Which Dog Vaccinations Are Necessary?

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Dog Getting a Vaccination ShotOnly you and your dog’s vet can decide what vaccinations are necessary for your dog. No one wants to put their dog through discomfort, and the vaccination schedule seems endless. You may question whether all of these vaccinations are really necessary. We’ll help you learn the core vaccinations and the non-core ones, but keep in mind depending on your area specific vaccination may be required.

What Do Vaccinations Do?

Vaccinations are designed to protect your dog against an array of illnesses. Vaccinations work by injecting your dog with a small amount of infectious organisms. The organisms are placed under your dog’s skin, and as your dog’s immune system recognizes them as foreign bodies, it begins to fight them. After being exposed to a specific infectious agent, your dog’s body will be able to identify these agents and release antibodies more quickly in the future.

Dog Vaccination Time Table

SADIE things that need changed in the vaccination guide:

  • 6-8 weeks: DHPP, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8*, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2*
  • 8 weeks: Bordatella*, Leptospira*, Lyme*
  • 8-10 weeks: Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8*, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2*
  • 10-12 weeks: DHPP, Leptospira*, Lyme*
  • 12 weeks or older: Rabies
  • 14-16 weeks: DHPP
  • One year following last dose: DHPP, Rabies (within one year of previous dose)
  • Annually: Bordatella*, Leptospira*, Lyme*, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8*, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2*
  • Every 1 or 3 years: Rabies
  • Every 3 years: DHPP

Include at the bottom of the guide:

  • DHPP: vaccines for Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Parainfluenza and Parvovirus
  • Source: American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

Dog Vaccination Time Table

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Common Dog Vaccinations

Many dog vaccinations that are “common” for pet owners to administer to their dogs, these include parvovirus, coronavirus, rabies, a 5-way vaccine, a 7-way vaccine, leptospira, Lyme disease, bordatella and parainfluenza.

What Is Parvovirus?

Canine parvovirus (parvo) is extremely contagious and is contracted through the feces of an infected dog. Unfortunately, parvo often kills young puppies with poorly developed immune systems. Around 91% of untreated parvo cases result in death. The parvo vaccine is the only way to prevent a dog from contracting this virus. Parvo cannot be spread from dogs to humans. Dogs that have contracted parvo generally show symptoms within three to ten days. The most commonly seen symptoms of parvo include: secondary infections, dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, endotoxemia, shock and eventually death. If a dog has a confirmed case of parvo they can infect neighborhood dogs with their feces and through soil that has come in contact with their feces. Dogs can still shed the parvovirus in their feces once they have recovered from the virus. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to take effect and fully protect a dog from it.

Parvovirus Vaccination

The parvovirus vaccine is given as a 4- or 5-way vaccine (DHPP or DHLPP), standing for Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus), Leptospira, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. The first dose is administered as young as six weeks old and is then given in a 2 to 4-week interval until at least the age of 16 weeks old (totaling three times). A booster shot is given one year after the last interval dose, then again every three years.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a disease that affects the intestinal tract. Coronavirus usually doesn’t last too long, but it does cause numerous side effects and complications in some cases. Canine coronavirus can be passed through feces and saliva. A dog has one to five days after being exposed to the disease for symptoms to present themselves. Symptoms include onset diarrhea, a decrease in appetite and lethargy. A dog’s stool often contains mucus or blood and will always have a distinct odor. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for coronavirus. Do your best to keep control of the symptoms because often a secondary infection may occur, which you can then get antibiotics for. Coronavirus is rarely fatal except in the cases of dogs with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems.

Coronavirus Vaccination

Canine Coronavirus (CCV) is NOT recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) because it:

  1. causes mild or subclinical disease.
  2. generally occurs in dogs younger than six weeks old.
  3. is typically self-limiting.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that can be carried by many mammals. This is one of the few zoonotic diseases (diseases humans can catch from their dogs). Rabies is commonly transmitted through a bite from the infected mammal. Rabies causes acute encephalitis and eventually infects the entire nervous system causing death. Rabies can be stopped if it is treated before symptoms occur. Once symptoms appear it becomes a fatal disease. Rabies can take anywhere from two to 12 weeks to present itself; however, some cases can take much longer.

There are two forms of rabies: furious and paralytic. Once a dog is infected with rabies he will exhibit slight nervous systems abnormalities. A few days later the dog will either die immediately or progress to either the furious or paralytic stage of infection. A dog with furious rabies exhibits extreme behavioral changes. Furious rabies is often the type of rabies depicted in the media, the dog is aggressive and willing to attack. Dogs with paralytic rabies show a slow loss of coordination, weakness and then paralysis.

If you ever think your dog has come in contact with rabies you should take him to the vet immediately even if he is up to date on his rabies vaccination. Symptoms of rabies include fever, paralysis, seizures, a dropped jaw, inability to swallow, hydrophobia, pica, a change in bark tone, unusual aggression, lack of coordination, excessive salivation or frothy saliva.

