How Often Dogs Get Shots

The core and non-core immunizations for adult dogs are the same as those for puppies. To retain their protection to the diseases they were immunized against as puppies, adult dogs need booster doses every one to three years. 2

The DAP (or DHPP) and rabies vaccinations, as well as any other non-core vaccinations you and your veterinarian decide your dog needs, are typically given as boosters at one year old by your veterinarian.


DAP/DHPP and rabies are the two main vaccines, and both one-year and three-year variants are offered.

5 Your dog will typically get the DAP vaccination once every three years following the first year. States have different vaccination requirements for this disease, with many requiring a yearly booster dose. 6 In any other case, your dog only has to have the rabies booster shot once every three years. The rabies vaccination laws in your state can be found out from your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will advise you on non-core vaccinations depending on your household’s environment, way of life, and other elements that affect your pet’s risk of exposure. Although the bordetella vaccine may be administered every six months, especially if you often board your dog or put them in doggie daycare, these shots are given once a year.

How many vaccinations does my dog require annually?

Only the rabies vaccination is necessary for dogs in California. All other vaccinations are optional. Dogs must receive the rabies vaccine in accordance with state law if they are older than three months. The rule also stipulates that after receiving a vaccination, a dog must always wear the accompanying license on its collar. Owners of puppies are required to vaccinate their pups between the ages of three and five months. Your dog needs to be vaccinated again every one to three years, depending on the type of rabies vaccine used.

Veterinarians advise that your canine companions undergo a number of fundamental immunizations, even though California lawmakers only mandate the rabies vaccination for dogs. This covers vaccinations against leptospirosis, parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus-2, and others. Other diseases like parainfluenza, Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine influenza virus, and Lyme disease are also protected against by non-core vaccines.

Do dogs require annual vaccinations?

Primary immunization is crucial for preventing the once-common and fatal puppy illnesses. But according to new studies, not all vaccinations need yearly boosters.

There is no proof that giving dogs an annual booster vaccination is harmful to most dogs. Published studies have conclusively demonstrated that depriving your dog of some boosters can put him at risk. Blood tests to evaluate the quantity of antibodies (antibody titers) are sometimes advised to determine whether boosters are required for your dog. Unfortunately, these tests can be traumatic for your dog and are frequently more expensive than revaccination.

“If your dog is exposed to a virulent form of the disease, high serum antibody levels may not guarantee disease prevention.”

Additionally, if your dog contracts a severe strain of the disease, a high blood antibody level might not guarantee disease prevention.

Government regulatory agencies have strong requirements for vaccines, and before a vaccine can be given to your dog, manufacturers must demonstrate that it is both safe and effective. The veterinary vaccines used today are the safest and most protective ever thanks to diligence and strict standards.

I would prefer my dog to have boosters only when necessary. Is this okay?

It is conceivable, but the amount of protection against any of the avoidable diseases must be determined by specific blood tests for antibody titers in order to determine when boosters may be required. Your dog will need a booster vaccination if a certain antibody titer is shown to be low. Currently, vaccination against a single disease might not be offered, and it would probably be more expensive than a multivalent vaccine that protects against several diseases. From your dog’s perspective, a single injection that protects against several common diseases is better to multiple vaccines against specific diseases.

Your veterinarian may suggest providing certain core or important virus vaccines to your dog on a three-year schedule for patients with low-risk lifestyles or whose owners want less regular vaccination.

Your veterinarian might advise administering some core or important viral vaccines to your dog on a three-year schedule for patients with low-risk lifestyles or whose owners want less regular vaccination.

It is crucial to remember that delivering a vaccination that is intended to be given annually at a different frequency, such every three years, is known as off-label usage for some vaccines and may be against the law. Before making a choice, you should talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and drawbacks. Recent research has shown that some viral vaccinations can provide immunity for at least three years. With bacterial vaccinations, however, annual booster shots are typically still necessary.

The lifestyle and relative risk of your dog ultimately determine how frequently they should receive vaccinations. Ask your vet what vaccinations your dog needs and when they should be given them.

Are there any other advantages of annual vaccination?

Based on your dog’s lifestyle, age, and health, you and your veterinarian should select which immunizations she or he needs.

Based on your dog’s lifestyle, age, and health, you and your veterinarian should select which immunizations she or he needs. Some vaccinations, particularly those for contagious bacterial infections like kennel cough, may be required yearly if you regularly board your dog or if he is regularly exposed to other dogs.

