Everything You Need to Know About Pet Vaccinations

You probably know how important it is to get yourself and your children vaccinated. Vaccines not only help you from contracting viral illnesses, but they protect other vulnerable people who may not be able to get vaccines or for whom vaccinations aren’t effective. Vaccines are responsible for the near extinction of diseases like polio. However, vaccines aren’t only for humans. It’s important to get your furry friends vaccinated, as well. Here is everything you need to know about pet vaccinations.

They’re Required to Bring Your Pet Places

Some places will require your pets to have already received certain vaccinations. Doggy day cares, pet boarders, dog parks, hotels, airlines and more may require proof that your pet has received certain vaccines before you bring them. This protects the other animals that may be there, including older pets, ones with immune system problems, and ones that are too young to have received the vaccines. There could also be state and local laws mandating certain vaccines.

Core and Non-Core Vaccines

When you take your pet to the vet, they’ll likely recommend at least a few core vaccines. These are the ones they think every pet should get to safeguard against some of the most common illnesses. Core vaccines include ones for rabies, parovirus, distemper and adenovirus. Non-core vaccines are ones that aren’t necessary and will be recommended based on your pet’s lifestyle. For instance, if your pet spends a lot of time outdoors or in wooded areas, the vet may recommend a lyme disease vaccine. The shots for bordetella and influenza are other non-core vaccines that may still be beneficial.

They Need Boosters

Like important human vaccines, core pet vaccinations typically need multiple doses or boosters over the years to remain effective. Look into each vaccine and talk to your vet about how frequently and when your pet needs his booster shots.

Know the Risks

Vaccines work by injecting a small amount of the virus that is dead or dormant into the body. While many people and pets can walk away from a vaccine with little to no side effects, it’s important to note that they can occur. In pets, a few common ones include temporary lethargy, soreness, stiffness, sneezing and hair loss at the injection site. If any of these symptoms persist, see your vet. Other more severe and dangerous side effects are weight loss, hives, myocarditis, anaphylaxis and seizures. If your pet has any of those symptoms or reactions, take him to the vet immediately. There is also the risk that your pet could contract the disease the vaccine is trying to prevent. Know the symptoms of the disease so you know what to look for on the off chance that they do come down with the disease.

Vaccination is Up to You

While certain places may require your pet to have certain vaccinations, at the end of the day, the decision to vaccinate is between you and your vet. With the exception of the rabies shot, which could be required by law, other vaccines aren’t mandatory. Talk with a trusted vet about your pet’s health, breed and lifestyle to determine whether pet vaccines are something you want or need for your pet.

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