My wife and I are the proud owners of a new puppy that we have named Winona. We call her Nona or Noni for short and she will officially be 3 months old on November 8th. She's been a fantastic addition to our family and we're very happy to be a part of her life.


Most dog owners know and understand that owning a dog is a pretty massive responsibility. Some of those responsibilities include feeding, watering, and training your 4 legged best friend. You also need to make sure Fido has all of the required shots so they can stay healthy and keep other dogs/humans healthy.

I grew up in Minneapolis and we had a family dog named Lola. When she got old enough we had to get her licensed with the city we lived in. Is it the same in Iowa? At what age do dogs need to be licensed in the Hawkeye state?

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Iowa Dog Laws

There are plenty of "dog laws" that cover the entire state of Iowa like all dogs are required to have valid ID tags and a rabies vaccine attached to their collar. It is also illegal to have a dog over 6 months old without a rabies vaccination, according to O'Flaherty Law.

Iowa Code 351.33 says

Every owner of a dog shall obtain a rabies vaccination for such animal. It shall be unlawful for any person to own or have a dog in the person’s possession, six months of age or over, which has not been vaccinated against rabies. Dogs kept in kennels and not allowed to run at large shall not be subject to these vaccination requirements.

In this video from O'Flaherty Law, other basic dog laws are covered such as how many you can own, dog bites, dog abandonment laws, etc.

Dog License

As far as when you're legally required to get your dog licensed, it appears as if it all depends on where you live. According to West Des Moines Iowa, you need to license your dog once they turn 6 months old.

According to the Iowa County Humane Society, all dogs over 5 months old are required to have a dog license. The City of Dubuque reports that owners are responsible for licensing their dog within 30 days of owning the pet, or when the pet becomes 6 months old.

According to a July issue, released by The Gazette, there was a proposal for the City Council in Linn County on whether or not dogs would need to be licensed. For the past 30 minutes, I have scrolled through the internet, and as far as I can tell...Linn County does not require you to license your dog. They are required to have the rabies vaccination tag on their collar at all times by the time they are 6 months old.

Cedar Falls requires dogs 4 months or older to be licensed annually by the first of the year. The City of Waterloo requires dogs 6 months or older to be registered...

The best thing you can do if you're wondering if or when you need to license your dog is either call your city's government building or you can call a vet in your area. They'll likely know exactly what is required where you live. If you have a new puppy or are thinking of adding one to your family, make the phone call to be sure you're following your city/county guidelines.

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Gallery Credit: Gabe Glidden

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