Just as humans seek vaccines to prevent and/or minimize the severity of illnesses or disease, dogs need shots too. Only instead of seeking vaccines to prevent things like measles, dogs require vaccines to prevent the onset of the likes of rabies, distemper, parvovirus and more. However, the frequency at which dogs need these vaccines is largely dependent on their age, the record keeping of the owner and the owner’s vet practice and the professional opinion of the veterinarian as it pertains to what non-core vaccines are necessary for the particular animal. As an example, puppies need more vaccines than adult dogs do as their immune systems are in development to stave off potentially dangerous illnesses. This post will take a closer look at dog vaccines and answer the question, what shots do dogs need yearly?
Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines
Canine vaccines are broken into two main categories – core vaccines, which are those recommended for every dog regardless of their situation, and non-core vaccines, which may be advised by veterinarians depending on the dog’s lifestyle and breed, but considered more optional.
Core vaccines are specifically intended to prevent widespread, more contagious diseases. Generally, they provide long-term immunity for pets. In fact, though once recommended to be administered annually, most vets revaccinate dogs with core vaccines once every three years today.
Core vaccines include:
- Distemper, a contagious, often fatal disease that impacts the dog’s respiratory, central nervous and gastrointestinal system.
- Parvovirus, a viral illness that impacts a dog’s intestines and causes vomiting, diarrhea and more symptoms.
- Adenovirus, which leads to liver disease.
- Rabies, a contagious, potentially fatal disease that causes inflammation of the brain. Spread through saliva or being bitten by an infected animal, rabies can pass from dog to human.
Non-core vaccinations are more administered based on a dog’s risk assessment that takes several factors into consideration before deciding whether or not such vaccines are necessary. These vaccines include:
- Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease.
- Lyme disease, a disease spread by the bite of infected deer ticks.
- Canine cough, also referred to as kennel cough, this is a contagious respiratory disease often spread in boarding facilities.
- Influenza, or canine flu, this recent dog illness can have fatal consequences.
For example, a dog that stays mostly indoors aside from the occasional walk, outdoor play session and bathroom breaks likely won’t need the Lyme disease vaccination compared to a dog that spends most of its time outdoors, especially in forested or wooded areas.
What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly?
Whether you’re thinking of getting a dog or just want to be sure that your dog is as healthy as possible, it’s important to know the frequency at which certain vaccines should be administered. Puppies need a lot of shots, so vets recommend that they receive them at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks and at 12 months of age. A puppy’s recommended vaccine administration throughout this timeframe includes distemper, two rabbis shots and two DHPP shots. This schedule, however, doesn’t include non-core vaccines.
Once a dog reaches adulthood, the list of annual shots is more manageable. In fact, if your vet doesn’t recommend that your animal receive any of the non-core vaccines, then it’s entirely possible for your animal to go three years in between receiving core vaccinations. However, if your dog is advised to receive any non-core vaccines, they must be administered annually to stay effective.
In addition to the tick example from the previous section, here’s a look at some hypothetical situations where these non-core vaccines are often advised:
- Leptospirosis: If your dog regularly swims in ponds or lakes, this annual vaccination is recommended.
- Canine cough: Usually, dog boarding facilities will require your animal to have had this vaccine within the recommended timeframe in order to accept the dog due to how contagious this disease is. If your dog is a regular participant in dog shows, dog obedience class or you take it to dog parks to play with and interact with fellow canines, it’s also a good idea to make sure your animal gets this shot on an annual basis.
- Influenza: If your dog spends lots of time around other dogs, talk to your vet about this vaccination. Canine influenza is highly contagious, infecting just about every dog that is exposed to another dog that has it. It also has the potential to be very deadly. Being that canine influenza is a fairly new illness, speak with your vet about whether or not your dog should be receiving this every year.
What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly? Final Thoughts
As we stated early, just as humans seek vaccines to prevent and/or minimize the severity of illnesses or disease, dogs need shots too. As is the case with any type of care when it comes to your dog, it’s always best to consult the veterinarian about vaccines and how often to receive both core and non-core vaccines (if applicable).