Which Vaccines Should I Give My Dog?

Deerfield Dog Care

If you’re wondering how often your dog should be vaccinated, you’re not alone.

It’s a question that many pet owners want to know.  And while their protection from potentially harmful diseases is important to you, according to some holistic animal experts, there are instances where pets are being over vaccinated.

So how do you know when it’s right to vaccinate your dog?

The Barking Lot did some digging and came up with a few guidelines to help you decide how and when to seek protection for your pet.

About every five years, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) publishes its list of recommendations for canine vaccinations. These guidelines are based on research done by experts in the fields of immunology, infectious diseases, clinical practice, internal diseases and law and backed by scientific studies.

The AAHA suggests that not every dog needs every vaccine.  Most veterinarians will agree.  There are different factors that determine whether or not your particular pet needs a certain type.

During your visit, your vet will usually ask you some questions about your dog’s lifestyle. Based on your answers, a recommendation is made about which vaccines are appropriate for your dog.

Here are a few of the things they’ll want to know:

  • Have you taken your pet to a dog boarding facility
  • Does he spend time at a doggie daycare
  • Does he visit dog parks
  • Does he swim in fresh water
  • Does he spend time in a yard where livestock is or was present
  • Has he come in contact with coughing dogs
  • Does he live in an area where Lyme disease is common

Once the vet gives you their recommendation, you can decide from there which vaccinations are right for your pet. Before making a decision, familiarize yourself with the following:

Core and Non-Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are recommended for every pet, while non-core vaccines are recommended for dogs that may be at-risk for a certain disease.

The core vaccines and the age they’re recommended are:

Distemper, Measles, Parafluenza – 6-8 weeks, administer 1 dose every 3 years

DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus) – 10 -12 weeks,  administer 1 dose every year, as needed

Rabies – 12-24 weeks, administer 1 dose every year

DHPP – 14-16 weeks

Rabies, DHPP – 12-16 months

DHPP – 1 – 2 years

Rabies – 1 – 3 years

Non-core vaccines include Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Coronavirus and Leptospirosis.

Because studies have shown vaccinating your pet more than what’s needed can cause side effects,  some experts say that over vaccination is even potentially dangerous and doesn’t create greater immunity.

Titer Testing

If your pet is fully protected according to the guidelines above and your vet is suggesting additional vaccinations, you also have the option of doing a titer test to help determine your pet’s history. This test measures the existence and levels of antibodies in the blood.

A positive result usually means he’s protected.

Keep in mind, a titers is not 100 percent accurate and your vet may still recommend vaccination if there’s a chance your pet could be at risk.

If you’re still not satisfied, it’s best to get a second opinion.  Please see a list of vaccinations we recommend before boarding or daycare at The Barking Lot!


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