Routine Vaccinations for Puppies and Dogs
Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?
Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the
rabies vaccine. Some areas require yearly rabies vaccination. Other areas call
for vaccines every three years. An up-to-date canine rabies vaccination is a
legal requirement. Be sure to keep proof of your dog’s rabies vaccines with his
How Often Should My Adult Dog Be Vaccinated?
Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule for
your dog. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your dog’s age, medical
history, environment and lifestyle. Some adult dogs might receive certain
vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every 3 years or
When Should My Puppy Be Vaccinated?
If his mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most
likely receive antibodies in mother’s milk while nursing. Puppies should
receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. A
veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to
four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of
Are There Any Risks Associated with Vaccines?
Immunizations mildly stimulate an animal’s immune system in
order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This stimulation
can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever
and allergic reactions. Another less common side effect is the development of
immune mediated disease following vaccination.
That said, it is important to realize that vaccines have saved
countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against canine infectious
disease. Additionally, rabies vaccinations have saved the lives of countless
dogs-and many humans as well. In some developing countries, hundreds of people
die each year due to rabies contracted from dog bites.
As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance of side effects. In
most cases, the risks are much smaller than the risks of disease itself. But it
is important to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s medical history
before he is vaccinated.
What Symptoms Should I Look For?
Most dogs show no ill effect from vaccination. Vaccine
reactions may be minor and short-lived or require immediate care from a
veterinarian. Clinical signs include:
- Loss of appetite
- Facial swelling and/or hives
- Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection
- Difficulty breathing
It is best to schedule your dog’s appointment so that you can monitor him
for any side effects following administration of the vaccine.
What Should I Do if i Think My Dog Is Having an Adverse Reaction to a Vaccine?
If you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine, call
your veterinarian immediately.