What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly

icon April 8, 2024

Ensuring the health and well-being of our furry companions is a top priority for pet owners. One crucial aspect of maintaining a dog's health is ensuring they receive the necessary vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent various diseases that can be harmful or even fatal to dogs. But what shots do dogs need yearly? In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the core vaccinations recommended for dogs, the importance of each, and the optimal vaccination schedule to keep our canine friends protected.

What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly?

Dogs typically require yearly vaccinations for core diseases such as canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, and rabies. However, vaccination frequency may vary depending on factors such as vaccine type, local regulations, and individual dog health. Consultation with a veterinarian is crucial for determining the specific vaccination needs and schedule for each dog.

Understanding Canine Vaccinations:

Vaccinations are essential for dogs to build immunity against infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens. These diseases can spread rapidly among dogs, leading to severe illness and potentially death. Fortunately, modern veterinary medicine offers effective vaccines to prevent many of these diseases.

Also Read: 6 Key Insights on Puppy Shot Schedule

a. Core Vaccinations:

Core vaccinations are those recommended for all dogs regardless of their lifestyle or environment. These vaccines target highly contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases. The core vaccines for dogs typically include:

1. Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):
   Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs. It can lead to symptoms such as fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and neurological abnormalities. Distemper is often fatal, especially in puppies and unvaccinated dogs.

2. Canine Parvovirus (CPV):
   Parvovirus is another highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs. It causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), fever, lethargy, and dehydration. Parvovirus can be fatal without prompt veterinary treatment.

3. Canine Adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2):
   CAV-2 is one of the causes of infectious canine hepatitis, a viral disease that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. It can lead to symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. Vaccination helps prevent this serious illness.

4. Rabies Virus:
   Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals, including dogs and humans. It is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Rabies causes neurological symptoms, including aggression, paralysis, excessive salivation, and eventually death. Vaccination against rabies is not only crucial for the health of individual dogs but also required by law in many regions to prevent the spread of this zoonotic disease.

These core vaccinations form the foundation of a dog's immunization protocol and are typically administered in a series of shots during puppyhood, followed by periodic booster vaccinations to maintain immunity throughout the dog's life.

b. Optional or Non-Core Vaccinations:

In addition to core vaccinations, there are optional or non-core vaccines that may be recommended based on a dog's lifestyle, risk factors, and geographic location. These vaccines target specific diseases that may not be as prevalent or universally necessary but are still significant considerations for certain dogs. Some examples of optional vaccinations for dogs include:

1. Canine Leptospirosis:
   Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by various strains of the Leptospira bacteria. It can affect multiple organs, including the liver and kidneys, and may lead to symptoms such as fever, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Leptospirosis can also be transmitted to humans, making it a public health concern in areas where it is endemic.

2. Bordetella Bronchiseptica:
   Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium commonly associated with kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It causes symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and mild fever. Vaccination against Bordetella is particularly important for dogs that frequently socialize with other dogs in settings such as boarding facilities, dog parks, or obedience classes.

3. Canine Influenza Virus (CIV):
   Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. It manifests with symptoms similar to kennel cough, including coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy. While not as widespread as other canine diseases, canine influenza vaccination may be recommended for dogs at higher risk of exposure, such as those in multi-dog households or frequenting areas with known outbreaks.

4. Canine Coronavirus (CCoV):
   Canine coronavirus primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. While usually self-limiting, severe cases may occur, particularly in puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems. Vaccination against canine coronavirus is not routinely recommended but may be considered in certain circumstances.

5. Lyme Disease:
   Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks, primarily the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). It can cause symptoms such as fever, lameness, joint swelling, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Dogs living in or visiting regions where Lyme disease is endemic may benefit from vaccination to reduce their risk of infection.

6. Canine Giardia:
   Giardia is a protozoan parasite that can cause gastrointestinal illness in dogs, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. While vaccination against Giardia is not widely practiced, it may be considered for dogs at increased risk of exposure, such as those in kennels or with a history of recurrent Giardia infections.

The decision to vaccinate against optional diseases should be based on factors such as the dog's lifestyle, environment, travel habits, and prevalence of specific diseases in the region. Pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to determine the most appropriate vaccination protocol for their individual dog.

Optimal Vaccination Schedule:

Establishing an optimal vaccination schedule is crucial to ensuring that dogs receive timely protection against infectious diseases while minimizing the risk of over-vaccination. Vaccination schedules may vary based on factors such as the dog's age, health status, vaccination history, and local regulations. However, the following guidelines are commonly recommended:

1. Puppy Vaccination Series:
   Puppies receive their first vaccinations at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a series of booster shots administered every 2 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. This series typically includes vaccinations against distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, and rabies. Some optional vaccines, such as leptospirosis and Bordetella, may also be initiated during this time, depending on the veterinarian's recommendations.

2. Adult Dog Boosters:
   After completing the initial puppy vaccination series, dogs require periodic booster shots to maintain immunity against core diseases. Booster vaccinations are typically administered annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine type and local regulations. Rabies vaccinations may have specific legal requirements, such as annual boosters or longer intervals allowed for certain vaccines.

3. Lifestyle-Based Vaccinations:
   Optional vaccines, such as those for leptospirosis, Bordetella, and canine influenza, may require different vaccination schedules based on the dog's lifestyle and risk factors. For example, dogs with a high risk of exposure to kennel cough may need Bordetella boosters every 6 to 12 months, while those at risk of leptospirosis may require annual vaccination.

4. Tailored Vaccination Plans:
   Veterinarians may recommend tailored vaccination plans for individual dogs based on their unique needs and circumstances. Factors such as breed, health status, travel habits, and local disease prevalence can influence vaccination decisions. Pet owners should work closely with their veterinarians to develop a vaccination schedule that best protects their dog's health while minimizing unnecessary vaccinations.

At What Age Do You Stop Vaccinating Your Dog?

Vaccination protocols for dogs may vary, but in general, core vaccinations are typically administered throughout a dog's life. Some vaccines may require booster shots every one to three years, while others, like rabies, may be required by law and continued throughout the dog's lifespan.

Importance of Regular Veterinary Check-ups:

In addition to vaccinations, regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring a dog's overall health and well-being. Veterinarians can assess the dog's vaccination status, conduct preventive screenings, detect early signs of illness, and provide personalized recommendations for nutrition, parasite control, dental care, and behavior management.

During veterinary visits, pet owners can discuss any concerns or questions regarding their dog's health, including vaccination protocols, lifestyle adjustments, and preventive care measures. Open communication between pet owners and veterinarians fosters a collaborative approach to pet healthcare, ensuring that dogs receive the best possible care throughout their lives.


Vaccinations play a vital role in protecting dogs from infectious diseases that pose significant health risks. Core vaccinations against diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, and rabies are essential for all dogs, while optional vaccines may be recommended based on individual risk factors and lifestyle considerations. By following an optimal vaccination schedule and partnering with veterinarians to tailor preventive care plans, pet owners can help ensure their canine companions lead healthy, happy lives free from preventable illnesses.


Remember, vaccination is not just a responsibility but also an act of love and care towards our beloved four-legged family members. By staying informed and proactive about their health needs, we can provide them with the protection they deserve, allowing them to thrive as cherished members of our households for years to come.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!