Are We Over-Vaccinating Our Dogs?

I have a question for you.

Are we over-vaccinating our dogs?

It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while.  Deb Kidwell, an azawakh breeder from Virginia, sent me information about this several years ago which I’ve pondered on ever since.

As humans we are vaccinated once or twice (first + booster) for the major childhood diseases such as smallpox, polio and whooping cough etc.  Are we then vaccinated again every year?  No we aren’t.  Why?  Because we already have the antibodies in our system which protect and give us immunity.

Do dog systems work differently?  Is there something about dog antibodies which makes them magically die off each year and need to be re-stimulated by a veterinary injection?

I have some friends who say that vaccinating dogs every year is a waste of money.  This is because the vaccination is killed off by their existing antibodies.  It doesn’t create more antibodies because they already have enough to protect them.  That seems like a very logical argument to me.

I can’t say for certain which is right or wrong, but I can say there is a big difference between how humans are vaccinated and how pet animals are.

I can see the logical argument for a reduced vaccination regime for pets which matches the ones we have as humans.  However, I have continued to vaccinate my dogs because:

  1. An annual booster vaccination (and kennel cough vaccination) is required by all the boarding kennels I have ever used.
  2. I don’t know enough about vaccination pros and cons yet to make an informed decision, and
  3. None of my dogs have ever shown problems with annual vaccinations.  They continue to be fit and healthy.

So the upshot of this is – if I want to have holidays I’ll have to vaccinate my dogs for as long as the kennels require annual vaccinations.

When you get a puppy or a dog from rescue, vaccination costs should have been covered for the first year.  After that it’s something you’ll need to pay for yourself.  Just one of the many costs of owning a dog most people don’t think about.  There are tons of others.

I want to help you choose a dog you can afford to keep.  Budgeting for your dog is one of the key things you must do before you choose one.  Learn more about this in your free e-course on choosing a dog.


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