Your veterinarian will do a health or wellness exam before administering the immunization. Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s muscles, skin, joints, lymph nodes, head, neck, chest, and belly in addition to asking you specific questions regarding your dog’s health status. Annual vaccinations call for annual examinations by a veterinarian, who may find infections of the teeth or ears as well as subclinical illnesses (diseases without overt symptoms) including underlying heart abnormalities, metabolic issues, or organ malfunction. Early diagnosis enables more successful and effective therapy and may enhance your dog’s quality of life.

“At least once a year, your dog should be examined by your veterinarian for a wellness assessment if you want to be sure that he or she receives the best care and protection possible.”

Since dogs age more quickly than people do, it’s crucial to make sure they get a thorough physical examination at least once a year, and more frequently as they get older. Regardless of the vaccination schedule recommended for your dog, if you want to guarantee that he or she receives the best care and security, your dog should visit your veterinarian for a wellness checkup at least once a year.

When can I stop immunizing my dog?

As recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, our pets should have received booster shots for these diseases several times by the time they are 8, 10, or 12 years old or older. The first few booster shots should have been given to them as puppies or kittens, a booster at one year, and then boosters every three years.

What occurs if you forget to vaccinate your dog?

The immune system of your puppy or kitten will be less active if the booster immunization is given more than two weeks after the initial shot, which will result in a weaker immune response to the subsequent shot. Your veterinarian’s response will mostly rely on how late you are for the appointment. Your pet may have two shots, spaced just two or three weeks apart, to strengthen their immunity against the illness if this period lasts more than three or four weeks. Please be aware that rabies vaccinations are not covered by this.

You should be sure to keep your puppy or kitten away from unvaccinated animals and off the ground anywhere other than your own home and yard until they have had all necessary vaccinations and your veterinarian is confident that they are fully protected against contagious diseases.

Do dogs receive vaccinations yearly?

The quick response is yes. Regular vaccinations significantly improve your dog’s defenses against severe infections like distemper. Keep in mind that the expense of treatment is typically far higher than the cost of prevention if your dog catches an ailment that a vaccine could have prevented.

Most states also have laws requiring the rabies vaccine. Therefore, if you don’t keep up with your dog’s rabies immunizations, you risk paying a fine.

It is between $75 and $150. How much it will cost will truly depend on where you go and how many shots you require! An additional examination fee, usually between $30 and $60, may be charged in addition to the estimated $150 cost of a full-service veterinarian. A wide variety of vaccine alternatives are available at many full-service veterinary hospitals. For any problems that can be discovered during your pet’s physical examination, they can offer thorough diagnostics. The price can also change depending on the region and the cost of life.

On the other side, you might have to work around their schedule and supplies if you take advantage of some shelters’ free immunization programs. To be accepted for any kind of free program, you might also need to apply.

Which Vaccination Shots Do Dogs Need Each Year?

Core vaccinations and recommended (or non-core) vaccinations are two categories of annual immunizations for adult dogs.

Typical dog immunizations include the following:

  • Rabies
  • Dog parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Dog hepatitis

Following are non-core shots that our doctors advise:

  • The bronchiseptica bacteria
  • Burkdorferi Borrelia
  • Leptospira microbes

This is influenced by lifestyle:

  • If your dog goes to a dog daycare
  • If you frequently travel and leave your dog at a boarding kennel
  • Whenever your dog visits a dog park.
  • If your dog is outdoors for even a short while

Typically, dog boarding facilities will list the vaccinations that dogs must have in order to remain there. Your veterinarian can also offer advice on what is required to keep your dog as safe as possible in these circumstances.

The majority of these future shots for your dog are thought of as boosters after the initial puppy vaccines. As a result, these are typically given out less frequently, usually every three years. The non-core vaccines are the exception; in order to be effective, they must be given at least once a year. Your pet needs boosters because skipping one reduces the vaccination’s effectiveness.

Is Titer Testing Worth It?

The duration of an immunization shot’s immunity is determined through titer testing. You could receive a titer test a year after receiving a distemper vaccination to determine how many antibodies are still present. Titer testing may be suggested by a veterinarian in some circumstances to confirm a pet’s immunity. The outcomes of the tests, however, are not always definitive. Negative titer testing don’t always indicate that your pet is unprotected.

You could question if doing this will help you extend the interval between boosters, but this actually isn’t the best course of action. Why? Because committing to routine titer testing is more expensive overall than adhering to the standard booster schedule.

What are the actual numbers for that? The cost of the entire series of booster shots ranges between $90-180 versus $100-300 for each titer test, each of which covers a different disease. The American Animal Hospital Association advises adult dogs that have finished their puppy series to keep on a standard 3-year vaccine schedule, followed by an initial booster one year later. Testing for this every year becomes far more expensive than maintaining this plan. Titers can only be done for core vaccines, with the exception of rabies.

