Dog Vaccination - Understanding Dog Vaccines

What exactly are dog vaccinations?

There are a number of different dog vaccinations, and each of these help to train the dog's immune system to fight off disease.

Dr. Glennie Ferniany
Village Veterinary Clinic

How do vaccinations impact the health and well-being of a dog?

There are a number of different diseases that are present both in wildlife and in the stray dog population, and these vaccinations really help to prevent your dog from catching preventable diseases either from their environment or from other dogs around them.

Are vaccinations required by law?

Yes, the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states.

Does my dog's lifestyle factor into what vaccinations my veterinarian will recommend?

Yes, there are some vaccines, such as Lyme, that are area-specific, so if you travel up north or hunt with your dog, we may recommend that you get that vaccine. Other vaccines, such as Lepto, are considered core vaccines, so we do highly recommend them for animals that live in this area and those that visit large cities, such as Atlanta or Chicago, where Lepto is very prevalent. If you have a dog that stays at home most of the time and has had issues with that vaccine in the past, we may reconsider that vaccine in your pet.

How soon should I get my dog vaccinated?

We start the vaccine series with very young puppies. Five weeks is about the earliest for certain at-risk dogs. Otherwise, our clinic starts around six weeks of age. We continue that every three weeks through 16 weeks of age, and then of course, yearly after that.

Do I really need to avoid allowing my puppy to socialize with other dogs until they are fully vaccinated?

We do recommend keeping your puppy away from other dogs of unknown vaccine status until they are fully vaccinated. Healthy and fully vaccinated dogs can help to provide your puppy with much-needed socialization, especially if they live within the same house.

Why is it important to avoid missing a dog vaccination?

Within the puppy series, and of course through the course of their life, your dog's immune system has to be trained to fight off disease. This is especially important for vaccines such as Bordetella and Leptospirosis that tend to wear off after about a year, so we want to make sure that those protections stay in place and up to date. Missing a vaccination can leave your dog vulnerable to diseases, and keeping up with the vaccination schedule ensures they have the necessary immunity.

What are the typical puppy and dog vaccination schedules?

For us, we follow the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines, which call for vaccines every 2-4 weeks from the age of 6 weeks to the age of 16 weeks. Sometimes we will split out vaccines for very small puppies, those below 5 pounds, to reduce the risk of reaction, but generally we see your puppy every 3 weeks until they are fully vaccinated at the age of 16 weeks.

What diseases are prevented with vaccines?

So I mentioned some of them, but rabies is a big one and of course, the most important because rabies has a 99% fatality in people and animals. We also vaccinate against distemper, which can be a fatal disease, and Parvovirus, which is a fatal disease of puppies. Other diseases, such as Parainfluenza and Bordetella, are included as part of the kennel cough complex and are important in maintaining your dog's health. And then I've mentioned those like Leptospirosis and Lyme disease that are considered recommended depending on where you live and lifestyle.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (256) 216-4780, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram