To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate Your Dog

Vaccines protect dogs from potentially fatal and contagious diseases. The vaccine triggers an immune response, which makes a dog more prepared to fight off illness. Through the use of pet vaccines, some illnesses that used to commonly afflict dogs are now rare. But even with these diseases being rare, vaccines are still necessary. The key is to determine how often you should vaccinate your dog.

Core Vaccines vs. Non-Core Vaccines

First, you must know the difference between core vaccines and non-core vaccines. A core vaccine is one that every pet should receive. Non-core vaccines are only recommended depending on your dog's lifestyle. For instance, vaccines that may be suitable for dogs that are outside all the time may not be suitable for other types of dogs.

When to Vaccinate Your Dog

If your dog is very young, you will want to wait until your dog is six weeks old or older. Then, you will want to vaccinate your dog based on a schedule for core vaccines. For instance, with rabies, you will want your 16-week-old dog to receive one rabies shot and then to receive an additional booster shot every year. You will need boosters because clinical studies have determined the length in which a vaccine will continue to work. If a pet is not given regular boosters, there is no guarantee that your pet will be safe.

Which Vaccines to Give Your Dog

The core vaccines your dog must receive include:

  • Distemper
  • Rabies
  • Adenovirus
  • Parvovirus

While all of these vaccines are recommended, only rabies are required by law. Other vaccines may be recommended depending on the recommendations of your veterinarian. Examples of non-core vaccines include Lyme disease and canine influenza.

Why You Shouldn't Give Your Dog Every Vaccine

You should avoid vaccines that are not necessary for your dog because all vaccines can come with adverse reactions. Your dog may feel sore or lethargic from a vaccine. Therefore, you will only want to use vaccines that will protect your dog from conditions that he or she is likely to suffer from.

The best way to determine how often your dog will need vaccines is to speak with veterinary services that have developed a relationship with you and your dog. Some specialists believe that dogs should receive vaccinations every year, others believe they should receive vaccinations every three years and some believe that only the first round of vaccinations are necessary.