You need to license your dog to comply with the law and thus avoid costly penalties as well as to increase the chances that your dog returns to you if it goes missing. If a licensed dog goes missing and someone finds it, all the police must do to return your dog is look up the licensing number and contact you.
Many state and local governments direct the proceeds from licensing fees to local animal shelters and animal control and wildlife protection operations, so licensing your dog can also help support for animal welfare. Localities use dog licensing statistics to track the number of dogs in the area for health and safety reasons. Additionally, veterinarians in some areas face stiff penalties for failing to submit information about unlicensed dogs under their care to the local government, so licensing your dog may be essential to ensure that the dog receives veterinary care.
As of 2015, the average cost of licensing a dog, between $10 and $20, is usually far less than the penalty for owning an unlicensed dog. A dog license also alerts people to the fact that your dog is up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Licensing your dog can have health benefits because the yearly veterinary visits required to keep your dog up to date on vaccinations can also promote early detection of other health issues.