change address? Please let us know so we can update/cancel your license. Failure to do so may result in you not receiving the license renewal notices, and a citation for non-compliance may be issued.

Cat Registration
Cat licenses are not required in Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. Cats are adaptable and can be quite happy--and safe--living indoors. If you choose to allow your cat outdoor privileges, we recommend our five-year identification tag program. For only $10.00 ($5.00 if your cat is spayed or neutered), you can increase the odds of your lost or injured cat being returned to you. Rabies vaccinations are not required for cat registration, but are recommended for the health and protection of all pets.

A lost animal that bears some form of identification is far more likely to be returned to its owner. There are a couple ways to mark your pet so that someone who finds it can reach you or an agency that can contact you.

  • ID tags (including both license tags and tags bearing contact info for the owner)
  • Microchip ID's (sub dermal implants)
    *See Microchipping your cat or dog.

It is important to understand that the rabies tag you get from your vet is not a license. When you license your dog, you receive a separate license tag. An additional tag bearing a contact number for you is also a good idea. You should have both tags on your dog's collar, everyday.

Traveling out of town? Email us at and let us know! Give us the name of your pet sitter or an alternate way to get in touch with you incase your pet gets loose while you're away!

Last Updated: Feb 24, 2016