Rabies Vaccination

Puppies 12 weeks old generally receive the rabies vaccine. However, this age may vary from place to place depending on local laws. The puppy gets a second rabies shot within one year after the first shot. After that, boosters are usually given once every one or three years, depending on the vaccination used and local laws.

What Is the Adenovirus Cough and Hepatitis?

The canine adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. Dogs who suffer from this virus experience swelling and cell damage in the liver, which can result in hemorrhage and death. This virus can be contracted through feces and urine of infected dogs. Symptoms include pain in the abdomen, abdominal distension, lack of appetite, pale color, lethargy, fever and tonsillitis. Fluid swelling in the corneas often results in the appearance of the dog having blue eyes. Death within one to two days is common in more severe cases. However, if a dog survives the first few days, it can result in a full recovery and future immunity to the virus.

The canine adenovirus type 2 is a relative of the hepatitis virus and is one of the causes of kennel cough. Once your dog receives the vaccine for this virus, the severity of it is limited, so the chance of death is unlikely. Symptoms include the development of a hacking cough a week after exposure, inflammation in the airways, white foamy discharge after coughing, pink eye, inflamed nasal passages and nasal discharge.

Adenovirus Cough and Hepatitis Vaccination

The canine adenovirus-1 or the canine adenovirus-2 injection will both protect against the adenovirus cough and hepatitis. However, the adenovirus-2 injection is much more preferred. This shot is usually included in a combination vaccine such as the 5-way vaccine or the 7-way vaccine. The canine adenovirus vaccine is normally given at 6 to 8 weeks old, 10 to 12 weeks old and again at 14 to 16 weeks old. Another is given with a combination booster shot 12 months after the last interval dose and then every three years.

What Is Canine Distemper?

Canine distemper is an extremely contagious viral disease. This disease is closely related to the virus that causes measles. Canine distemper spreads through the airs and attacks the tonsils and lymph nodes. The virus replicates in the body and attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory, urogenital and nervous systems. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for canine distemper; however, some dogs can recover fully after receiving treatment for symptoms and constant care. After a dog has fully recovered, she will no longer carry or spread the disease. Symptoms include high fever, runny nose, eye discharge, red eyes, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and paralysis. Some dogs also experience thickening or enlargement of their footpads.

Canine Distemper Vaccination

The canine distemper vaccination is given as a part of a combination vaccination, most commonly the DHLPP. The “D” in DHLPP stands for distemper. This vaccination also protects against hepatitis (adenovirus), leptospirosis, parvo and parainfluenza, this is known as the 5-way vaccine. Dogs should receive a vaccination against canine distemper at 6 to 8 weeks, 10 to 12 weeks and 14 to 16 weeks. A booster shot is provided at 12 months and every three years after.

What Is Leptospira?

Dog walking through watterLeptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the pathogen Leptospira. Leptospira, or Leptospirosis, can affect canines and humans and can result in death in some cases. Dogs become infected with Leptospires (an organism that thrives in water) by consuming urine contaminated water or contact with infected urine. Leptospires use a dog’s kidneys to breed and continue living out their life cycle. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, generalized pain and conjunctivitis. Later symptoms include: a drop in temperature, increased thirst, change in urine color, jaundice, frequent urination, dehydration, difficulty breathing, muscular tremors, vomiting and bloody feces. Antibiotics can help shorten the length of the disease and reduce potential organ damage if caught in early stages. In more severe cases, kidney filtration and blood transfusion may be necessary. About 10% of Leptospirosis cases result in death from secondary complications.

Leptospirosis Vaccination

The Leptospirosis vaccination is considered a “non-core” vaccine and isn’t required. Leptospira is a preventative vaccination based on the two most common Leptospires known for causing this infection in dogs. Infection rates have dropped drastically over time and dogs that do become infected are by a completely different strain of Leptospire. Because of this, most vets do not regularly give the Leptospirosis vaccine unless there have been numerous cases in your area. The vaccine can be included in a combination vaccination like the DHLLP or it can be given individually.

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is spread through a tick bite. Symptoms don’t always appear for all dogs with Lyme disease although some will show swollen lymph nodes or lameness. If your dog does display symptoms of Lyme disease be sure to check her over for any ticks that may still be present. Untreated Lyme disease can cause extreme inflammation in your dog’s nervous system, heart and kidneys and potentially lead to death. Vets test for Lyme disease by taking blood samples and if a dog is positive for Lyme disease, early treatment with Doxycycline is prescribed. If a more advanced stage of Lyme disease is suspected antibiotic treatment will continue for longer and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed.

Lyme Disease Vaccination

The Lyme disease vaccination is usually only given to dogs in areas where Lyme disease is a concern. It is given as early as eight weeks old and a second dose is given two to four weeks later. A booster shot is given one year following the second dose and then annually.

What Is Bordatella?

Bordatella, or kennel cough, is caused by bacteria and is spread through airborne contaminants. Bordatella is spread through exposure to infected dogs or the transfer of bacteria in food bowls, cages and water bowls. As bacteria multiply, it destroys the lining of the dog’s trachea, which results in a high pitch cough. Dogs may also gag and wretch as they cough. Symptoms include fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and depression. Incubation for kennel cough is approximately five to seven days. When symptoms present, the dog should be given antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Untreated bordatella can lead to pneumonia and a secondary bacterial infection.

