How often does my dog need vaccinations?

There are many different forms of vaccine, and your vet will be able to advise you about them.

Typically, dogs are given an initial course (two vaccinations two to four weeks apart) followed by repeat injections on their due dates. Kennel cough vaccination, which is given as liquid up the nose rather than an injection, needs to be repeated every six months to maintain immunity.

As long as the vaccinations are carried out within a few weeks of their due date most dogs will be fine. However, if too much time has elapsed between them, your vet may discuss restarting the vaccination course. It’s worth noting when your dog’s vaccinations are due and book them in as early as possible.

Urgent treatment will be needed if your dog has not had his vaccinations and picks up one of the serious illnesses they immunise against. Please contact your vet as soon as possible, or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or Vets Now 24/7 hospital if you are worried about your dog.

image of dog in a field of dandelions for Vets Now article on dog vaccinations
A number of fatal illnesses can be avoided by having your dog vaccinated.

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What am I having my dog vaccinated for?

The diseases dogs are vaccinated against are now relatively uncommon. But this is mainly due to the widespread vaccination regime in operation. In areas where dogs are not routinely vaccinated these diseases are common and often fatal.

Pet owners have told us there is nothing worse than going through the trauma of losing a pet to an illness that could have been avoided through a simple vaccination. We would always advocate that prevention is better than cure.

Will my dog be ill after his jabs?

While modern-day vaccines are incredibly safe and reliable, they can occasionally make your pet feel poorly for 24 hours or so (a bit like the human flu vaccine).

Some dogs will get small, painful ‘nodules’ where they have been vaccinated. However, these should resolve over a few days.

It’s also possible for pets to suffer hypersensitivity (similar to a human anaphylactic reaction) although this is extremely rare. This can, however, be serious and needs to be treated urgently.

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Why should I be getting my dog vaccinated?

There is currently widespread disinformation about pet vaccinations, but ultimately it’s for you to decide what to do. If you are unsure we would urge you to talk to your vet. Here are a few things to consider before making your decision:

  • Your dog is not vaccinated for the same diseases every year
  • Depending on the data from the vaccine manufacturer, most animals will receive a full booster every 2nd or 3rd year — but in the interim years will receive a partial booster containing only the vaccines that require annual top ups
  • Viruses change over time, so by regularly vaccinating your pet they will be covered for emerging strains that may not have been around a few years ago
  • Vaccines are rigorously tested and checked to minimise the risk of them doing ‘harm’ to your pet
  • Before vaccination, all of the diseases listed above were common and it is vaccination regimes that have reduced the number of cases
  • In countries with low vaccination rates, many of these diseases are still common

Where is my nearest pet emergency clinic?

How much do dog vaccinations cost?

The cost of vaccinations varies depending on where you live. Typical costs are between £30 and £60 but it’s worth calling your local vet to check their latest prices. Some pet insurance policies cover the cost of immunisations.