At one time veterinarians always recommended that dogs be vaccinated annually. That is no longer the case. Research has shown that too many vaccinations can be bad for your dog’s longterm health. There are now veterinary school guidelines which suggest that you alternate the vaccines your dog receives each year so your dog’s immune system is not overwhelmed. You should follow these guidelines when having your dog vaccinated and not get every vaccination every year. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines your dog needs each year and do not over-vaccinate.
After your dog receives his puppy shots, he will need to have booster vaccines a year later. This means that your dog will need to have a repeat of the core vaccines he received as a puppy to make sure he has good immunization. Core vaccines include rabies, canine parvovirus-2, canine adenovirus-2, and distemper. These are the basic vaccines your dog needs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In some localities rabies is required annually, while other cities and states only require the shot every two or three years. You should check the law in your area to find out what is required. Research is currently underway to try to convince governments to make all rabies shots only required every three years (or longer) as the vaccine is very long-lasting.
Non-core vaccines that some people get for their dogs include leptospirosis, Bordetella (against kennel cough), coronavirus, and a shot for Lyme disease. These vaccines are all optional for different reasons. Leptospirosis is usually only given to dogs that come in contact with wildlife or drink water in places where wild animals may have urinated or defecated. There are some side effects to the leptospirosis vaccine that can be very dangerous to dogs and many people choose not to get this vaccine. The Bordetella vaccine is required if you are boarding your dog at a kennel, and it is a good idea if your dog is going to be in places where large numbers of dogs congregate. However, there are many different strains of Bordetella. It is similar to the common cold. Just because your dog is vaccinated against Bordetella, which may protect your dog from a few kinds of kennel cough, doesn’t mean that he will be protected against all kinds. Coronavirus typically only affects young puppies. Your adult dog probably already has immune protection against this virus so getting a shot for it is not usually called for. Some people have their dogs vaccinated for Lyme disease (Lyme disease is passed by ticks) but most veterinarians will tell you that the shot has not proven to be very effective.
Knowing what vaccinations are for can help you make better decisions about which shots your dog really needs. Some shots, such as the core vaccines, are important. But other vaccinations may not be necessary or may actually be useless.
Veterinarians often like to give a combination shot that has five or six vaccines in one syringe. It is easier to give one shot and it usually costs you less for them to give a combo shot. But you should make sure that you know what your vet is giving your dog and that you want your dog to receive all of the vaccines in the shot. There is some research that shows it is harder on a dog’s immune system to receive all of these vaccines in one dose. You may prefer to have your dog vaccinated in separate vaccines so your dog’s immune system can handle the vaccines better.
After your dog receives these booster shots when he is a year old, he may not need more shots for these diseases for two or three years. Talk to your vet about a schedule for your dog’s vaccinations. Remember that vaccinations usually last much longer than a year and that over-vaccinating your dog can be a danger to his health.