Bordatella Vaccination

The bordatella vaccination can be given as a traditional vaccination, as an inhaled nasal mist or orally. It takes 48 hours after the vaccination for a dog to develop immunity to the disease. Most kennels require dogs to have their bordatella vaccination before they  allow boarding. Bordatella vaccinations are generally given once every 12 months.

What Is Parainfluenza?

Parainfluenza, or canine influenza is highly contagious. Symptoms include dry cough, fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, sneezing, pneumonia, reduced appetite, lethargy, eye inflammation, runny eyes and conjunctivitis. Most dogs recover on their own, but most vets like to treat them immediately using antibiotics and antiviral drugs since it is so contagious. A cough suppressant and additional fluids may also be given to your dog.

Parainfluenza Vaccination

The parainfluenza vaccine won’t prevent the spread of the disease, but it will limit the severity of an infection. The vaccination is included in a combination vaccine called canine distemper-measles-parainfluenza shots and DHPP shots. The first vaccine is at 6 to 8 weeks old, the second at 10 to 12 weeks and again at 14 to 16 weeks old. A combination booster shot is administered 12 months after the last interval dose and then every three years.

Dog Gets Vaccine and “Cries”

Watch this dog “milk the system” according to his parent. He knows that if he cries enough, he will get treats. What an adorable and smart pup!

What to Consider When Vaccinating Dogs

Core Vaccines

Dog at the vetThere are many considerations to make when vaccinating a dog. The first is local and countrywide laws that determine which vaccinations are mandatory for dogs living in the area. These types of vaccinations are known as “core” vaccinations and are mandatory for all dogs. Core vaccinations are designed to protect animals from extreme illness or disease and include: the rabies vaccination (in some areas), CDV (canine distemper), CAV-2 (canine hepatitis virus or adenovirus-2) and CPV-2 (canine parvovirus.)

Non-Core Vaccinations

Non-core vaccinations are other canine vaccinations that are not mandatory except in areas where the specific illness or disease is rampant. An example is the canine parainfluenza vaccination. Many vets will still offer these non-core vaccinations in areas where they are not mandatory, but it is up to the vet and the pet owner to decide whether the dog in question is a suitable vaccination candidate.

Factors to Consider Before Administering Non-Core Vaccinations

There are some items you may want to consider before allowing your vet to give your dog non-core vaccinations. Things like your dog’s age, size, breed, overall health and allergies are key factors. You also want to know your dog’s vaccination history and the other vaccinations your dog is receiving at that time.

Things to Consider before getting Dog Vaccinations

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1. Too Young and Too Old Is Too Risky

Vaccinations have minimum age requirements, and it’s important to stick to them. Young puppies do not have fully developed immune systems so shots of a live virus can affect her body drastically. There are also vaccines that cause side effects that young puppies struggle with.

Elderly dogs often suffer from compromised immune systems so vets may be hesitant to give an unnecessary vaccine to him. There are times where a vet may recommend a longer period between non-core vaccinations for elderly dogs or they may even skip those vaccinations completely.

2. How Many Vaccinations Are Being Administered?

Giving a dog too many vaccinations at once can increase the probability of side effects. This is why it’s important to space those vaccinations out. Your vet may wait to administer any non-core vaccines due to the other vaccines being given at that time.

3. Dog Size Matters

Some dogs may not weigh enough or be strong enough to handle a vaccination. This is another case where your vet may wait on administering any non-core vaccinations. This is especially true for dogs that are malnourished due to illness or runts of the litter.

4. Allergies to Vaccination Ingredients

Dogs can be allergic to specific ingredients that can be found in vaccinations. If a vaccination contains an ingredient that your dog is allergic to your vet will skip this vaccine.

5. The Breed of Your Dog

Some dog breeds have sensitivities to elements that other breeds don’t have. Particular breeds may have a negative reaction to a specific ingredient while another breed struggles with another. One example of this is the German Shepherd, which has a sensitivity to Ivermectin in some cases. This is due to the presence of the MDR1 gene that is also seen in other herding dogs including Australian shepherd, border collie, collie, Australian shepherd mini, English shepherd, McNab, Shetland sheepdog, old English sheepdog and breeds that are mixed with these. The Longhaired Whippet and the Silken Windhound both have this gene as well.

Some of the drugs that can become a problem to these types of dogs are:

  • Abamectin
  • Acepromazine
  • Actinomycin D
  • Aldosterone
  • Amitriptyline
  • Butorphanol
  • Cortisol
  • Cyclosporine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Digoxin
  • Diltiazem
  • Docetaxel
  • Domperidone
  • Ketoconazole
  • Doxorubicin
  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin
  • Etoposide
  • Itraconazole
  • Ivermectin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Loperamide
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Milbemycin
  • Morphine
  • Moxidectin
  • Ondansetron
  • Paclitaxel
  • Selamectin
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Tacrolimus
  • Talinolol
  • Terfendadine
  • Tetracycline
  • Vecuronium
  • Verapamil
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine

6. Vaccination History

If a dog has had a negative effect from a previous vaccination, it’s important to note this so you are aware of what other vaccination may cause negative reactions. If this is the case, your vet may decide not to administer a non-core vaccination to your dog.

