For a long time, veterinarians have been administering vaccines to dogs year after year or as prescribed by vaccine manufacturers. This was done to ensure optimal immunity. There is, however, an increasing debate as to whether a majority of these vaccinations and booster shots are necessary. Some have been associated with effects that could be detrimental to dogs’ immune systems as well as other body functions. So, how do you know if you need to get your dog vaccinated?

Two Sides of the Dog Vaccination Coin

Legally and ethically, veterinarians should observe the label recommendations when administering vaccines. However, vaccine manufacturers are under pressure to give evidence supporting the frequency of administering vaccines to dogs.

Today we also have an increase in the number of holistic veterinary experts who believe that giving dogs vaccinations repeatedly diminishes their immune resources. Immune diminishment can create disorders such as degenerative joint disease, lupus, and affect dogs’ ability to fight diseases naturally.

Still, most modern veterinarians and research scientists state that vaccinations are crucial elements in keeping animals alive. They have also been instrumental in helping get rid of diseases in animals, in the very same way they have impacted the health landscape for human beings.

As you can see, the answer to whether you should get your dog vaccinated isn’t as black and white as we wish it were. But, to help understand the important role that vaccines do play, it’s essential to understand the various vaccines.

Types of Dog Vaccines

There are two different kinds of vaccinations your dog is expected to receive:

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are considered essential for all dogs. These vaccines help protect dogs from diseases that are easily contagious or fatal – such as rabies, parvovirus, adenovirus, and distemper.


Non-core vaccines

These are administered to protect dogs against diseases that occur from exposure to elements in the environment or lifestyle. The required non-core vaccines vary from dog to dog. Before giving your dog non-core vaccines, you need to discuss with your veterinary doctor to determine if they are necessary for your dog. Non-core vaccines include vaccinations for Lyme disease, leptospirosis, kennel cough, and more.


Laws & Regulations Governing Dog Vaccinations

So what about the legal stuff?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides a vaccination schedule, which veterinarian practitioners ideally follow. Veterinarians are, however, not obliged to follow this schedule, and some, such as holistic veterinary doctors, often use their own methods of administering vaccines.

While your veterinarian has the prerogative of deciding which vaccines are necessary for your dog, especially the non-core vaccines, if your dog gets an illness the practitioner didn’t vaccinate against, they can be liable for a lawsuit. That is why most conventional veterinary practitioners follow the AAHA schedule to protect themselves from plausible legal issues.

State and city governments usually determine how often a rabies vaccination must be administered. They also have other specific guidelines where vaccination is concerned. So if you own a pet, you must familiarize yourself with these regulations specific to your city and state. Your veterinary doctor should also be familiar with the laws and can advise accordingly.

So, Do You Need to Get Your Dog Vaccinated?

Ultimately, we all want healthy dogs. Both ignoring vaccination altogether and subjecting your dog to too many vaccines are bad for your dog’s health. Once your dog has been given all the core vaccinations, a titer test can be performed to determine which other vaccinations might be necessary. To take the best care of your dog, talk to your vet, read up on the guidelines, and do what’s best for your furry family members.

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