Do Dogs Need Booster Shots Every Year | CareAnimalHospital

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not dogs really need annual vaccinations. some argue that they can be harmful to dogs. over-vaccination can pose risks to your dog, such as allergic reactions and lifelong chronic diseases. So the question arises, do dogs need booster shots every year?

do dogs need booster shots every year?

the aaha and wsava have established some guidelines regarding vaccinations for dogs. There is no law or formal requirement for veterinarians to follow the suggested schedules for annual vaccinations for dogs. The only vaccine required by law is the rabies vaccine, and this is usually done with an initial vaccination and a one-year booster. Some states in the United States only require it every three years.

Reading: Booster for dogs

what are some of the benefits of booster injections?

Vaccinations protect your dog against contagious and life-threatening diseases, according to Margret Casal, DMV, Phd. Casal is an associate professor of medical genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Several published studies have shown that vaccines can provide immunity for more than a year and sometimes for life. According to veterinarian Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet, immunity to distemper and parvo lasts a minimum of five years, with some as young as 7 or 9 years old and for life.

what are some of the risks of booster shots?

Your veterinarian should follow the American Association of Animal Hospitals (AAHA) guidelines. for core vaccinations, a one-year schedule after the initial series of puppy vaccinations and then every three years thereafter.

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The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAV) 2015 Vaccination Guidelines state that:

“Vaccines should not be given unnecessarily. core vaccines should not be given more frequently than every three years after the booster injection 6 or 12 months after the puppy/kitten series, because the duration of immunity (doi) is many years and can last the entire lifetime pet’s life.”

There is also evidence from richard ford, dvm, that cat vaccines can cause cancer. most scientists believe this is due to a chemical called an “adjuvant.” While there is no evidence that this is also common in dogs, you should be careful about the vaccinations you give your dog. it’s best to do your own research regarding a vaccine before getting an injection.

Vaccinations can also make your dog sick and lethargic and can cause diarrhea. Fortunately, fatal reactions are extremely rare. The most common adverse reactions are mild and of short duration, such as decreased appetite, fever, and swelling at the injection site. Allergic reactions can appear within minutes or hours and can include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

what vaccinations do dogs need each year?

By law, no annual vaccinations are required for your dog, except for the rabies vaccine, which is required in most states in the United States. there are basic vaccines highly recommended by the aaha. your dog should receive them initially as a puppy (3 shots between 8-16 weeks of age). these are:

  • canine distemper (cdv)
  • canine parvovirus 2 (cpv-2)
  • canine adenovirus 2 (cav)
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Although many people also consider the rabies vaccine to be a core vaccine, your dog should only get it once at the age of 12-16 weeks, then a year after that, once every three years after that .

At what age do you stop vaccinating your dog?

Dogs over the age of seven are senior pets. Senior dogs are at the stage of life where the aging process begins to affect all organ systems. Some organs wear out faster and are likely to be damaged gradually, so it’s important to keep track of your dog’s condition.

Make sure you know your vaccination history. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule to fit your senior dog’s health and lifestyle. older dogs will generally receive most vaccinations every three years. some don’t even need one if the shots can last them a lifetime.

However, some vaccines have a shorter immunity time. Some examples are leptospirosis, lyme disease, and kennel cough. your dog may receive vaccinations for these diseases more frequently, usually every six to twelve months.

how do you know your dog is protected?

Basic vaccinations your puppy received at a young age can protect him for several years and, in some cases, for life. If you want to make sure your dog is really protected, you can ask your vet to do a blood test, called a titer test. is a tool that helps assess the status of your pet’s immune defenses against specific infections.

Dog wrapped in a blanket

What Should You Do Before Going to the Veterinarian?

sometimes you go to the vet with no idea what to do. Some people are also overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information the vet tells them that they forget to ask questions and do what they are told to do. Here are some tips for him to follow so he can decide for himself if your dog really needs a booster shot:

  • Make sure you are clear about whether or not you want your dog to receive vaccinations. you should know better the state of your dog based on his behavior. Make sure you understand which vaccines are recommended and why your vet recommends them.
  • Do some research on the pros and cons of vaccines. That way, you can have a productive conversation with your vet and better understand your dog’s overall health. there are plenty of materials like the aaha guidelines to get you started as a reference.
  • Bring a list of your dog’s current medications, supplements, medical history, and other medical-related items. this includes things like the dose, frequency, and duration of the medication.


It really isn’t necessary for your dog to get booster shots every year. in fact, most dog grooming organizations recommend getting one every 3 years. While they go a long way in keeping your dog away from infection and disease, too much can also be risky. Be sure to educate yourself so you can better assess your dog’s condition and decide whether or not your dog really needs an annual booster shot.

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