What States Require Rabies Vaccines For Dogs

The state statutes for each state that control giving rabies shots to domestic animals are listed here.

The majority of states specifically prohibit giving rabies shots to domestic animals including dogs, cats, and ferrets. While some states only let certified veterinarians to give the vaccination, others permit veterinary technicians and other people with specialized training to immunize these animals.

State-by-state variations exist in the frequency of rabies vaccine requirements. Some states specify a time period, while others adhere to the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control or the label of the utilized vaccination. Additionally, some states are starting to allow vaccination exemptions when deemed medically essential by a veterinarian.

Be aware that some states require rabies vaccines for dogs and cats on a nationwide level, while others leave that decision up to local governments like counties. Some states just demand rabies immunization as a condition of importation.

To obtain an overview of the rabies vaccine regulations in each state, click the link below. Local ordinances are probably in charge of regulating rabies vaccination in the states not included in the map.

In the US, are rabies vaccinations legally required?


The states that let owners to request an exemption (opt-out) from vaccination requirements are indicated on this map of state rabies vaccination legislation. Only 16 states currently (as of December 2019) allow dog owners to request a medical exemption from getting their dogs vaccinated for rabies. In two states, there are neither laws nor rules requiring statewide immunization. Only imported animals over a specific age are subject to the rabies vaccination requirement in eight states (usually 3 months old). The remaining 24 states mandate rabies vaccination for dogs by a specific age, followed by booster shots at predetermined intervals. THE RABIES LAWS AT THE LOCAL (CITY OR COUNTY) LEVEL ARE NOT EXAMINED BY THIS MAPS. MOST CITIES AND COUNTIES REQUIRE A SEPARATE OR ADDITIONAL RABIES VACCINATION. To find out about regional rabies regulations, readers should consult their municipal codes or get in touch with their city or county clerk’s office.

Can I leave my dog unvaccinated against rabies?

The rabies vaccine guards you and your dog from the deadly virus that can kill both humans and animals. According to Californian law, all dogs must receive a rabies vaccination and a license before they are five months old.

Are dogs in the US rabies-vaccinated?

All dogs in California must have a rabies vaccination by the time they are four months old. Cats should also receive a rabies vaccine, according to recommendations.

What vaccinations do dogs need to enter the US?

Dogs must have a history of rabies vaccines if they are 15 months or older.

(with the first administered after 3 months of age) and proof of each rabies booster.

with a history of prior rabies vaccinations are exempt from the 4-week waiting period.

Entering the United States by Air

All animals arriving unaccompanied as air freight into the US must be claimed by a US citizen or permanent resident.

It is strongly encouraged for dog owners to import more than five of their own canines via air cargo.

All interstate shipments that call for a health certificate should use one with several copies.

a tracking number, or the veterinarian must electronically submit the certificate. At the moment, this need mainly

Puppies and Kittens

Although rabies vaccination is not required for kittens to enter the US, they should nevertheless receive

should bring a current health certificate, and state requirements may apply.

Step #7 requires rabies vaccination at age 3 and a waiting period before travel to nations not listed there.

28 days before to entering the nation. Pre-approval for a home quarantine may be possible in some circumstances.

for unvaccinated puppies entering from nations where rabies is still a problem, from the Centers for Disease Control.

(Hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza virus, rabies, and distemper (DHLPP)

When a dog is not transferred as part of ownership or control, this rule does not apply.

after the importation of the dog, to another individual for more than minimal consideration

in the direction of the USA. Consequently, canines imported by a person planning to utilize the dog as a

a personal pet, a sporting animal for competitions or displays, or an animal for breeding or semen collecting

are exempt from this rule’s 6-month age limit and all other criteria.

Other Animals

Other species of rats, rabbits, ornamental fish, and other animals are exempt from the rabies requirement.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service must issue permits for any country for birds entering the US.

An import permit and health certificate are necessary for birds traveling by air or sea into the United States from Canada.

Pet birds that are traveling from or through an area afflicted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) must go straight to quarantine at the

the Miami Animal Import Center in Miami, FL or the New York Animal Import Center in Newburgh, NY following entry into the US.

These pet birds must undergo a 30-day quarantine, which includes needed testing.

Birds coming into the country by air from Mexico or another HPAI-infected nation** must spend 21 days in pre-travel quarantine there.

quarantine. A health certificate, import permission, and veterinary examination are required.

All of the aforementioned rules apply to birds entering the United States from nations with no HPAI, with the exception of

Pet birds weighing more than 100 grams must bear one of three identification marks starting on February 19, 2018.

permitted methods (leg band, tattoo, or microchip) to be eligible for home quarantine instead of

Federal quarantine is imposed upon travelers arriving from nations where HPAI is not present. The recognition

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.

