Washoe County Regional Animal Services Shelter
Washoe County Regional Animal Services Shelter
County Home => Animal Services => Animal Licensing
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Dog Licensing

German Shepherd Did you know?
All dogs over 4 months of age and residing in the congested areas of Washoe County are required to be licensed with Animal Services.

Reasons to license your dog

  • Most dogs will usually get lost at some point in their life. Dog licenses help Animal Services staff identify and reunite lost dogs with their owners. 
  • Officers will make every reasonable effort to return licensed dogs to their owners before bringing them into the shelter, saving you time and money.
  • A person finding a dog with a license tag is more likely to call Animal Services instead of assuming it was abandoned and keeping your dog.
  • Licensing fees help support over 12,000 lost and homeless animals brought into the shelter every year.
  • A license (we also recommend a microchip) is proof of ownership in case your dog is stolen.
  • Owners who maintain a current license tag on their dog will never receive a citation for failure to license, a $200 fine.

Go to our Online Licensing Page                    

Download Form to License by Mail

***If you have more than three dogs to license at your residence, go to our Animal Permits page.***

For changes to licensed dogs:

  • To advise that your dog is deceased or has been given away
  • To change your address and contact information
  • Or any other licensing request changes

Email pets@washoecounty.us with requested change, license tag number, name of dog, and owner's name.


Does my dog need a license?
All dogs over four months of age in the congested area of Washoe County are required to be licensed with Animal Services.

How do I know if I live in a congested area?
Unless you live in an area like Palomino Valley, Antelope Valley, or Rancho Haven, you likely live in a congested area. The amount of acreage you have does not indicate a non-congested area. Click on the link below to show the congested areas of the county or call the shelter and we can help determine if you are in a congested area. 
Address search for animal congested areas

What if my dog never leaves the house?
Even if your dog never leaves the house, it must still have a dog license. At some point and time your dog may accidentally get out or there may be a disaster and you get separated from your dog. Having a license on your dog helps animal control officers get your dog back to you.

Does my cat need to be licensed?
Currently cats do not need to be licensed but they should be microchipped and the microchip registered with Animal Services. This will help the cat get home in the event it gets brought to the shelter.

How do I license my dog?
You can license your dog online, by mail, or by coming into the shelter during open hours. A current rabies certificate is required to license your dog.

Would you like to submit a picture of your dog?

We can now add a picture of your dog in our licensing database. All you need to do is email a jpeg picture to pets@washoecounty.us. Enter the license tag number in the subject line and include a description and name of the dog in the text. Should your dog become lost and you submit a lost report, we can quickly upload a picture to our website for you.

Do you have more than one dog licensed?
We can make all the license tags expire on the same date if this is more convenient for you. Just email pets@washoecounty.us with the license tag numbers and we can combine the expiration dates.

Would you like to register a microchipped pet with Animal Services?
We can register your pet's microchip with Washoe County Regional Animal Services for free. All you need to do is email the following information to pets@washoecounty.us

  • Name, physical address, mailing address and up to three phone numbers for the pet owner
  • Pet's name, sex, color and breed (If the pet is a cat, use Shorthair, Mediumhair or Longhair)
  • Microchip number for pet