Does Your Dog Need a License?

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Clarke Jackson February 19, 2018

With a dog as big as ours (we have a 200 lb English Mastiff) it’s not too far fetched to imagine someone walking up to us and saying “do you have a license for that thing?”. Especially since I could theoretically slap a saddle on him and ride him around. If you live Denver and have a roomate of the canine or feline persuasion, it may surprise you to learn that even your 3 lb chihuahua which you decided to ironically name Titan or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is required by law to be licensed. That’s right! According to section 8 of the Denver Municipal Code all dogs and cats over 6 months of age must be licensed by the city.

Of course, not all of us who “live in Denver” actually live in Denver! The legal requirement varies a bit in different counties. Here’s the basics for the following Metro Denver Counties:

Adams County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only

Age of Pet? At 6 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Arapahoe County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only

Age of Pet? At 6 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Boulder County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only

Age of Pet? At 4 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Broomfield County

License Required? Yes, dogs, cats and ferrets too must be registered in Broomfield

Age of Pet? No age is specified, however, the registration is done in conjunction with their rabies vaccination, so as soon as you get them vaccinated you should register them!

Denver County

License Required? Yes, both cats and dogs must be licensed

Age of Pet? Once a cat or dog is 6 months of age they are subject to this requirement

Douglas County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only

Age of Pet? At 4 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Jefferson County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only (you can get a license for your kitty too, but it’s voluntary). Licensing for Jefferson County is handled by the Foothills Animal Shelter

Age of Pet? At 4 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Larimer County

License Required? Yes, for dogs only (you can get a license for your kitty too, but it’s voluntary). However, Fort Collins, Wellington and Loveland require both cats and dogs to be registered.

Age of Pet? At 4 months of age dogs are subject to the licensing requirement

Weld County

License Required? Not by the county, but most cities in Weld County have at least a license option so check with your local government.

So now that you’ve skimmed through that and found the rule for where you live, let’s talk a little bit about why licenses are so often required.

If your pet goes missing (some pets just love to explore and cannot be stopped) a license improves the chances of them getting returned to you. Although microchipping technology also has this benefit. A license number on your pets collar ties them to you and your home so if a city organization finds them you can be reunited more quickly.

All of the licenses require rabies vaccination, so if your pet is licensed people will know your pet has been vaccinated. If your pet is missing and potentially in distress, others are more likely to help a dog with tags showing they’re healthy.

Last but not least, the fees (which are definitely less than the potential fine!) usually go to support local animal shelters, which is a pretty great cause!

Other Pet Laws

Without getting into the nitty gritty of all legal aspects of pet ownership, a couple of general things to consider.

Leash Laws

Leashing your dog is, by and large not optional. Unless you’re at one of Denver’s Dog Parks. Your dog must be on a leash! This is for the comfort and safety of other dogs and people, but also huge for the safety of your dog! I know it seems unfair since the rule does not apply to cats, but it is what it is.

Pick Up Your Dog’s...Leavings

This is not only our delightful privilege as dog owners, it’s also our legal responsibility. You can get almost 1,000 waste baggies for $25 on amazon so stock up!

Neuter and Spay

Cats and dogs are required to be spayed or neutered, if you have a special consideration and do not want to neuter or spay your pet then you can request a permit.

Vaccinate Your Pets!

Dogs and cats must be vaccinated for rabies, but you should ask your vet about other vaccinations too. Many boarding facilities require Bortadella and Distemper for dogs as well! This is a very important part of your pets health.

Your town or neighborhood association may have additional laws or rules related to your pets. It’s your responsibility to know these, so if you have any questions about a specific area, feel free to reach out to me for additional information. Be sure to comply with these laws, failure to do so could result in a hefty fine. Thanks for reading and as always, Here's to Your Happy Home!


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) nor Kentwood Real Estate shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless.


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