Does My Elderly Dog Still Need Boosters?

Immune responses to vaccinations begin strongly and gradually wane. We give dogs booster shots for this reason.

This requirement remains constant throughout age. Give your furry old friend all the protection you can because, if anything, his immune system might require the extra support to stave against sickness! The best recommendation for how frequently your dog needs to receive the core vaccines will come from your veterinarian because, as was already mentioned, they can likely be administered on an extended schedule.

Do Vaccines Carry Risky Side Effects?

Most dogs who receive vaccinations only have minor side effects. Because they just slightly stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies, they are expected to do this. These antibodies offer your dog defense against the actual illness.

Fever, tiredness, and a runny nose are examples of mild symptoms. Additionally, the area where the shot was administered to your dog can be a bit uncomfortable.

If you can, schedule your dog’s vaccinations on a day when you can watch over them in case there is a very unlikely bad response. However, overall, the experience is quite normal and comparable to getting vaccinated as a human.

Do Puppies Need Different Vaccines than Adult Dogs?

The most crucial time to vaccinate your dog is when they are a puppy. Since their immune system is least protected when they are young, they require a strong series of vaccinations. To guarantee that the right immune response is boosted at the same time that the mother’s natural antibodies are waning, a series of vaccines are given.

A vaccination schedule for your dog can be developed in consultation with a veterinarian at their initial appointment. Additionally, you can talk about a schedule for when they are an adult. You will have more time to plan for the cost of vaccinations as a result. And keep in mind, it’s better to get some photos than none at all.

Is it too late for my dog to get a vaccine?

He is not past the age of immunization, no. A rabies vaccination can be given once after which it can be updated every three years. Distemper/parvovirus combination (DHPP) can be administered, followed by a booster dose after 4 weeks. After that, depending on the vaccine, it may be every year or every three years.

Do dogs actually require annual rabies vaccinations?

Why can’t I test my blood instead? These inquiries are something that we at The Well Dog Place hear virtually every day. Although they are reasonable questions, the response does not provide much comfort. Currently, dogs must receive rabies vaccinations every three years. This is why.

The purpose of rabies vaccinations is to protect humans, not dogs. As soon as symptoms appear, rabies is usually lethal, hence preventing rabies in the general population is the main objective. The state and local human public health authorities, not veterinary groups, set the regulations. They establish the regulations that zoos and vet clinics must abide by. Any dog in California is required by law to receive three rabies vaccinations in the first five years of life. Accordingly, 1 is given at 3–4 months old, then again at 1–12 years and 3–4 months old, and finally at 3 years old. Dogs must then receive vaccinations every three years after that.

Depending on how much rabies has been discovered in the local wildlife, different states and counties may have different laws. Dogs must receive annual rabies shots in states and counties with a high prevalence of wildlife rabies! Rabies blood titers are not accepted as proof of immunity by any public health organization.

  • According to recent studies, rabies vaccinations may only be required every five years. This research could influence rabies prevention policies currently in place.
  • Despite the online commotion, allergy vaccination reactions are not most frequently caused by rabies. The vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, and especially leptospirosis are more frequently linked to adverse effects. Although it is not required, many veterinarians administer these immunizations on an annual basis. The alleged issues with over-vaccination are most likely a result of this over-vaccination against these diseases.
  • There are currently rabies vaccines without mercury. Cancers at injection sites may be brought on by mercury.

There is currently no substitute for the California rabies immunization laws. While always using mercury-free rabies, The Well Dog Place abides by the law.

We dislike giving needless or excessive vaccinations. Instead, we do Distemper and Parvovirus vaccine titer tests and only vaccinate when the results show that your dog has no protective titer protection against either of these diseases. Only high-risk puppies (puppy socialization classes, daycare, etc.) or when groomers, boarding facilities, or other dog-related companies mandate them, do we advise the Bordetella, or Kennel Cough, vaccine. Do your study and determine whether your dog is at danger for various diseases (Lymes, influenza, corona, etc.) due to their lifestyle before contemplating immunization as most dogs don’t need additional vaccines.

In the fields of pet nutrition and fitness, Dr. Ken Tudor is a well-known authority and pioneer. He founded a pet weight-management program and participated in the creation of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats task group. He also frequently appears on the radio program Pet World Insider, and his appearances on the television program Pet Ex Talks-Pet Experts Empowering Pet Parents are well-liked.