Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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Dogs

Dog Rules In The USA – What You Need To Own A Dog

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
May 16 ·
dog rules in the usa

How many dog rules in the USA are there? Are they easy to follow if you own a dog? These rules and laws are set in place for a reason. It’s for you and your dog’s own best interest. 

Who Can Own A Dog In The USA?

Anyone can own a dog in the United States. However, you must be an adult (18 years or older), and you should also have a sustainable income and a home.

This information is something you’ll fill out when adopting a dog to ensure you can care for the pet properly. If an animal shelter doesn’t seem you fit to be a pet owner, they have the right to decline your application to adopt. 

General Laws About Owning A Dog

When it comes to owning a pet, you need to care for them and be mindful of others. For example, various laws are in place to protect and care for your doggo. Also, these laws care for the community as a whole. 

Licensing And Vaccinations

Out of all 50 states in the United States, they all have one law in common. If you have a dog, you have to get them licensed and vaccinated.

Licensed means getting an ID tag on their collar and registering them in your town or city. This shows proof of ownership for you. So, if your dog ever gets lost and someone finds it, you can easily be reunited with them.

Also, if your dog ends up lost and in the shelter, you can bring your paperwork to prove that the dog belongs to you.

Microchipping is another way of identifying your doggo if they ever get lost. Unfortunately, while microchipping is recommended, it’s not required in most areas. 

Finally, your furry friend needs to be up to date with all of their vaccinations, especially if they go out and about around other people and animals.

The number one vaccination that’s required is the rabies vaccine. When your dog is about six months of age, they’re required to get a rabies shot at the vet.

Clean Up After Your Dog

Some areas have a law where you need to clean up after your dog. If you don’t, you may face a fine. Otherwise, every other area expects you to clean up after your pup because it’s common courtesy.

If you take your dog on a walk down the street and poop on the sidewalk or in someone’s yard, it’s your responsibility to have poop bags on hand. You should clean it up and throw it away when you get home.

Leash Laws

Like the rule above, not every area has a leash law, but most places do. If you walk your dog without a leash, you could be fined. Also, if your dog doesn’t have the appropriate ID tag on it, it could be taken.

Yes, even if you’re with your dog, they have the right to bring the pup to a shelter. Then, you’ll have to go to the shelter with the paperwork to prove the dog belongs to you, pay a fine, and bring your furry friend home. 

Leash laws are set in place for general safety. However, even if your dog is well-trained, anything could happen. For example, another dog might attack, they may get distracted by a squirrel, get bit by a car, stray too far away, and do several things. 

Apartment Dogs

Rules for apartments will vary depending on the state and the landlord’s rules. These places may or may not allow you to have a dog, and if they do allow it, there will most likely be specific requirements.

For example, if they allow dogs, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for your monthly rent. Also, they’ll most likely only allow small dogs up to 25 pounds. You’ll be responsible for your dog’s well-being and keep them from disturbing the neighbors.

If any rules are broken, you could break your lease with the apartment and lose your home.

Rules For Service Dogs

In the USA, therapy dogs, service dogs, and emotional support dogs come with their own rules.

For example, service dogs are typically registered and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So, if you have a registered service dog to help you with a medical condition (such as diabetes or epilepsy), you can bring your dog to places that wouldn’t usually allow dogs.

For instance, if you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets, your landlord has to accept you and your service dog regardless.

On the other hand, therapy dogs do not need to be registered, therefore are not under the same protection. These dogs are often found in hospitals and schools, providing affection and comfort.

Emotional support dogs are similar to service dogs. However, they help with more mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, emotional support dogs are not protected by the ADA either.  

A Note About “Dangerous” Dog Breeds

Each state in the United States will have its views on dangerous dog breeds. However, in the USA as a whole, they have a list of “restricted” dog breeds, such as:

The list is ever-growing. While these dog breeds aren’t banned in the US, they are considered dangerous or aggressive.

So, if you have a dog breed that’s considered aggressive, you might have to follow your own set of rules. For example, if you bring them out for walks, it may be required that they’re muzzled.

Dog Rules In The USA

The list of dog rules in the USA is ever-growing, but owning a dog in the US is not impossible. These rules are set to keep you, your dog, and the community safe. 

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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