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Dog & Puppy Vaccinations: Your Essential Guide

A dog and a puppy sitting on the grass

Ensuring your dog or puppy is vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to protect them from serious infectious diseases. In the UK, keeping up with dog vaccination and puppy vaccination schedules is a key part of responsible pet ownership.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about vaccinating your furry friend, including when to start, what diseases vaccines protect against, and the importance of annual health checks.

When to Start Vaccinations

Puppy vaccinations should begin when your pet is between 6 to 8 weeks old, following a schedule that your vet will tailor to your pet's specific needs. This early start is crucial for building your puppy's immunity during their first few months.

After the initial course, adult dogs require at least one vaccine annually to maintain immunity. 

This annual booster is an opportunity for your vet to conduct a thorough health check, ensuring your dog remains healthy and happy throughout their life.

The Importance of Annual Vaccinations

Annual vaccination appointments are more than just a routine jab; they're a cornerstone of preventative healthcare. During these visits, your vet will conduct a comprehensive health examination, weigh your dog, and discuss any changes in behaviour or diet. This proactive approach allows for early detection and management of potential health issues.

It's also a chance for you to raise any concerns with your vet, ensuring your dog's health and wellbeing are always prioritised. Remember, maintaining your dog's vaccination schedule is essential for their protection and overall health.

Vaccines Your Dog Needs

Dogs are vaccinated against several diseases, with the core vaccines providing protection against the most common and severe conditions:

  • Infectious canine hepatitis

  • Leptospirosis

  • Distemper

  • Canine parvovirus

Additionally, the kennel cough vaccine, which is administered as a nasal spray, is recommended for dogs that spend time in boarding kennels or are frequently in contact with other dogs.

Titre Testing: An Alternative?

Titre testing is an alternative to some annual vaccinations, measuring immunity levels through a blood test. However, it's important to note that titre testing has limitations and is not suitable for all diseases, such as leptospirosis. While titre testing can indicate immunity levels, it cannot guarantee protection for the entire year and may not be accepted by all kennels or insurers.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: Do pets need vaccinations every year?

A: Yes, annual vaccinations are recommended to maintain immunity against certain diseases.

Q: Is the Lepto 4 vaccination harmful?

A: The Lepto 4 vaccine is considered safe for most dogs. Any concerns should be discussed with your vet.

Q: Are puppy vaccinations enough for life?

A: No, puppies require annual boosters to maintain their immunity.

Q: Do indoor pets need vaccinations?

A: Yes, even pets that live indoors should be vaccinated to protect against airborne diseases and any potential escape.

Q: Should my pet have all available vaccinations?

A: Your vet will recommend the vaccines based on your pet's lifestyle and risk factors.

Q: Do elderly pets still need vaccinations?

A: Yes, elderly pets still require vaccinations to protect against diseases.

Q: Are there safe alternatives to vaccinations?

A: Titre testing is an alternative for some vaccines, but not all. Discuss with your vet for the best approach.

Q: Will vaccinations give my pet autism?

A: No, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that vaccines cause autism in pets.

Vaccinating your dog or puppy is a vital part of their healthcare routine, offering protection against serious diseases and ensuring they lead a long, healthy life. Always consult with your vet to tailor a vaccination schedule that suits your pet's specific needs and lifestyle. 

Remember, by keeping up with vaccinations, you're not only protecting your pet but also contributing to the wider health of the pet community.

Why not check out our Vital Pets Club to spread the cost of vaccinations? A 12 month subscription includes routine check-ups, annual vaccines, monthly flea and worming treatments and much more, plus discounts in shop and on certain procedures. All designed to help improve the longevity and quality of your pet's life. 

A call to action promotion for Vital Pets Club, a cost saving veterinary service


Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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