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Dog licenses (and cats and ferrets, too!) in Charlotte — what you need to know to register your pet

If you have just moved to the Charlotte area with a pet, or you have recently brought a new pet into your home, you need to know all about pet licenses in Charlotte. It’s the law in Charlotte, and some surrounding areas, for pets to be licensed. There can be a fine if your pet doesn’t have a license.

Also, a pet license can help you to get your pet back if it’s lost.

Learn how to find a lost dog in Charlotte.

Not all cities, towns and counties in North Carolina have the same requirements for pet licensing. Many municipalities have dropped the requirement to register pets, although rabies tags are still required by North Carolina state law. Some municipalities determined that compliance was low, and the program was costing more money than it was bringing in.

Read on for everything you need to know about pet licenses in Charlotte, other parts of Mecklenburg County, and surrounding counties.

You might also be interested in a list of Charlotte veterinarians.

Pet Licenses in Charlotte

Which Pets Have to be Registered in Charlotte?

If you live in Charlotte, Mint Hill, Pineville, or an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County, NC, you are required to register your dog, cat or ferret with CMPD Animal Care & Control, provided the pet is four months of age or older.

What Vaccinations Are Needed?

In order to register your pet, you need to have proof of a current rabies vaccination. You can get the documentation from your veterinarian.

How Much Does a Pet License Cost?

The cost is $10 per year if your pet is spayed or neutered, and $30 a year for animals that aren’t.

You can also get a 3-year license for $25 for a spayed or neutered pet.

There are some exceptions:

  • Seniors 62 years and older may receive a free licensed for their pets if the animal has been spayed or neutered.
  • If you don’t live in the Charlotte area, contact the animal control department of your municipality.
  • If your pet has a medical problem that prevent it from being sterilized you may purchase a $10 license if your can provide a statement from your veterinarian.
  • If your pet is a show animal and you can show proof that they participated in at least three nationally recognized shows in the last 12 months, you can get a $10 license.
  • If you’re disabled and your dog is used for seeing, hearing or assistance purposes, and your dog is sterile, you can receive a free license.

How Do You Get a Pet License in Charlotte?

dog tag with qr code
Photo: Mace Publishing, LLC

CMPD Animal Care & Control works with PetData, who manages the licensing of pets. PetData provides a permanent tag that has a QR code, a license number, and an 800 number to call. These tags provide an easy way to identify a found pet.

You can register your pet (or renew the registration) online at PetData, or at the animal shelter, at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC.

Once you receive the tag you should enter your pet’s information into It’s free to do so, and a great help in identifying a found pet.

More information about registering your pet from CMPD Animal Care & Control.

Animal Licenses in Other Municipalities

Read on for the basic information about licensing your pet in places near Charlotte.


In Matthews, the requirements are the same as in Charlotte, All dogs, cats and ferrets four months of age or older must be vaccinated for rabies and must have a current animal license.

A one-year license for a spayed or neutered animal is $10, and a one-year license for a fertile animal is $30.

Senior citizens can get a free license for a sterile animal.

You can print and fill out a form to license your pet or you can apply and pay online.

More information on licensing a pet in Matthews.

Gaston County

Dogs, cats and ferrets in Gaston County that are at least four months old need to have a pet license. You need to purchase the license from the Animal Shelter within ten days of your pet obtaining a rabies vaccination. If you’re late you may be charged a $15 late fee in addition to the cost of the license.

Licenses for dogs and cats cost $10 a year, and $25 for three years, for a pet that’s spayed or neutered. (Ferrets can only get one-year licenses.) Licenses cost $35 a year for pets that haven’t been spayed or neutered.

If an animal has been declared dangers, the fee is $100 per year.

There are exemptions, similar to Mecklenburg County (above), for show dogs, service dogs, dogs and cats that medically assist someone, and animals that can’t safely be spayed or neutered.

In addition, the pet license for a hunting dog is just $2 for one year or $6 for three years, but they also need a Hunting Dog Permit, which is $100 and valid for three years.

More information on pet licenses in Gaston County.

Union County

There is no pet licensing required or even available in Union County, North Carolina.

Cabarrus County

There is no pet licensing required or even available in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Iredell County

There is no pet licensing required or even available in Iredell County, North Carolina.

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