What vaccines do dogs need?

Why do dogs need vaccinations?

Just like humans, regular vaccinations against common diseases are important to help your dog build their immune systems and keep them healthy.

Dog vaccinations work by giving your pet a small sample of the disease, encouraging them to create antibodies. Once your dog has the antibodies, they’ll be better prepared to fight off the disease if they come across it again.

Do dogs need annual vaccinations?

A puppy’s initial set of vaccinations comes in three stages: the first at eight weeks, the second at 12 weeks and a third at 16 weeks. Make sure you keep all the details of your pup’s vaccination history.

After their initial set of vaccinations, dogs will need annual booster injections to ‘top up’ their immunity and protect them against harmful diseases.

Common dog vaccinations include:

  • Canine parvovirus (parvo)
  • Canine infectious hepatitis
  • Distemper
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel cough (parainfluenza)
  • Rabies (if you plan to take your dog abroad)

How much do annual dog vaccinations cost?

Dog vaccinations are not usually covered by pet insurance. This means you’ll have to pay for annual dog injections yourself. The cost of dog vaccinations and dog booster injections can vary from vet to vet, however the cost is usually far less than the cost of treatments for the diseases they prevent.

You could also ask your vet to recommend pet health club plans and subscriptions that cover the cost of annual vaccinations and other treatments not covered by your insurance, instead of paying as you go.

Some pet insurance policies will require your dog to have certain vaccinations to be covered fully. Make sure to check the terms of your pet insurance policy carefully so you know what injections your pet needs.

Does my dog need vaccinations before being neutered?

Most veterinary clinics will ask that your dog is fully vaccinated against all common diseases at least three-four weeks before they get neutered. This is to help protect them against infections after surgery.

Be sure to ask your vet about which dog vaccinations they recommend before booking your pup in to be neutered. 

Are there any side effects to dog vaccinations?

Just as you might get a few side effects from a human vaccination jab, your dog may feel a little under the weather for a few days after their own vaccine or booster injection. This isn’t usually anything to worry about, however if symptoms persist beyond a few days, or they are showing signs of an allergic reaction, take your dog back to the vet for a check-up.

Some common side effects to dog vaccinations include:

  • Low energy (sleeping more)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sneezing and cold-like symptoms
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Slight swelling where they had the injection

Less common dog vaccination side effects might include:

  • Twitching
  • Itchy or inflamed skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Limping

Rare side effects of dog vaccinations include:

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cold extremities (ears, legs and feet)
  • Seizures
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Collapse

If you think your pet might be having an allergic reaction, take them to the vet immediately. 

Dog and puppy insurance can help you give your dog the best possible care. Find out more about pet cover options and get a free quote today.

When you select ‘get a free quote’ you will be directed to the website of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd (RSA). We only promote M&S Pet Insurance exclusively from Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd (RSA). We will introduce you to RSA who arrange, administer, and underwrite M&S Pet Insurance.

Vaccinations are not covered by M&S Pet Insurance. To learn more about what is and is not covered by M&S Pet Insurance read the policy wording for full details.

Published February 2023

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