In Florida, is rabies vaccination compulsory by law?

When it comes to humans and other species, the rabies virus can almost always be fatal. The virus can spread to unvaccinated pets in Florida, which then represent a serious risk to the pet owner and their family. The virus is present in some species there. Raccoons and bats are the primary animal carriers of rabies in Florida. Through bites, infected bats and raccoons can spread the disease to humans, animals, and other species. Due to their frequent lack of rabies vaccinations, outdoor cats are by far the most prevalent domestic animal identified to carry the disease in the state of Florida. In the state of Florida, vaccination against rabies is mandated for dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Avoiding direct contact with wildlife, not feeding wildlife, seeing a veterinarian to make sure pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines, and keeping an eye on dogs and young children when outside are some steps people and their families may take to prevent being exposed to rabies. Contact your county health department as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed to rabies. If given in a timely manner after an exposure, an efficient treatment is available to stop infections in people.

  • Questions and Answers

1. Keep domestic and wild animals away from one another.

2. Have your veterinarian vaccinate your pets and livestock that is at danger, and make sure to adhere to their revaccination recommendations.

3. Don’t let your animals go wild. Respect leash rules by securing your animals and pets on your property.

4. Avoid attracting stray or wild animals with outside food sources and never feed them. Feed your animals inside.

5. If an unvaccinated, stray, or wild animal attacks your pet, DO NOT check it for wounds without using gloves. DON’T neglect to wash your pet with soap and water to remove the attacking animal’s saliva. UNTIL animal control or county health department employees can handle the matter, AVOID allowing your animal to interact with other animals or people.

6. Inform the public about the need to limit interaction with wild and stray animals.

7. Assist animal control in its attempts to limit the number of wild and stray animals.

8. Give pre-exposure prophylaxis to persons who work in high-risk fields such veterinary medicine, animal control, lab work, and working with animals.

Homes that are bat-proof.

What occurs if a dog is not vaccinated against rabies?

If you have been bitten by an animal that is not readily available for testing or observation, or if you have been exposed to its saliva in any other way, call your doctor, the state public health agency, the local public health unit, and local law enforcement. Try to track down the animal or the owner if it was a domestic dog, cat, or ferret. If the animal cannot be found, consult your doctor as you may need to begin rabies preventive therapy, which will involve receiving the rabies vaccination.

Yes, a rabies virus brain exam is the only test that has been proved to work. Blood testing have not been shown to be trustworthy. The test must be as precise and trustworthy as feasible due to the seriousness of rabies.

What happens if the pet’s owner declines to have the animal tested for rabies after it has bitten someone?

You should get in touch with your neighborhood police if an animal’s owner refuses to have the animal tested for rabies.

  • Vaccinate your domestic dog, cat, or ferret, and make sure to keep up with any required booster shots. Please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website for further details on the immunization regulations in each state.
  • Avoid interacting with stray or wild animals as well as hybrids of domestic and wild animals.
  • Avoid touching any dead animals.
  • Keep wild animals away from your employment, residence, and other buildings.
  • Animals that are stray, ill, or injured should be reported to your neighborhood animal control or law enforcement personnel.

A domestic animal bred with a wild animal will result in a domestic/wild hybrid. The most typical illustration is a domestic dog/wolf mix. Wolves are still regarded as wild creatures even though they may have been raised in captivity.

For wild or hybrid animals, there are no licensed vaccines as of yet. Even though some zoos give their animals rabies shots, this is just done to try to prevent the animals from getting the disease. When a wild or hybrid animal bites a person, it should be humanely put down and its brain should be tested for rabies. Instead of killing the animal if it is a valuable specimen (such as one in a zoo), rabies injections can be given to the human who was exposed.

What happens if my dog, cat, or ferret is bitten by a wild animal or a pet that might be rabid or gets into a fight with one?

  • Have the animal’s brain examined for signs of rabies if the one who bit your pet can be apprehended. If your pet has not received a rabies vaccination and the rabies test results are negative, you should vaccinate them right away.
  • The animal should receive a booster shot right away if the biting animal tested positive for rabies and the pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination. The animal must be kept in the owner’s custody and under observation for 45 days.
  • It is advised to euthanize your pet if the biting animal tested positive for rabies and your pet has never received a vaccination. The animal must be vaccinated right away and isolated for four (dogs and cats) or six (ferrets) months if you do not want to put it to sleep.
  • The pet should immediately receive a booster vaccination, be kept under the owner’s control, and be observed for 45 days if the biting animal tested positive for rabies and the pet is NOT current on its rabies vaccination (i.e., it was previously immunized against rabies but is now past due for a booster vaccination).