7. Your Dog’s Overall Health

You don’t want to vaccinate your dog when she’s ill. Vaccinations can put a strain on the body and the immune system. You also never want to vaccinate your dog when she is recovering from an illness, surgery or medical treatment unless it is necessary.

Are Vaccinations Necessary?

As a dog owner, you’ll always wonder if a vaccination is truly necessary. You don’t want to put your dog through any unnecessary discomfort. Some say that vaccinations simply put your mind at ease while others believe you should protect your dog from everything harmful. There is no right or wrong answer. You have to do what’s best for your dog and only you know that. Consult your vet for advice if you find yourself overwhelmed. You and your vet should be able to make the appropriate decision for your dog to be happy and healthy. If cost is a factor for you, consider a wellness plan to help cover the expense of vaccinating your dog.

What’s your stance on vaccinations?

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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57 Comments on "Which Dog Vaccinations Are Necessary?"

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Vaccines are one of the biggest frauds ever. NO body – human or animal – needs vaccines. The ALL cause brain inflammation, immune system dysfunction/suppression/confusion and other damages. The healthiest people and animals are those who are never vaccinated and who eat species-appropriate high nutrient foods. For dogs, that’s a pasture-raised raw meat diet with some organic vegetables, bones and fat. Learn the FACTS so you don’t get taken in by the fraud and regret it. Just 1 vaccine can destroy health, normal brain function or kill. It’s happened to the dogs of several people I know. I do not ever vaccinate my dogs and it is also against my religious beliefs. Rabies has been cured naturally by fasting, herbs and IV Vitamin C. Read the books by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. President Trump has signed an executive order that declares no mandatory vaccination if it’s against your religious or conscientious beliefs as of 1-17-18. Thank God!
Obviously you’ve never nursed a litter of puppies with Parvo. Your misguided and ignorant beliefs are what cause outbreaks of previously controlled diseases. God created us with an inquisitive brain, capable of learning and conquering disease. Trump won’t drop regulations on immunizations. He won’t want to piss off big Pharma!
Thanks so much for the truth. Everyone who owns a pet should first start with this knowledge. Life is so much better for both owner and pet.
Why in God’s name do you have that YouTube video of the poor puppy who is clearly having a bad reaction to the vaccine on your page? The owner just laughs and keeps taking video while the dog is SUFFERING from something in the vaccine! THAT IS NOT NORMAL! Dogs are NOT HUMANS and they don’t think like humans!! They don’t “game the system” and try to get treats by “play-acting”!!! Good grief, people!
I know I would never trust that vet practice with my animal. I agree the poor dog seemed to be in pain after that vaccination. Wow.
My thoughts exactly!
Too many!!! I don’t do most of them and never lost a dog to kennel cough or anything else. Just like pushing more chemicals and pollutants into ones body…dog or human. Only one REQUIRED by law is rabies. Do your own homework folks. Don’t think your vet is going to be of any help. Someones pockets are getting lined with your hard earned monies!! And it is not yours.
Ashley Turns
I appreciate you letting us know that if we are giving too many pet vaccinations at once, we shouldn’t be considering giving any non-core ones at the same time. My husband and I just bought a new puppy and we are wondering what kind of shots we should be giving him. Though we want to give him almost all of the pet vaccinations he might need, we will be sure to parse them out so he doesn’t get too many at once.
Hello – I want to stress to everyone who reads this to please let every one that you know who has a puppy or dog to please get educated and do not over vaccinate. I just lost my perfectly healthy active 8 month old pug puppy because of getting her all the recommended shots by vet. I blindly trusted my vet to inform me about what she needed and then did as recommended without questioning at all- and 7 days later she is gone. I could not believe that my vet stood there and said to me that this is such a rare thing to happen – I dont care if it is rare – it happens and it should not. There is not any other reason for her to be gone than I trusted my vet and got the vaccines recommended and now I have lost my dog. Not to mention the money it cost trying to save her at 24 hour emergency hospital over that weekend – only to get her into my vet early Monday to be told it was fruitless and from me vaccinating her. So for those who say you should get vaccines – I say space them apart and really get educated before.
Linda S
I’m so sorry for your loss. As puppies, my two schnauzers got all the same shots as your puppy. We were lucky that they didn’t have a reaction. I have since learned about titer tests and have them given annually to my dogs. They go years without needing a vaccine and when they do, it’s only for one component of the vaccine. My vet tells me the vaccine is “all in one” and I’ve allowed him to administer it to them, but in the future, I will do my homework to find out if the shots can be given individually.
OMG! I lost my dog in 6 days after thanksgiving 2017 cause of the vaccines!!!
Wow I feel your pain and am so sorry. I don’t do most of them. I run Titers.
Hi. Please everyone, do your research on over vaccination. This vaccination schedule is out of date and not based on scientific research. Actual research shows that pets are protected for life in most cases after the first set. The recommendation for annual dhpp shots is 20 years out of date! Protect your pets against over vaccination and look at all the adverse health conditions caused by taxing their bodies, immune system, liver and kidneys. Do a titer test instead to check their antibodies before giving another vaccination. Except rabies which is required by law.
JoAnne Janci
My dog has been diagnosed with SARDS and cognitive dysfunction syndrome. She also is prone to urine crystals. That is being controlled by diet. She is on supplements for her cognitive dysfunction. She is due for her distemper shot. I’m hesitant about scheduling this for her. She has been experiencing anxiety/stress issues due to her cognitive issues. Would it be safe to get this vaccinations for her?
NO no no….any ill dog should not receive any shots. Any educated vet SHOULD know that. Run titers on your pup. Most are protected for life. No more ever needed. And watch the results had a vet try and cover up labs and lie. Never trust anyone.
Don’t do it. Get a titer. She is very likely already protected.
Emily Ayre
Hi! I just bought a 10 month old puppy and the owners before me didn’t get him vaccinated so I’m wondering what set of shots and which ones I should get? should I start with the first set or should I just get the annual shots? Thanks:)
There are no more annual shots. Look at Dr Ronald Shultz research and also current 2017 aaha guidelines. Just keep in mind the AAHA guidelines are not based on any scientific research whatsoever.
Kimberly Alt
I suggest talking to your vet about the vaccination schedule for her. Since she is already 10 months she’s little behind, but I’m sure the vet will have some suggestions for you on which vaccines should be taken when. Congrats on the new dog! My husband and I are hoping to get a dog at the end of the month and are so excited!
Steve Flint
My 10 month old dog got kennel cough when it was 8 months old. He was fine within 3 weeks after being on antibiotics for two of them. My question is because he last coughed in mid december, does he now need a kennel cough vaccine or does he have antibodies for the next few months because he just got over it?
Kennel cough nose spray protects against very out there. Maybe 10 or less against the 100 plus strains out there. a good cough syrup with DM can save a lot of vet bills.
Kimberly Alt
You should contact your vet and ask them. They will be more knowledgable in vaccines.
Jean johnson
I can tell you that very few vets if any will tell you not to over vaccinate….after all ….it’s their bread and butter
My 9 year old Golden Retriever had his yearly shots plus flu vaccine little over a week ago.
He now has dark urine (brownish) reading this could be caused by vaccinations. Should I be concerned ? Thank you so much.
Depends where you live. In the US only rabies is required by law.
Mary Ellen Denesha
My breeder says no. The vet says yes. The night he got his first one he was also prescribed Imodium. He had a severe neurological reaction and almost died. I now know that Imodium is one of the drugs that collies with this gene can not tolerate. I am not convinced that the lepto shot he got that same evening did not contribute to his reaction. My vet feels since he tested mutant/mutant for the MDR1 gene we can be sure that the Imodium is what caused the reaction. I am not so sure and I am concerned about taking that chance. Are they more at risk than a dog without the gene?
leapto is not required as a core vaccine. Go with your gut NO more.
Petrina I.

