About Licensing | Fees | How to License

AdoptAbout Licensing

A Pet License is a phone call home!

Licensing your pet is the law. The City of Houston Municipal Code requires that anyone owning a dog or cat four months of age or older must have his or her pet licensed and vaccinated against rabies every year.

Contact Pet Licensing at 832.393.8579 and 832.393.8580.

A pet license identifies and protects your pet in case it becomes lost. Even indoor pets can get out and become lost. You are required to renew your license yearly and to keep your license updated when you move and/or your pet is given away, lost, stolen or is deceased. A pet license is not only a requirement, but it provides the following benefits:

  • A license tells everyone that your pet is not a homeless stray.
  • When licensed, found pets can be quickly reunited with their owner
  • BARC will call you or send you a letter if your pet comes to the shelter wearing a license.
  • Your license is proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • A license provides emergency medical care for your pet when in the care of BARC
  • When found, your licensed pet will be cared for at BARC for a longer holding period.
  • Animal licensing is an essential part of animal care and control in our community. License fees support the return of lost dogs and cats to their homes and help adopt homeless dogs and cats to new families. Other services funded by pet licensing are the prevention of animal neglect or cruelty, spay/neuter programs, over-population programs, and community education services.

Be sure to have the license tag on your pet's collar at all times to help enable a quick return should they be found.

For dogs, use a leather or nylon collar that buckles. Plastic snap collars can break away easily. Never put tags on a "choke chain" type collar. These collars should be used for training only and should never be left on a dog. They can strangle your dog.

For cats, use a "release" collar. These collars are readily available and will allow your cat to free itself should the collar become attached to something.

Remember, Collars and tags are a must, however, they can fall off or become lost. Microchipping provides another form of identification for your pet. Find out more about microchipping here.