If the animal is evading capture, presume it is rabid, and follow the previous instructions.

When I picked up our dog after it had attacked a skunk, it was very wet. Could handling the dog have put me at risk for rabies exposure?

Although there could have been skunk saliva on the dog, there is extremely little chance that the dog was actually exposed. A wound that is still open or mucous membranes must be touched by the saliva. There would have been no rabies exposure if this had not happened. Call your health care provider if you believe you were exposed. In this case, you should test the skunk to check if it was rabid. You and your veterinarian will need the test findings to decide what to do with your dog, and you and your healthcare provider can use them to evaluate whether you may have been exposed.

Every type of livestock is prone to rabies. Similar to domestic pets, livestock that have had a rabies vaccination (using a vaccine USDA-approved for that species) must be revaccinated right away and monitored for 45 days. The animal should be put down if it hasn’t received its vaccinations. If the animal is killed within seven days after exposure and a large portion of the tissue surrounding the exposed area (bite) is thrown away, it may be used for human consumption. Ask your veterinarian for advice.

Small rodents including mice, rats, gophers, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and hares are not known to transmit rabies to people and only sometimes have the disease. Your doctor should always be consulted regarding these animals’ bites. The animal may need to be humanely put to death and its brain rabies-tested, depending on the situation. A rabies exposure may occur as a result of bites or saliva exposure from other larger rodents like muskrats or groundhogs.

In North Dakota, the skunk is the disease’s main reservoir. Until a lab test shows otherwise, each skunk bite should be considered an exposure to rabies.

Rabies can infect any mammal, even bats. Bat bites might not be immediately apparent. Small teeth in bats mean that bites may only be mildly uncomfortable. If a bat enters your home or comes into touch with you, you should call your doctor or the public health authority.

Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are only advised for those with a higher risk of contracting the disease. These individuals include veterinarians, animal control officers, rabies lab personnel, and cave explorers. When visiting impoverished nations, some people could encounter pre-exposure photography. For more details, speak with your doctor or the public health division.

I have a higher chance of contracting rabies since I work in a high-risk industry. Which is suggested for me?

Pre-exposure immunization is advised by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This entails three vaccination doses given on days 0, 7, and 21 or 28. Every two years, you should be checked for protective antibodies, and booster shots are advised if the results are unsatisfactory. Your antibody level should be assessed every six months if you operate in a rabies research facility or produce rabies vaccines.

  • If you have never received rabies vaccinations, you can anticipate receiving four doses of the vaccine over the course of 14 days, along with a dose of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) on the same day as the first dose. Until your body reacts to the vaccine and produces its own antibodies to rabies, rabies immunoglobulin gives immediate protection against rabies.
  • You will still require two booster doses of the rabies vaccine even if you have already received one of the permitted vaccines. As soon as feasible after the first dose, the second dose should be administered. Immunoglobulin for rabies shouldn’t be administered.

The most typical adverse reaction to vaccinations is discomfort and redness at the injection site. Rarer, more severe responses are frequently brought by by allergies to vaccine components. If you experience any health issues that you believe might be caused by the immunization, speak with your doctor.

No, since the 1980s, the rabies vaccine has not been administered intravenously. It should only be administered to adults in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm (administration to the gluteal area is NOT recommended, as studies have shown this can result in a less effective immune response). Depending on the child’s age and body mass, the anterolateral side of the thigh is also a suitable location for children. If at all possible, rabies immunoglobulin should be administered at the bite site.

As soon as a health care professional determines rabies vaccine is necessary following an exposure, the immunization series should ideally start. Normally, you can wait for the results of a domestic animal test to determine whether rabies vaccinations are necessary. Until rabies has been ruled out, bites and exposures from wild animals should be handled as if the animal were rabid. Because the exposure was never suspected, there have been cases where a person delayed starting rabies vaccines for months following an exposure.

It is too late to receive a rabies vaccination if a person exhibits rabies symptoms!

Immunoglobulin and the rabies vaccine are quite expensive. A standard rabies immunoglobulin vaccine series can cost a person anywhere between $2,000 and $7,000+.

What can I do as a member of the local law enforcement community to safeguard the public from rabies?

Enforcing leash rules and rabies vaccination legislation in your jurisdiction will help lower the danger of rabies in your community. Ensuring that animals who have bitten a person are properly contained makes it more likely that the animal won’t run away while being observed, allowing the vet to declare the animal healthy. Additionally, it reduces the chance that other people or animals will come into contact with the confined animal and aids in avoiding unnecessary rabies vaccinations.