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How to Register My Dog in Michigan

By Judith Gorham-Nye | Updated September 26, 2017

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Items you will need

  • Rabies vaccination certificate

  • Spaying or neutering certificate (if applicable)

  • Dog registration form

  • Dog collar

Registering your dog to obtain a license in Michigan will increase the likelihood that your pet can be found if it becomes lost or stolen. The dog tags and a registration certificate will prove that you own your pet and the dog can be returned to you immediately. It is against the law to have an unregistered dog in Michigan that is more than four months old.

The regulations may differ in various counties in Michigan regarding which county department to go to, the requirements, and the fee for registering your dog. For example, in the county of Muskegon registration of dogs is accomplished through the County Health Department. There are discounts for spayed or neutered dogs and for senior citizens who are registering a dog in Muskegon County. There are other regulations regarding the cost of the registration such as whether it is a service dog. If the dog is over six months old it must always wear a collar with the license tag attached.

Prior to Registration

Bring your dog to a veterinarian to obtain a rabies shot if it has not had one in the last year. Ask the veterinarian for a certificate proving that your dog has received this vaccination and the date it was given.

Obtain a certificate from your veterinarian with the date that your dog has been spayed or neutered, if it has been.

Learn by phone or Internet which department in your city or town in Michigan handles dog registration. Ask about the regulations in your county regarding the requirements and cost to register your dog.

Registering Your Dog

Call and ask the designated county office to send you a form to register your dog or go to the office and fill one out. If you go to the office, bring your certificates that prove your dog has received a rabies vaccination and has been spayed or neutered, if this is applicable.

Provide the requested information on your form. For example, the form for the county of Muskegon requests your name, address, birth date and phone number. It also requires your dog's name, sex, breed, birth date, color, markings, rabies vaccination expiration date and the date you acquired your dog.

Sign the form and mail or bring it to the county office along with the required fee as printed on the form or requested by the designated office.

After Leaving the Registration Office

Retain a copy of the dog registration document when it is signed and returned to you. The dog's tag is not the license.

Purchase a collar for your dog if it doesn't already wear one while you wait for your dog's license tag to be sent to you.

Fasten your dog's collar around its neck and attach the license tag to it using the clip provided.

References (2)

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images


Judith Gorham-Nye is a freelance writer and former Boston property manager who began writing professionally in 2010. Gorham-Nye has ghostwritten many articles on business and education but most enjoys composing science and animal behavior articles. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in biobehavioral sciences from the University of Massachusetts and an associate degree in administrative support from Aquinas College.