Hi please can you advise me, my dog is suffering from liver damage caused by two operations he had earlier this year, unfortunately it's taken us a while to diagnose his condition so he is quite poorly. I have not wormed him or used his flea treatment but his annual vaccination is due in a few weeks, is it safe for him to have the vaccination? Thank you.

Andy Delin
If you read the vile of serum it states that it can only be used on healthy animals. Since your companion is suffering from liver damage I would consider that an unhealthy condition. If you are required by law to administer a vaccine there may be a waiver exempting you from doing so. It all depends on the state where you reside. You can check with your local board of health. Your vet can write the letter of exemption. You may have to supply a titer test for rabies and still pay the license fee.
Sara Logan Wilson

Hi Petrina, as always, we recommend contacting your vet; especially since your pup is suffering from liver damage, you'll want to be certain that he can take his annual vaccination.


I think the way a lot of people think of dogs, they think that because they are more animalistic in nature than we are, they can handle a lot more of what the world throws at them health-wise.  However, this thinking seriously discounts just how domesticated these animals have become and just how much we as human beings have affected their evolution and their health risks and needs to live normal lives.  Some breeds, English Bulldogs for example, cannot even achieve natural birth of their litters because the traits that the dogs were bred for won’t allow for it.

This is why getting your dog proper health care is every bit as important as it is to provide for yourself or your children.  They are no longer equipped to deal with “natural” health concerns because they do not live in a natural environment.  They live as we do, amongst air pollutants and germs created by our very own living.   Therefore they need their vaccinations on a regular basis as well as any other preventative care to keep them living healthy normal lives as was intended.

So you would advocate vaccinating your children every year for the rest of their lives as well? If, as you say, humans have affected their evolution why would dogs not have the same lifelong immunity from their vaccinations as we do?

