how oftern should you vaccinate your dog
Dog Health

How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?

If you are vaccinating every year… you really need to read this article.

After one of our customers was asking about vaccinations I thought I would do an article on the subject and add a different perspective to what you may be hearing from your local vet. This customer actually made a really valid point and that was, why do humans only get vaccinations once and dogs need to be vaccinated every year? The basic answer is that it was a bit of a scam by the people that run those businesses. Not so much the vets as the vaccine companies.

In the past I have vaccinated puppies 2 or 3 times before 16 weeks and then done a booster at 12 months and then not really worried about a booster till the dog is showing signs of old age. The reason being healthy grown dogs can get sick from Parvo Virus but rarely does it become critical. The reason being the Parvo Virus attacks growing cells and degenerating cells, this means growing dogs and old dogs are very susceptible to it.

I have never seen a dog with distemper or hepatitis so can’t really comment too much about those.

Enough of my hearsay… let’s get
down to the scientific facts.

Here is what the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccination Task Force discovered. They said, that for both Parvo and Distemper vaccinations, immunity lasts at least 5 years and for Adenovirus, at least 7 years.

And this is what they now recommend for vaccination guidelines.

For both Parvo and Distemper vaccinations

Initial vaccination in puppies < 16 weeks of age

  • First shot between 6 weeks to 8 weeks, then vaccinate every 3 to 4 weeks. Last Vac. should be given between 14 and 16 weeks to minimize risk of intervention by maternal antibodies

Initial vaccination in dogs > 16 weeks of age

  • One dose

Revaccination

  • For puppies who received initial vaccination series by 16 weeks, a booster no later than 1 year after completion of initial series, then equal to or greater than every 3 years
  • For dogs who received initial vaccination after 16 weeks of age, every ≥ 3 years thereafter

Note: Among healthy dogs, Distemper and Parvo vaccines are expected to induce immunity for at least 5 years.

For Canine Adenovirus vaccinations (Hepatitis)

Initial vaccination in puppies < 16 weeks of age

  • First shot between 6 weeks to 8 weeks, then vaccinate every 3 to 4 weeks. Last Vac. should be given between 14 and 16 weeks to minimize risk of intervention by maternal antibodies

Initial vaccination in dogs > 16 weeks of age

  • One dose

Revaccination

  • For puppies who received initial vaccination series by 16 weeks, a booster no later than 1 year after completion of initial series, then ≥ 3 years thereafter
  • For dogs who received initial vaccination after 16 weeks of age, every ≥ 3 years thereafter

Note: Among healthy dogs, distemper vaccines are expected to induce immunity for at least 7 years.

Please be aware that most Vets in Australia give a C3 vaccination which vaccinates against all three of the above viruses. If you need extra immunity for leptospirosis, Bordatella or kennel cough then you need to ask your vet. The C5 is necessary in most boarding kennels. C5 does the same as the C3 does plus Bordatella and Parainfluenza. The trick here is to plan ahead and not double up on the 3 if you don’t need to.

I will conclude by saying that common sense and the info above should be used to decide when you will vaccinate your dog. For instance if your dog frequents dog shows and dog parks all the time then go for the more aggressive method of vaccinating. If you live on a farm and your dogs never meet other dogs then every 5 years will be fine.

In the end, it’s your choice.

*Information from American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Guidelines.
https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/caninevaccineguidelines.pdf

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14 Comments

  1. I’m glad that you pointed out that I should make sure that my puppy gets re-vaccinated one year after getting his first initial vaccines. Now that my puppy is about to get his first round of vaccines, I was wondering how long I would have to wait after the initial series. I’ll keep that in mind to make sure that he gets the vaccinations he needs after his first round next week. Thanks for the information!

  2. I just got a puppy and I definitely plan on having it get its vaccinations. However, I have been wondering about how often I should have it vaccinated and for what and so I am really glad that I came across this post. My puppy is 18 weeks old and so it it definitely ready for its first shot, but how can I know when the immunity wears off on my dog and that its time for another vaccination?

    1. You can get an antibody titre test.This will tell you if you need to vaccinate or not. Most people don’t go this route because its about 3 times more expensive than the vaccine.

  3. Hi Robert. I found your article about vaccinations extremely interesting. It makes it difficult when we board our dogs once or twice a year and kennels insist on updated vaccinations . What can we do?

    1. Hi Eva and Robert, this would be my main concern also. Although I tend to avoid dog boarding facilities and leave my JR x Corgi, Max with friends (because of his unpredictable, sometimes somewhat aggressive behaviours) I have always completed vaccinations as requested by boarding facilities just in case I needed them. It’s good to know that it’s not necessary – hope they’ve caught up with this news? Cheers.

  4. Thank you for your research into vaccinations, I found this article very informative and have often wondered why I have taken my dogs for vaccinations every year. When I was young my parents only vaccinated when they were pups and then a booster at one year of age. Will now rethink how often I get my dogs vaccinated.

  5. Interesting article. I have asked my vet about a 3 year vaccination but they will only do that for farm dogs for some reason. Also I do not know of any kennel on the north coast of NSW, the Granite Belt Southern Qld
    or New England areas in the north of NSW, that will take dogs unless their vacs are current. I would really like to give my two a break as they are 9 and 10 years old and have been done every year, but if an emergency crops up and they have to go into a kennel, then I have a problem. Seems to be a bit of a conspiracy here among the vaccine producers

    1. It’s just one of those things if you want to leave your dog at a boarding kennel then you need to keep them updated. Not sure why the vets insist on doing it even though the science says once every 3 years is enough. Maybe you can look into getting a titre test to show your dog’s carry the vaccine anti-bodies.

  6. hi my poodle weights 14 kilos. she has a immune problem. my vets tells me she has to have c3 needles every year, every year she gets blood in her stools, after, last year c5 1 up her nose, shes on medication,

    1. You can get the titre test that tests her immunity that way you will know if she has enough antibodies and if she needs the c3.

  7. Hi Robert

    I love this article – it’s like the common sense approach to vaccinations rather than a commercial approach. I’m just wondering if the same applies to worming and flea/tick control? And if the frequency of these two things should also be more in line with the season rather than a blanket approach.? For example, I know that fleas love the warmer months – so perhaps more vigilance is required in summer.

    What are your thoughts?

    Regards,
    Carmel

    1. Hi Carmel,

      Thats how i do it. I dont put flea stuff on in winter. I make sure i worm at critical times like puppies and pregnant females. Adults i worm every 6 months or if i see worms in the stools. Worms are only an issue if its a bad infestation which i have never had and is quite obvious just by looking at the condition of the dog.

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