Animal Licensing

photo of dog and cat on couchLicensing and vaccinations reduce the potential for a rabies outbreak in San Mateo County

San Mateo County works to protect the health and safety of the public through pet licensing and vaccinating, education and outreach. All dogs are required to get licensed and vaccinated by four months of age.  Cats living in Brisbane, Belmont, Hillsborough, Millbrae, San Mateo, Redwood City, and unincorporated areas of the County are also required to get licensed and vaccinated by four months of age.

By licensing your vaccinated animals, the County maintains a tracking system in case of a bite or rabies exposure. This system increases the likelihood of finding an aggressive animal or an animal that was bitten and reduces the number of people who must receive post-exposure rabies vaccine after a bite.  It also serves as a quick way to reunite a lost pet with their owner.

Dog  & Cat Licensing

Dog licensing is required in all cities, towns, and unincorporated areas of San Mateo County.  Although it is recommended that you license your cat, licensing is required in Brisbane, Belmont, Hillsborough, Millbrae, San Mateo, Redwood City, and unincorporated areas of the County.

Licensing Process and Fees

Dogs and cats must be licensed by the age 4 months or within 60 days of acquiring the animal.

New residents of the county must license their dog or cat within 60 days.

Download the Animal License Application

New fees effective October 1, 2012

Fee Schedule DOGS Unaltered DOGS Altered CATS Unaltered CATS Altered
One Year Regular $50.00 $20.00 $15.00 $7.00
Three year Regular $145.00 $55.00 $45.00 $17.50
One Year Senior $18.00 $9.00 $7.00 $5.00
Three Year Senior $54.00 $23.00 $21.00 $11.25
  Replacement Tag $8.00 Replacement Tag $5.00
Late Fee $20.00 Late Fee $7.00
  • To apply by mail - Send your application, copy of rabies certificate, copy of proof of spay/neuter if applicable, and payment to: San Mateo County Animal Licensing c/o PetData, Inc., P.O. Box 141929, Irving, TX 75014-1929.
  • To apply in person - Bring copy of rabies certificate, copy of proof of spay/neuter if applicable, to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA or the Health System (addresses shown below).
  • To apply online - If all required paperwork is already on file, visit PetData Inc's website at (when using debit/credit cards, you will be charged a Cost Recovery Processing Fee).

For questions regarding licensing:
San Mateo County Animal Licensing
Visit the web site:
Call Toll Free: 1(866) 925-5906
Toll Free Fax: 1 (888) 738-5556

To pay locally and in person, go to one of the locations listed below.

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA 12 Airport Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 340-8200  map and directions
Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion 1450 Rollins Road
Burlingame, CA  94010
(650) 340-8200  map and directions
San Mateo County Health System 225 37th Avenue, Room 11
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 573-3726 - Program Manager
map and directions

Service Dogs Identification

The Service Animal designation in San Mateo County is in compliance with the US Department of Justice's definition of Service Animals.  The County designates animals as Service Animals when they have been individually trained to do work or perform physical tasks for people with disabilities.  Service Animals are working animals, not pets.  The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability.  To request this designation, the Service Dog Identification Tag Application should be completed and submitted to:

San Mateo County
Animal Control & Licensing
225 37th Ave., Room 17
San Mateo, CA 94403

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals under the American Disability Act (ADA) and San Mateo County does not designate or recognize these animals as such.

Below are some documents and a website to help answer some of the questions you may have regarding this designation.
1.  Commonly Asked Questions about Service Animals in Places of Business [PDF]
2.  ADA 2010 Revised Requirements [PDF]
3.  A Guide to Disability Rights Laws [PDF]
4.  Pet Partners website

Rabies Vaccination Exemption Requests

State and local ordinances require the licensing of all dogs (and cats in some cities) as a means of rabies control.  In some instances, there may be a medical reason preventing the administration of the rabies vaccine due to the health of the animal.  The annual request must be made by your veterinarian using the Rabies Vaccination Exemption Request Packet.

For timely approval, please ensure the packet is complete.  Include the following:
1-page State of California "Rabies Vaccination Certificate - Exemption from Canine and Feline Rabies Vaccination form,
b) 1-page San Mateo County Rabies Vaccination Exemption Supplemental Request form,
c) your pet's microchip number, and
d) medical records relevant to the exemption request (no more than five pages).

Note:  Your annual licensing fees are due on the expiration date of the last vaccination your pet received.  During the review process of your Rabies Vaccination Exemption Request, you should pay your licensing fee on or prior to its due date to avoid the late penalty.