California Rabies Shot Requirements for Dogs

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California Rabies Shot Requirements for Dogs
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Under California law, all dogs over the age of 4 months must have a rabies vaccination. The dog should receive his initial vaccination by the age of 3 months, with another vaccination one year later. After that, dogs must have a rabies booster shot every third year. Under state law, only a veterinarian or by a licensed veterinary technician working under veterinary supervision can administer a rabies vaccine.

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Rabies and Licensing

To obtain a license for a dog in California, proof of a rabies vaccination is required. You must submit an official vaccination certificate containing your name, address and phone number as the dog's owner, along with the animal's description. This includes gender, color, age and breed. The certificate include the immunization date, name of the vaccine with the lot number and the name and address of the veterinarian administering the injection.

Rabies Vaccine Exemption

California allows an owner to apply for a rabies vaccination exemption in some circumstances. State law permits an exemption if the vaccination could put the dog's life in danger. The owner's veterinarian must file a request with either the local health officer or local animal control agency, depending on the jurisdiction, along with documentation outlining the potential risk to the dog's health.


If approved, the dog cannot leave the owners premises unless it is on a leash less than 6 feet long. The exempted dog cannot come into contact with other canines or felines that aren't vaccinated for rabies. The exemption is only good for one year. After that time, the dog must be vaccinated or the owner's vet must file for another exemption.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.