Canine Influenza Vaccine: What It Is & How Much It Costs

Four Minutes
Apr 17, 2024

Just like us, our beloved dogs can also catch the flu virus. This is referred to as canine influenza, and it can be highly contagious among infected dogs. Luckily, there are vaccines available to protect your furry friend from this virus.

Curious about how the canine influenza vaccine works, if your dog should take it, and how much it costs? Read on to learn more.

What Is the Canine Influenza Vaccine?

The canine influenza vaccine, also known as the canine flu vaccine, works by stimulating a dog's immune system to help build immunity against the flu virus. Vaccines target both known strains of canine influenza — H3N8 and H3N2 — offering needed protection against the respiratory disease.1,2

The vaccine comes in two forms: monovalent and bivalent. The bivalent vaccine prevents both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains, while the monovalent only guards against a single strain at a time. Vaccines are available and administered by veterinarians.1

Canine Influenza Vaccine Schedule

Unlike core vaccines, the canine influenza vaccine is optional for pet parents. Because it's a noncore vaccine, the vaccine schedule may depend on lifestyle and risk. However, a recommended approach for puppies is to get them vaccinated for canine influenza between 10 and 12 weeks. Then, administer two doses 2 – 4 weeks apart until your pup reaches 16 weeks.3

After completing the initial series, a single dose can be given within 1 year following the last dose. Subsequent boosters can be administered annually to maintain strong immunity.3

Pet parents should consult with their vet to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for their dog.

A MetLife Pet Policy May Help Cover Canine Influenza Costs

See What's Covered

Canine Flu Vaccine Side Effects

While the canine influenza vaccine is generally considered safe for dogs, like any vaccine, there may be side effects.1 Side effects can range from mild to more severe and may include:4

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Discomfort or swelling near the injection site
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swelling or hives on the face or paws
  • Fainting, breathing issues, or seizures (anaphylactic shock)

Contact your vet if you’re concerned about side effects or if you want more information about potential reactions to the flu vaccine.

Does My Dog Need an Influenza Vaccine?

You may want to get your dog vaccinated against canine influenza because it can greatly reduce the risk of infection. While absolute immunity isn’t guaranteed, vaccinating your dog can help lessen symptoms if they were to contract the virus. The immune response of a vaccinated dog will typically be stronger compared to an unvaccinated dog, leading to a milder illness.1

Additionally, dogs who regularly interact with other dogs may be particularly vulnerable to the virus due to its highly contagious nature. And if your dog is older or has a pre-existing condition — like heart disease — the risk of infection and developing severe complications increases.2

Influenza Vaccine Costs

The cost of a shot can vary, but canine influenza vaccines typically range from $46 – $60.5 Your vet can provide you with specific pricing details.

If you have pet insurance, the cost of vaccinations may be covered, depending on your policy’s terms.

How Pet Insurance Can Help

Pet insurance can help alleviate some of the financial strain of vaccinating your pet, along with covering other preventative care costs — like annual exams and spaying or neutering. For example, with a MetLife Pet Insurance policy, you can opt for a Preventive Care plan add-on, ensuring comprehensive coverage for your pet's healthcare needs.6

Get a free quote today, and learn more about how MetLife Pet can save you money.

Help Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “Canine Influenza Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions,” Minnesota Board of Animal Health,

2 “Canine Influenza: The Dog Flu,” VCA Animal Hospitals,

3 “Recommendations for core and noncore canine vaccines,” American Animal Hospital Association

4 “Dog Vaccinations,” Ancare Veterinary Hospital

5 “How much do dog vaccinations cost?” USA Today, 2024

6 For IAIC policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is based on a Schedule of Benefits. For MetGen policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is included in the annual limit.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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