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All About Vaccinating Your Dog

Which Vaccines Your Dog Will Need

By Rebecca Kelley. July 06, 2012 | See Comments

All About Vaccinating Your Dog

Vaccinating pets is an important step in ensuring their health and safety. Find out which vaccines dogs need.

You don’t have to be a veterinarian to understand the importance of getting your dog vaccinated. But few realize veterinarians are actually discouraging certain vaccines. Here at PetCareRx, we waded through the confusion and dug up some clear-cut answers to the questions of vaccination.

Why Vaccinate?

Vaccines expose your puppy or adult dog to the dead version of an otherwise dangerous virus. This trains your dog’s immune system to fight the virus without actually putting them at risk of getting seriously sick. Vaccines may cost money up front, but they save you a lot of monetary and emotional cost in the long run by preventing the most serious viral infections that your dog faces.

What Vaccines are Important? Which Ones are Unimportant?

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has divided vaccines into two different categories: “core” vaccines and “non-core” vaccines. Core vaccines prevent diseases that are serious, life threatening, and global in scope. They include:

You may notice that rabies is missing from this list. Veterinarians disagree whether rabies should be included on the “core” list or not. Because the prevalence of rabies depends so heavily on location, with some countries having almost no incidences and others having much higher incidences, rabies does not qualify as a “global” virus. However, many states in the US require dogs to have rabies vaccination, and most veterinarians recommend that you do vaccinate your dog for this devastating and dangerous virus, in order to protect you and your dog from the unlikely.

Core vaccines are an absolute must for all dogs everywhere, but many non-core vaccines are still very important. Exactly which ones of these non-core vaccines are important? That depends on your dog’s breed, your location, and your lifestyle habits. For instance, if your dog frequently stays in a kennel, you may want to have them vaccinated for kennel cough. The best way to determine which non-core vaccines are necessary for your dog is to have a detailed conversation with your vet. Don’t just accept a package of non-core vaccines without talking it over with your vet to make sure they’re a good fit for your dog.

When Should I Vaccinate My Dog? When Should I Vaccinate My Puppy?

The WSAVA has created a timeline for vaccination, leaving flexibility to make sure your dog is feeling healthy when they’re getting the vaccination. It’s better to wait a little while if your puppy is a little under the weather than to charge ahead with vaccination, as the dead virus will temporarily weaken the immune system.

  • 1st vaccination: puppies are 8-9 weeks old
  • 2nd vaccination: 3-4 weeks afterwards
  • 3rd vaccination: 14-16 weeks old
  • 12 months after the third vaccination, puppies should get their “booster shots”

After these first four vaccinations, dogs should get vaccinated again every three years or longer, to make sure that their immune systems are “up to date” on the latest versions of vaccination without over-vaccinating. If you want to vaccinate your dog against “kennel cough” and other less serious viruses, you may have to have them vaccinated every year. Remember, this kind of vaccination is not entirely necessary; it’s like getting a vaccination against the common cold: useful if you’re frequently in contact with such viruses, but not absolutely necessary to maintain overall health.

Getting the right vaccines for your dog is another way you can protect your dog’s health and happiness, so talk to your vet and find the right balance for your dog.

Use a vet finder to find the right veterinarian for your pet.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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