How Often Do Dogs Need Vaccinations?

Updated February 21, 2017

Vaccinations for dogs are required by many laws, and are widely thought to be effective for up to a year. This standard recommendation has persisted because of misinformation among the general public. However, while this schedule may appear to help keep dogs healthy, it does have some risks. Today, veterinarians often deviate from the standard recommendation on how often dogs need vaccinations.


It has been widely recommended since the 1960s that dogs need vaccination or booster shots once each year. This was often a guideline standard released by the manufacturers of the vaccines.


Because of this practice, many veterinarians have rarely seen diseases such as distemper, rabies, hepatitis and parvovirus in immunised dogs. This also led to the question of over-vaccination and its effects.


Veterinarians, as of 2009, have begun to suggest that certain booster shots have a longer immunisation period than one year--some up to two years. Your veterinarian may have specific recommendations for your dog.


Because vaccinations are stressful on dogs, the immune system can develop allergic reactions to yearly shots. Certain autoimmune diseases can also develop because of the ingredients in the vaccinations.


Many rabies vaccines are federally certified for up to three years, although this is often ignored by most states. Booster shots for kennel cough and lyme disease should be given within two weeks of travelling or boarding a dog.


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