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Rules and regulations for owning a pet

There are several rules for owning a pet in the City of Boston.


State law requires that every dog owner get a license for their dog each year. If your dog is 6 months or older, you need to get them a rabies vaccine and a license. You also need proof of current vaccinations to get a license. If you don't get your dog licensed, you could be subject to fines. Learn how to get your dog licensed.


While it's not a requirement to have your pet spayed or neutered, we strongly recommend it. Spayed and neutered pets are more affectionate, live longer, and are less likely to roam. If your dog is fixed, you'll get a discount on your license fee. Learn about spaying or neutering your pet, and other health tips.


Responsible dog owners should follow leash laws:

  • The law requires that you have your dog on a leash when you're off your property.
  • Your dog must be under control when they're not in your house or fenced in by a yard. Don't let your dog roam the neighborhood, get into trash, or bother the public in any way.
  • The same rules apply when you're at the park with your dog. Responsible dog owners should respect the rights of others in the park.

You're required by law to remove and dispose of your dog's waste. This applies to waste on sidewalks, streets and parks, and neighbors’ yards. You must be prepared to clean up after your dog when walking them, either with a bag or some other means. The law also states that you must dispose of the waste either in a toilet or trash can.

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