Vaccines are medications designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies to help protect against disease.
Dogs should be vaccinated to help protect them from many highly contagious and infectious diseases. When puppies are born, mothers pass on some immunity to their puppies through colostrum in their milk, but this protection is only temporary and the best way to ensure a long and happy life for your dog is to help provide protection with vaccination against common diseases.
It is important to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s lifestyle. Factors such as contact with other animals, indoors versus outdoors, and time spent travelling or boarding all affect your dog’s risk of exposure to disease. Most veterinarians will recommend that your dog be protected against diseases which are the most common, are easily spread and which cause serious illness. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional vaccines based on your dog’s risk factors for other diseases.
In most cases, puppies will receive 3 vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart, starting at 6-8 weeks of age*. An annual booster is recommended. Your vet may have specific recommendations for your dog based on their lifestyle and risk factors. Consult your vet if you have any questions about vaccination.
* WSAVA. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats, 2016.
Help protect your dog against harmful disease