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Pet Health - Recommended Pet Vaccination Schedule
by Sarfaraz Nasir

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House Training a Puppy
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Buying Dog Toys
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Choosing a Leash for Your Dog
Dog Grooming
The ABC's of Pet Grooming
Communicate w/ Your Dog
Stop Excessive Barking
Adorable Tricks To Teach Your Dog
Annual Vet Visits?
Pet Vaccination Schedule
Top Ten Dog Diseases?
Dog for Food Allergies
Treating Arthritis In Dogs
Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Is your dog sick
Canine Distemper
Kennel Cough
Heart Disease
Heartworm Disease
Hepatitis In Dogs
Dog Separation Anxiety
Dog's Dietary Requirements
Is your Dog Fat?
First Aid For Your Dog
Lyme Disease in Dogs
Bathing Tips For Dogs
Choosing Dog Obedience School
Dog Travel Tips
Your Dog Goes Missing
If Disaster Strikes
Interview a Pet Sitter
Dangers At The Dog Park
Dog Chewing
Stop Dog From Digging
Older Dogs Have Special Needs

Vaccinations are important, even for indoor pets. Some diseases are airborne or can be acquired by contact with fecal matter that might be brought into your house on your street shoes. Diseases that affect pets are present in the environment, and some diseases can spread to humans.

Any animal that goes outdoors should be vaccinated annually for rabies. This includes ferrets and bunnies. If you have a small house dog, or your dog is at low risk for contracting Leptospirosis, your vet may determine that this vaccination is not necessary. Aged animals should only be vaccinated on the recommendation of your vet.

Vaccinations protect your beloved pet from painful and often fatal diseases. They help ensure a long and happy life for your pet, with many hours of enjoyment for you with your animal companion. The cost of vaccinations is very small, compared to the cost of treating a disease or of losing your pet altogether. Many communities have vaccination clinics where you can get free rabies vaccines for example. Check with your local animal shelter or veterinarian to find out when a free vaccination clinic is scheduled.

Your pet's age, health, lifestyle, environment, and geographic location can all affect the vaccination schedule. Ask your veterinarian about the most appropriate vaccines for your pet.

Vaccination Schedule


Vaccine: Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus and calicivirus (combined)
When: As early as 6 weeks, with boosters every 3 to 4 weeks until at least 12 weeks of age
Booster: Every 3 years


Vaccine: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
When: Begin at 4 months old, repeat in 2-4 weeks
Booster: Every year


Vaccine: Feline distemper
When: At 9 weeks old and 12 weeks old
Booster: Every year

Cat, Dog, Ferret, Bunny

Vaccine: Rabies
When: At 3 months for initial protection, and again at 1 year
Booster: Every 1 to 3 years


Vaccine: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus (combined DHPP), Leptospirosis, Adenovirus
When: At 6 to 8 weeks, 9 to 11 weeks, and 12 to 14 weeks
Booster: 1 year after last puppy dose, then every 1 to 3 years depending on vaccine type


Vaccine: Rabies
When: 3 months
Booster: 1 year after puppy dose, then as required by local authorities


Vaccine: Coronavirus
When: 6 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks until 12 weeks of age

Dog - if it will be exposed to ticks

Vaccine: Lyme
When: 9 to 11 weeks, and 12 to 14 weeks
Booster: Every year

Dog - if it will be boarded, or going to dog shows or obedience classes

Vaccine: Kennel cough (Bordetelle)
When: 16 weeks
Booster: Every year

Dog - outdoor dogs; can spread to humans

Vaccine: Giardia
When: 12 weeks, 15 weeks
Booster: Every year, if indicated in your area

* Not a vaccination, but dogs should receive heartworm prevention starting at between 8-15 weeks of age, continued for life, with annual heartworm blood tests.

After the vaccination, it is important to watch your pet for the next couple of days for any signs of a reaction to the shot. Possible symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Minor fever
  • Irritability, expressed as biting, growling, or unwillingness to be with people
  • Unusual sleepiness, lack of energy
  • Swelling or redness around the injection site
If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian. If you observe a lump on your cat for more than 3 months after it has been vaccinated for rabies or feline leukemia call your vet. This could be a sign of a vaccine-associated tumor.

Reactions to vaccines happen from time to time, but for the most part, having your pet vaccinated, and given a health checkup once a year, is the safest way to protect them and help them live a long, happy life.

Sources: American Animal Hospital Association and Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Ontario, Canada
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