It amazes me to look at the number of dog owners who skip vaccinations. Just like with humans, vaccinations are important for your dog's health. In all honesty, some of these vaccinations will save your pet's life. A good example is the vaccination for parvo. Parvo, as mentioned above, kills 91% of infected pets. Worse yet, the death of the pet is tragic and painful.

While vaccinations are important, you need to consult your vet to determine which vaccinations are necessary in your area. While some vaccinations are necessary for certain areas of the country, they aren't necessary for every pet. Any vet will tell you that the less vaccinations and medications you have to give your pet, the better. In other words, you do not want to give your pet vaccinations unless they are necessary.

If you're buying or adopting a puppy, it's extremely important to make sure the pet is up to date on all its shots and to get a shot record to show your vet. In most cases, the puppy will have received the first couple sets of vaccinations, but it will be up to the owner to finish out the vaccinations, which will require visiting the vet's office every few weeks.

Yes I agree, the positives far outweigh the negatives when vaccinating your pets. In our small town (South Africa) we have 2 townships (shanty towns is what Americans call it, I think). Every home has a dog or 5 but these people cannot afford proper food let alone health care. A small group of friends and myself started a rescue group and we help these animals as much as we can with the little support/supplies we have. Our nearest vet is 40km away. The reason for this background, last year we had a distemper outbreak. Only the dogs that we had vaccinated previously survived, more than 100 died, some before my eyes, a miserable and heartbreaking death. We also often have parvo outbreaks (like we have at the moment), it breaks my heart a hundred times over to see these pups, try to help, but knowing they won’t make it. And this misery could’ve been avoided by having been vaccinated. If we could afford to, we would vaccinate all the pups and dogs in town, because here contamination is pretty high as almost no yard is secure, so everyone’s dogs (except the poor chained souls) end up ”visiting” in the neighbor’s yard, and distemper and parvo are highly contagious. So yes, in my personal and reasonable experience, I certainly believe vaccinations are a basic necessity for survival. But of course circumstances may be different in your country, risks may be much lower, but I wouldn’t take a chance with my beloved pooches.
Yes, would like to know only positive and mandatory healthy shots. So sick of funding unnecessary vet’s beach house in Maui. Rofl

I understand wanting to get your pet vaccinated but has anyone actually read the studies that show vaccines can and have caused cancer in both dogs and humans. Human beings have been in existence for over a million years. If vaccination was an integral part of our evolution or survival we would have been extinct years ago. Modern medicine seems to be pretty archaic by working against the immune system as opposed to working in collaboration with animal or human immune systems. I know this post is only about dogs, but please take the time to look up the connection between vaccines and autism in children. I'll stick with taking my pup to a natural vet that uses both western and eastern (more ancient) medicine to restore and enhance my pet's life. Much love to you all.

True pet
This thinking of the more vaccine the better is so wrong. Vaccination is not immunization. All vaccine are not made from real disease, they are manufactured synthetics plus toxic preservation material. Vaccine contribute to cancer, not to protection from viruses. The reason your dog is not getting ‘these’ terrible diseases (e.g. Lepro) because they are not there in our environment, they are so rear, almost not existant if your pet in good care. The fear is big for those viruses. And greed to profit from the vaccines. Never vaccinated my multiple pets in my life, and never got any of those viruses. Please, stop spred this fear. Great info from the movie “The Truth about Pets”

I think you made a good point in this article about owners who feel that since dogs do not get shots in the wild that they do not need this form of routine medical care.  These types of attitudes are ones that I see often in my fellow pet owners.

Though they love their animals just like they love a best friend or a family member, they assume that their dog simply does not need essential care like vaccinations, spaying and neutering, checkups, or even healthy dog food designed for their size and breed. 

They feed their dogs hot dogs and bologna only and no crunchy food and rarely take their animal to the vet.  If there is an emergency, the animal will see the doctor, but that's the extent of it. 

I think we have to understand that our pets are not living in the wild.  They are living with our germs and as part of our human lives.  As such, we absolutely need to make sure that we are following the veterinary standard of care for our pets, no matter how they would live in the wild.

Ever hear or think of running titer on your animals? The results may amaze you. But wait, it costs more than the shots, never mind.
I followed the vaccination protocol for my tiny Chihuahua when she was a puppy. Small dogs are sensitive to meds. I would rather pay for a titer test to see if she still has those anitbodies than subject her to vaccines that may shorten her life even if the titer is more expensive. I won’t take chances with my loved ones because of money. I would be responsible should something go wrong, and I couldn’t forgive myself.
Even in the wild people should realize animals still get sick. Wolves, coyotes, etc. lose a lot of pups to parvo and distemper. Animals in the wild still get inflicted with rabies too. Animals in the wild do not receive tick and flea medicine and suffer from mange and die from tick paralysis. Just saying.

As any responsible pet owner is well aware, having your dog vaccinated at the proper times is one of the best and most important things that can be done to help ensure you continue to have a happy and healthy dog. There are a number of different vaccinations that should be considered.

The first vaccine to be given to a puppy of around five weeks is for the parvo virus. This virus is extremely contagious and is picked up through the feces of other infected dogs. The diseases itself takes some time to show up, but it can be very nasty when it does.

