Vaccines are considered medically necessary for your dog to protect them from viruses, bacteria, and other diseases that can pose major health issues. Whether you’re the first-time owner of a puppy or you’ve adopted an adult dog, you’ll likely be taking many visits to the vet to get your dog vaccinated and boosted over the years. Here’s everything you need to know about what vaccines your dog needs and how often, as well as the associated costs.
Depending on when you get your dog and their previous medical history, you may not be immediately responsible for vaccinating them. If you’re adopting a puppy, for example, they typically can go home with you around 8 weeks. At that point, they may only have one round or no vaccinations at all, making you responsible for most of them. If you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue, however, they will often vaccinate the dog before you take them home.
Always ask your breeder, shelter, or rescue organization for a full medical and vaccination record prior to taking your pup home to ensure they’re up-to-date on vaccines. If they’re not, you’ll be able to tell by their records.
Below are the vaccines that are considered “core” for your dog and an ideal vaccination schedule:
● DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus): 8 weeks old, 12 weeks old, 16 weeks old, 1 year and 16 weeks old, and every 1-3 years after
● Rabies: 14 weeks old, 1 year old, and every 1-3 years after
DHPP is a commonly used acronym for a vaccine that covers an array of potentially fatal diseases for dogs. Canine distemper and parvovirus are common viruses that are highly contagious to young dogs and can be fatal. The canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) is a respiratory virus that is also highly contagious to young dogs.
Prior to vaccinating your dog, it’s important to keep them away from other dogs and not place them in the grass or on the ground where germs are present. This is what breeders and rescues mean when they say a dog is “paws off the ground” before being vaccinated.
Keep in mind that, depending where you live, you may also want to consider non-core vaccines to protect your dog from factors that may be present in your area.
Your vet will be able to advise you on additional vaccines for your pup that are considered “non-core.” Common optional vaccines include:
● Bordetella: This vaccine protects your dog from Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacteria that causes upper respiratory inflammation.3 This leads to coughing, otherwise known as kennel cough, and other illnesses for an exposed dog. This vaccine is recommended for dogs who are boarded, attend doggie daycare, or are otherwise around other dogs. It’s not uncommon for these facilities to require a bordetella vaccination before visiting.
● Leptospirosis: This vaccine protects your dog from Leptospira, a bacteria that causes kidney and liver damage, and can be fatal in some cases.4 This bacteria is often found in warmer climates with high rainfall, but is also common in metropolitan areas where rats are the most common carriers. Dogs can become infected by drinking from puddles or other still water where the urine of an infected animal is present.
● Lyme Disease: A Lyme disease vaccination protects your dog from a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks.5 This can cause kidney failure, as well as cardiac and neurological problems. Along with vaccinating your dog, monthly flea and tick preventatives can help defend against Lyme disease.
If you’re paying out-of-pocket, the basic DHPP vaccine can typically cost between $75 – $100 for 3 rounds of shots, and the rabies vaccine cost for dogs is around $15 – $20. Additional non-core vaccines can vary in price, but most of them are under $100 per shot.
Low-cost dog vaccinations can often be expected when investing in a pet insurance plan. These plans may help offset the cost of care for your furry friend.
In short, vaccines work, and they’re your dog’s best line of defense against potentially fatal viruses and bacteria. If your pup faces unexpected illness, consider investing in dog insurance. MetLife plans can help offset the cost of vet visits and other expenses associated with your dog’s care.2 A dog insurance policy can offer peace of mind as your dog grows, helping them to live a happy and healthy life.