Why Do Dogs Need Vaccinations?
When driving to the vet with your new puppy, you may wonder why it is necessary to go to the vet for vaccinations. Many questions often surface as you allow the vet to poke your dog with various shots and vaccinations.
Dogs need vaccinations to avoid them getting diseases and illnesses in the future. These diseases and illnesses could cost you a lot of money on vet visits, but it could also cost your dog’s life. Many harmful or even deadly diseases can even be passed from dogs to dogs or even humans.
As you may know, many dangers in the world can cost your dog’s life in the form of a disease, virus, or illness. Vaccinations help reduce the chances of your dog getting anything like that. However, there’s a lot to consider when taking your dog to the vet to get vaccinations, which are discussed below.
Why Do Dogs Need Yearly Vaccinations?
Vaccines are essential in keeping sickness at bay. They are used to warrant a protective response from the immune system and help prepare your dog for future illnesses. A vaccine can either create an immunity that lessens the severity of the disease or prevent the disease altogether.
Certain vaccines save your dog from specific illnesses that your pooch comes in contact with. If you have ever owned a newborn puppy, you might know that vets are recommended to keep your dog inside and off the grass until it is given vaccinations. This is because many of these illnesses can be found within the comfort of your backyard.
Puppies can easily catch parvovirus in your backyard without the vaccine. Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus commonly seen in dogs. Even if there have been no other dogs in your yard, your dog can still easily catch it by going outside without having the vaccine.
It is also essential to keep your puppy away from any other dog that hasn’t had vaccinations. Even if the dog seems healthy, your dog could still be carrying parvo or any other deadly disease.
Having discussed several reasons why you should vaccinate your dog, there are still other reasons we haven’t talked about earlier. Below is a list of some of the reasons why you should vaccinate and protect your dog.
- Many illnesses are being prevented by doing so.
- Certain vaccinations are required in many areas by local or state laws.
- By doing so, you are protecting your dog and yourself from getting any of the illnesses.
- You are avoiding costly treatments.
- There are many diseases prevalent in wildlife that can infect your unvaccinated pet.
What Happens if Your Dog is Not Vaccinated?
If you do not vaccinate your pet, you are inviting life-threatening illnesses and diseases into your home. As mentioned above, you are not only risking your dog but yourself as well. There are some illnesses prevented by vaccinations that can pass from a dog to a human.
Some people claim vaccinations can give your pet autism, which is similar to the more known argument with vaccinations in children. Though there is proof that vaccinations do not give your pet or child autism, it still wouldn’t affect your pet if that was the case.
With that theory debunked, there really isn’t a reason that you shouldn’t vaccinate your dog. Though there are some side effects to vaccinating your dog, the life-threatening side effects from the illnesses your dog could catch outweigh these side effects exponentially.
Below are some of the side effects that your dog could potentially get shortly after being vaccinated:
- Mild fever
- Swelling or discomfort where the vaccine was inserted
- Cold-like symptoms, including cough, runny nose, and sneezing.
Other side effects are less common such as allergic reactions. These side effects may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if any of these signs develop:
- Difficulty breathing
- Hives or itchy and bumpy skin
- Swelling around the face, eyes, or neck
- Firm swelling may develop under the surface of the skin where the vaccine was inserted. Though it should disappear within a couple weeks, you should contact your vet if it is still there after three weeks or begins getting larger.
What Shots Does My Dog Really Need?
Vaccines are recommended by most vets, but your pet may not need all of the vaccines available. Depending on your situation, you may only need to give your dogs certain vaccinations.
Vaccinations for parainfluenza and bordetella are entirely optional. However, you may want to consider both for several different reasons, such as boarding your pets at a kennel or living in an area where there is an epidemic involving one of the vaccines.
If you’ve ever boarded your dog, you may have been asked if your dog is caught up with its vaccinations. That is because most boarding kennels require your dog to have certain vaccines. Most kennels require you to give your dog the vaccines for parainfluenza, bordetella, and rabies to prevent your dog from catching or spreading them while being boarded.
When there is a parvovirus outbreak where you live, it can be scary if your dog doesn’t have a shot to prevent it. That is when you should consider getting the parvo shot for your dog just to be safe. It is a core vaccination, so it is highly recommended anyway.
Speaking of parvovirus, some dog breeds are more susceptible to it which you can see in the list below:
- Doberman Pinschers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Alaskan Sled Dogs
This goes for all illnesses. Depending on the breed of your dog, you may need to give your dog a vaccine for any disease it is susceptible to. Otherwise, you may be risking your dog’s life.
Which Dog Vaccines Are Absolutely Necessary?
Though we talked about what your dog may need based on the breed, where it lives, and where it goes, we didn’t talk about what specific vaccines are absolutely necessary no matter where you live.
Though it’ll be discussed in-depth later on, it is worth mentioning that rabies shots are required in most states. Therefore, vaccination is absolutely necessary unless you want to face hefty fines or other consequences. However, other vaccines aren’t required by law in most cases.
Some core vaccines are highly recommended because the related illness or disease is more common and/or deadlier. Below is a list of the core vaccines:
- Rabies (Required)
There are also the non-core vaccines that are considered based on your dog’s risk factor for the illness.
- Lyme Disease
- Canine Influenza
- Adenovirus Intranasal
- Leptospirosis 4-Way
Is It Illegal to Not Get Your Dog’s Shots?
In most states, rabies vaccinations are required, and the only way to get out of that is by medical exemptions. If you can and choose not to vaccinate your dog for rabies, your dog will be documented as unvaccinated by the State Board of Health if there is exposure to a confirmed or suspected rabid animal.
If you are required to vaccinate your dog for rabies, and you don’t, you could face jail time, depending on where you live. Click HERE for all the info on your states’ laws on rabies vaccinations.
Rabies is the only vaccination required by law, but the core vaccines are highly recommended.
How Much Does It Cost to Vaccinate a Dog?
Vaccinations aren’t usually that expensive. In fact, you’d be paying more in vet visits if you don’t vaccinate your dog.
Most vaccines average around 20 dollars per dose, but that depends on your vet. Keep in mind, though, depending on your dog and where you live, you may need more or less. Most people find that after getting all the core vaccines, they’ve spent around $100 vaccinating a puppy.
Many vaccines are annual or every three years, meaning you’ll be spending a little more down the road. On average, Rabies vaccines cost $15 to $20, and Bordetella vaccines cost $19 to $45.
Why Do Dogs Need Vaccinations? Now You Know
Even though the rabies vaccination is the only one required in most states, it is recommended to at least get the core vaccinations as well. Depending on many factors, your dog could be at high risk of getting some of these illnesses and getting very sick. Some could even cost your dog’s life, so tread very carefully when deciding on the vaccines to give to him or her.