Also consider having your dog vaccinated for the coronavirus. This is an intestinal disease that can lead to a number of unpleasant side effects in your dog. There is no real treatment if this is contracted, so vaccination can save your dog from a lot of needless suffering.

Have your dog vaccinated for rabies. This is a big one, considering it is even something which humans can catch from their dogs. I think we all know about this one; not much to say except get it done.


If you are going to own a pet, vaccination are something you have to consider when you think about the cost of pet care. Too many people just go buy a puppy, feed it, get bored with it, chain it in the back yard and forget all about it until the neighbors start complaining. When I see this, it makes me wonder if they treat their kids the same way.

Unless your pet is never ever going to be exposed to another living being, you are only being responsible if you get vaccinations. And, since many bacteria and viruses live in the air and ground, even if you never see another living being, your pet is still exposed.

If you think the vaccinations are too expensive, then buy pet insurance that covers the vaccinations that your pet needs. I think most pet insurance programs cover vaccinations because it is cheaper for them to pay for the shots than it is for them to pay for hospital visits due to a lack of shots. Also, carrying pet insurance may even make you see the value of your pet a bit more as you are taking care of him or her like you would take care of your kids.


The author of this piece makes a great point right up front. Many people say that dogs do not really need to be vaccinated because they would not have those shots in the wild. I think that I can actually understand this argument; however, I think most vets and other scientists feel that it is a bad argument for the simple reason that dogs are no longer really wild animals. The sheer fact that they have become domesticated now makes them susceptible to a number of diseases which should be treated by vaccinations.

You should certainly consider having your dog vaccinated against all of the common diseases and issues which your vet recommends. Additionally, you should seriously consider vaccinating against things like canine distemper, which is a viral disease that is very contagious and related to measles.

If you live in area that is prone to Lyme disease, this is another vaccination to consider. Your dog should have this done at 12 and 15 weeks, plus after 12 months. Boosters are recommended every year or so thereafter (or as recommended by your vet).


I know that there are some people who vaccinate their own dogs and I do understand the premise behind it, but I hope that those same people are talking to vets about what kind of vaccinations their dogs need. I would be too afraid that I would not do it right or that I would miss some important vaccination that my dog needed. But, to each his own.

What really scares me where I live is the fact that the suburbs behind me have so many dogs that just run where they want to, including my yard. In fact, they even killed my chickens and my neighbor's chickens. Now, I imagine if they are allowed to roam around where they please, including my yard, they probably are not vaccinated either. That means they could be carrying all sorts of diseases that I don't want anything to do with. I think if people are not worried about their own dogs, they could at least think about the people and animals around them.

People just don't get that some of the most deadly diseases are the ones that can be shared just by walking around. If those dogs have been around Parvo, they are spreading it around my yard.


Even though many people may consider them to be an inconvenience (and an annoyance to the dog), vaccinations are simply a vital part of maintaining the health of your dog. Since dogs have become domesticated it is even more important to make sure that they are protected from common diseases and illnesses.

The whole idea behind a dog vaccination is basically the same as with a human vaccination. A small amount of either dead or live bacteria is placed underneath the skin. The idea is that the canine immune system will recognize this non lethal strain as a foreign body and attack and destroy it. In this process, this builds up immunity to the disease, illness or bacteria. In most cases, this is enough to prevent your dog from contracting that particular condition in the future (if they do it will be much less severe).

All dogs should be vaccinated for a number of common conditions. This is true for both inside or outside type dogs. The fact of the matter is that dogs have now become susceptible to conditions such as parvovirus, coronavirus, distemper, rabies and a number of others.


There are a number of vaccinations that should be given to puppies and dogs in order to make sure they maintain good health and do not contract preventable diseases. Each owner should make sure to educate themselves about these and get their dog vaccinated at the proper time.

The parvovirus vaccine is normally given to puppies that are deemed high risk at the age of 5 weeks. Those not deemed high risk will get a combination vaccine at around 12 weeks which includes the parvo virus vaccination. This is maintained by a booster shot no more than every three years apart.

The rabies vaccination is given to puppies at 12 weeks of age. A second shot is given about a year after the first one. From here, boosters should be received every 2 or 3 years.

Your puppy may also need to receive the lyme disease vaccination. This is generally only given in areas where this is a common concern. For those puppies who need it, they should have the shot at between 12 and 15 weeks of age.


This is an excellent source for any dog owner, but especially for those who are just starting out with a new pet. Getting used to having a new member in the family is hard to do. It looks easy, and they do look so cute, but there is far more to it than just cuddling and snuggling a new pup.

Vaccinations are the key to starting your relationship off right with your pup. If you cannot get your pup vaccinated, try and wait to get the pup at all. Otherwise, you could be looking at a rough road if your pup contracts some kind of illness that could have been avoided had you gotten the vaccination.

Animals are no different than children when they come to live in your home. They have been domesticated and rely completely on you for keeping them safe and healthy. It is not just a matter of feeding your dog and training him or her where to go to the bathroom. It is a lifetimes commitment. They come in your home offering you loyalty without question. It is not too much to ask to take them to get a shot or two.


