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Why Vaccinations Are Essential for Your Dog’s Health

Vaccinations play an essential role in keeping the canine community healthy and safe from preventable, yet potentially deadly, diseases.

Thanks to hundreds of years of scientific discovery, research, and innovation, many of the highly infectious common diseases and viruses that often result in canine fatalities are now completely preventable through vaccinations.

New pet parents may be aware that a puppy does need vaccinations before heading out to play and socialize. In addition, dogs need vaccinations at various time throughout their lifetime to ensure immunity stays high.

Puppies need vaccinations as their immune systems are still developing. Older dogs also need vaccinations as their general health naturally starts to decline so too does their immune system and, in turn, their capacity to fight diseases and viruses.

What Are the Implications If I Choose Not to Vaccinate My Dog?

There isn’t really a choice in this matter. Vaccinations for dogs are essential and non-negotiable. If you do not vaccinate your dog, or keep their vaccinations up to date you are risking their health, the health of the wider canine community; you will not be allowed to travel with your dog, nor enroll them in doggie daycare or overnight boarding. 

While there are no laws making it a criminal offense to not vaccinate your dog, the wider implications are enough of an incentive to keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date.

Traveling Internationally

Border Control will not give an animal the all-clear to travel if their vaccination certificates are not in order. While many of the canine diseases we vaccinate against in the U.S. are nearly eliminated, beyond our borders and around the world these diseases are still prevalent in some locations.

On a practical note, professional pet care facilities will not accept your dog if their vaccinations are not current. Keep a handy vaccination record from the vet with the types and dates indicated.

What Are Boosters?

Your dog will have their first set of vaccinations as a puppy and they require booster or ‘top-up’ vaccinations throughout their life to ensure that their immunity levels remain effective. Your pet care professional will advise you on a vaccination program that is best suited for your dog. Some vaccinations like canine hepatitis, distemper, and parvovirus require a booster every three years. Leptospirosis needs a booster annually – this can be combined with a general health check for your dog, too.

Related: The Importance of Regular Vet Checks For Your Dog

What Can My Dog Get Vaccinations Against?

Diseases such as canine distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and infectious canine hepatitis are close to being eliminated from North America and are reducing around the world thanks to the rigorous vaccination programs conducted by our pet care professionals. 

Common vaccinations for dogs include immunization against Canine distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and infectious canine hepatitis, Bordetella (also referred to as Kennel Cough), and Lyme disease.

The DHPP vaccine is given to puppies at 10-12 weeks and then boosted throughout their lives, a multi-disease vaccine that provides protection against distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus — a one-shot-wonder of puppy protecting power!

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  • Mark January 18, 2021

    Smart Pet Parent, you state that there are “no laws making it a criminal offense to not vaccinate your dog.” This may be correct but may states have laws requiring you to vaccinate your dog against rabies. Not doing so may only be a civil offense – but there is still a law. Many localities also have a law requiring all dogs to have a dog license and in many (if not all) cases showing proof of a rabies vaccine is a requirement to get a license. It may be correct that the failure to vaccinate may not be a criminal offense, but it is a civil offense.

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