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Dog Vaccine Requirements: Things to Know Before Your Appointment

At A Glance

Not sure how to prepare yourself and your dog for a vaccination appointment? There are easy steps you can take to make your dog’s vaccination a breeze.

Read on to find out how and for other useful related information.

Last Updated on: Jan 20, 2022

Getting ready for your dog’s vaccination appointment? Concerned about dog vaccine requirements? Being a pet parent is not easy but a cute bundle of joy comes with great responsibilities. Taking care of their health is one of them.

How do you prepare for a dog vaccination appointment? Is it illegal to not vaccinate your dog? We answer these and many more questions here. Read on to learn more about getting your dog vaccinated.

A dog getting vaccinated

Why Is Vaccination Important?

Vaccinations have saved the lives of innumerable dogs over the years. A newborn puppy has a weak immune system that has not yet developed. Vaccines give your dog the immunity they need to fight viruses that may otherwise lead to serious and deadly diseases.

Your dog needs to be vaccinated to boost its immune system.

How Do Vaccines Work?

When dogs ingest vaccines, they trigger a natural immune response in their bodies. This response prevents the infection from affecting your dog in the future. By default, a puppy’s healthcare should feature vaccines.

There is an overwhelming amount of vaccines around so you may be concerned how many shots do puppies need. You may also be asking how long do dog vaccines last.

The first round of vaccines should be given when the puppy reaches 6 to 8 weeks old. The series of standard shots protect your dog from a range of illnesses from distemper to rabies.

Vaccines work by triggering your dog’s natural immune response to illness.

Most vaccines last a year before the immunity starts wearing off so dogs need to be given booster shots annually.

Vaccines have been divided based on their importance: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

  • Core vaccines are vaccines that are essential for fighting certain fatal widespread diseases. Every puppy has to be administered these vaccines.
  • Non-core vaccines are the ones based on where you live and your dog’s lifestyle. They are important to consider if dogs in your area are prone to a specific disease.


A dog getting his vaccine shots

Can I Skip a Vaccine?

The most basic dog vaccine requirements entail not missing your dog’s vaccination schedule. The veterinarian will recommend a schedule that you need to adhere to. Most vaccines require booster shots a year or so after. Make sure to coordinate closely with your veterinarian about subsequent shots necessary so you can make sure to follow the recommended schedule.

Remember, dog vaccinations are also required by law in every state so vaccinations are a legal obligation for owners.

A lady brushing a dogs coat

How Do I Prepare My Pup for a Vaccine?

Before attending a vaccination appointment:

  • Give your dog a nutrient-rich and healthy diet to help it develop a strong immune response which will be useful when it’s time to produce antibodies to fight the vaccine.
  • Clean your puppy and brush its coat ahead of time. This ensures that there is no dirt or dead hair around the injection site which can cause irritation.
  • Help your dog feel comfortable and relaxed. You can go for a walk or play fetch. This will put your dog at ease and help him remain calm during the vaccination.


Make sure your dog’s fur is clean. Keep it relaxed.

Are Vaccinations Risky?

Rest easy. The first dog vaccines were developed over half a century ago. Continuous developments and findings since then have made new dog vaccines even safer. There are side effects, but they are usually minor and can be easily managed.

There have been cases of severe allergic reactions but they are quite rare. The risks outweigh the benefits of vaccinations. You and your dog are far safer with the right vaccinations than without them.

Not vaccinating your dog is a greater risk to your dog’s health.

A dog getting vaccinated

Vaccines are an essential part of your puppy’s healthcare routine. You need them to keep your puppy from succumbing to deadly diseases. While some vaccines are universal to all dogs, some are specific to your dog’s lifestyle and your locality.

Now that you know about dog vaccine requirements and why vaccines are important, we hope you feel well prepared and confident about your puppy’s vaccination. Just remember to keep his or her coat clean and free of debris, keep your fur baby relaxed, and everything should go smoothly!


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Paul Andrews

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.