What You Need to Know About Vaccinations for Your Dog

April 24th 2019

By Dr. Dirk Dekens, DVM
 
More and more questions about the necessity of vaccinations are being raised in the human and pet world, so I decided to write this blog to help answer what people are asking about canine immunization.
 
When it comes to vaccinations, some people want their dogs to be fully vaccinated, while others prefer to limit the number of vaccinations they receive.
 
If you are a person who is concerned about over vaccination and only wants your dog to receive the vaccinations that are absolutely necessary, there are now titer tests available to see if your dog currently has protection against various diseases.
 
However, most dog boarding and day care facilities will still require proof of vaccination.
 
Also, when you are travelling with your dog to the USA or other countries requiring rabies vaccination, be aware that titers are not accepted.
 
Titer tests allow you to make sure your dog is developing immunities from vaccinations and if they are not, you can take precautions to ensure they are not exposed to illnesses they are not protected against. Alternatively you can vaccinate only for those titers that came back negative or low and subsequently recheck those titers again. To read more about titer tests, read our blog here.
 
If you have any questions about your dog’s vaccinations, your veterinarian is always the best person to ask.
 
The importance of vaccinations for our pets is just as important as vaccinations for humans. We hate to see our pets suffer needlessly and vaccinations prevent that.

Vaccination schedule for puppies in Canada:

 Just like children, puppies require a few basic vaccinations and their booster to ensure they will be adequately protected.
 
There are different vaccination protocols that can be utilized based on the age of the puppy, when the first vaccination is given and based on the fact that some areas of the country may be at a higher risk for certain infectious diseases.
 
The most common formula used is 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age for parvo, distemper, parainfluenza and adenovirus (usually given as a combo shot, referred to as DA2PP).
 
Then at eight weeks and onwards for kennel cough and 12 weeks and onwards for rabies.
 
Once your puppy has been vaccinated, there are some shots they will need to continue to receive certain vaccinations, some annually and others on a different schedule.
 
You can always check with your vet what vaccinations your dog is due for, if you can’t remember when your dog last received their immunizations.
 

Vaccination schedule for adult dogs in Canada:

For adult dogs that have been vaccinated adequately as a puppy, the most common approach is to revaccinate for DA2PP, kennel cough and rabies a year after the last puppy vaccinations were administered.
 
After that, DA2PP and rabies can be given every three years. kennel cough, just like the flu shot in humans, is still a yearly event.
 

What vaccinations do doggy daycares require? 

There are other considerations as well. If you want to board your dog at any point or use doggy daycare, they also often have vaccination requirements, particularly Bordetella (kennel cough) immunization.
 

What travel vaccinations does my dog require?

It’s great if you are able to share your vacation with your pet, but it does require some pre-planning.
 
If you are travelling to the United States, your dog is required to have an updated rabies shot. Bring your vaccination record to prove your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and you also may require an International Health Certificate. However, export and import regulations for pets change over time, so it is always best to check with your vet.
 
If you are travelling to other countries, meet with your vet well in advance to discuss the vaccination requirements. He or she may have to do some research themselves as to what is required. Some countries are easy to bring your pet into, others, such as Australia and New Zealand, can be very cumbersome.
 
Some airlines also have vaccinations requirements. We have links to a number of airlines travel requirements for pets in our blog, 6 Summer Vacation Tips for Traveling with a Pet.
 
You may need two appointments with your veterinarian, the first to determine what travel vaccinations are required and a second to have the vaccinations administered, so make sure to meet with your vet well in advance of your travel.
 
I hope this blog was helpful in answering your questions about vaccinations and your dog. If you have any more questions and you live in the Calgary area, please call our clinic at 403-615-8016 to make an appointment with one of our vets.
 
More blogs about vaccinations and diseases:
 
Parvovirus
 
Keeping Your Puppy Safe in the Early Weeks
 
Titer Tests

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