I think owning a dog or any pet for that matter, should be something you must pass some kind of standardized testing and obtain a license to do.  I have thought for a long time that this should be true for raising children also but there is likely some constitutional strings attached to that topic. 

When it comes to dogs however, owning one and raising one is certainly no right of humanity.  The government does have authority to step in and protect animals if they think they are being poorly cared for or even abused.  Why not take a preventative approach and require licenses to even be in possession of an animal? 

Testing could include psychological evaluation, a cursory background check, and a credit check to ensure that the animal will be cared for in an appropriate environment and receive all the care they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.  When you think about how many dogs and other pets do not even receive proper health care, such as vaccinations, it really is saddening to consider how many suffer each and every day.


I thought this article was very thoughtful and an important one for many people to read if they are considering becoming dog owners or if they already have dogs in their care.  It frightens me how little responsibility is required for a human being to own a canine. 

One thing in the article stuck out to me and it was the statement about people who consider their dogs “outside dogs” thinking that because dogs never had vaccinations in the wild, they would not need them in our modern society.  People who think this are proof positive that they are not qualified to raise a dog or even a child. 

Dogs have been living with and amongst humans for so many generations now and the breeding of these animals has been so extensive that they require much different care than a “wild dog” would have thousands of years ago.  I have a friend that has an English Bulldog and he informed me that these dogs cannot even have natural child birth due to the size of the birth canal and the size of the puppies’ heads.  That doesn’t happen in nature!


The author of this article provides a good overview of the initial steps to take when getting a new puppy. The first insight provided is that you will now have another living thing to take care of; this can both exciting and a little unnerving at the same time. The first step is to get them checked out by a vet.

After this, you want to make sure that they are vaccinated. This is very important, especially since there are a few diseases that can be potentially fatal to a puppy. The author mentions canine distemper and parvovirus as major concerns. Of course, the author also points out that these vaccinations need to be kept updated through the use of boosters from time to time. Make sure that you are vigilant about this.

Another thing the author specifically mentions is to have your new puppy spayed or neutered. The argument for doing this now instead of later (or even not at all) is that it can have specific health benefits, including a decrease in the incidence of certain types of diseases and improved mental health.


My friend and I were just talking about this the other day. She took all of her dogs in for their vaccinations and I couldn't believe her bill. Then she told me that her vet doesn't do everything. He knows she prefers natural healing and to do things at home rather than to pay someone to do it for her. So she gives the vaccinations that she can in her home. I am considering doing the same thing. We have a local store here that sells everything except rabies and Parvo vaccinations. Those you have to go to the vet for.

Now, I had tried this before and my vet reminded me of a regular doctor who pretty much believed that it was his way or no way. If the primary concern is to take care of the animal, then why is is such a big deal if I do it at home instead of paying someone else to do it. But, money talks. There are some vets who won't vaccinate your pets at all if you plan to do any of the vaccinations at home. I didn't bother to listen to any excuses because the only one worth hearing would have been some concern about having it done right, which is why a friend of mine was going to do it. Whatever. Just vaccinate your dog.

Hi there, I’m no vet, just a rescue worker, but I have vaccinated many township dogs in our area which wouldn’t have been vaccinated otherwise. I need to mention that the reason many vets will refuse just selling you the vacs, is because a thorough vet checks your dog out before vaccinating in order to ascertain that there aren’t any other health issues, e.g. measuring temperature, checking heartbeat, ears, etc. In administering vacs yourself, you may not pick up any initial problems until it has quantified or maybe too late. Also if a dog/cat is already ill, the vac won’t help, almost as if you’ve injected water, but as in my case, it’s difficult to afford taking all 13 of my dogs and 17 rescues to the vet because to pay a consultation fee as well as vaccination would bankrupt me (: but, yeah, the above IS the reason vets prefer to consult.
Daniel Driscoll
I find it disturbing that this site gives the stats on how the dog will die if it does become sick and not given the vaccine but unless I missed something reading through the website I didn’t see a single stat on what the percentage will be if my dog actually becomes sick with one of these. The only reason I looked after asking a vet tech in New England ( near Boston) she confessed that either Lepto or parvo was almost never seen up here and maybe taking the pup out for a run was safer than driving her in my car.
The whole things just smells of $$ to me when they always say your dog will die if stricken
I myself with the cost of health insurance haven’t had a physical in 5 years!
I want to do the right thing but is there an agenda here?
Kimberly Alt
That’s a great suggestion. We will look into adding that information into our article. We think whatever your vet suggests is what you should do. They know your dog best and know what risks they have with certain diseases.
Pamela Otto
Your vet is not the know all. Do the best for your dog. You have the responsibility to make your pups healthy and happy.
Kimberly Alt
Since vets go to school for 7 to 9 years, I’d say they know more than the average pet parent. I believe that a thorough conversation with your vet about vaccinations where the two of you discuss concerns you have as a parent as well as the benefits is a good start to the best care for your dog.

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