Are Dogs Being Over-Vaccinated?

July 22, 2022 5 min read

Vaccines are an essential part of maintaining the health and immune systems in both humans and animals. Without vaccines, our bodies may be prone to deadly diseases that have been eradicated long ago. The importance of being updated on vaccinations is emphasized throughout the world, with specific shots being required for travel, access to events, and even work. 

While vaccines are an integral part of human and animal society, there can be some dangers associated with them. Many vaccines can cause side effects or allergic reactions, ultimately harming the recipient. This accounts for a fair amount of controversy, with certain groups claiming that dogs should be vaccinated yearly, every three years, or not at all.

This blog will discuss everything a dog owner needs to know about vaccinating their pet: what vaccines are required, how often they should be given, and what they do for your pet. 


Should Dogs Be Vaccinated?

At Cali Raw, we believe in holistic, integrative health for dogs. This means, when caring for your pet, it’s best to use both natural remedies as well as some synthesized medicines. Natural remedies, like a proper diet, supplements, exercise, and herbs, are a fantastic way to boost your dog’s overall health and prevent an outbreak of illness in the future. Some health concerns can’t be resolved by holistic methods alone, which is why we also recommend giving your dog vaccines and non-negotiable medicines when necessary.

Although every dog needs certain vaccines to be healthy, it is possible to over-vaccinate your pet. Many dogs are over-vaccinated in the form of combo shots, which are shots that deliver multiple vaccines to your dog at the same time. Another common reason for over-vaccination is corrupted veterinarians looking to book more patients, vaccinating dogs despite the fact they don’t need to. 

When vaccinating their dog, an owner must educate themselves about the type and frequency of vaccinations to prevent over-vaccination. So now, let’s go over what vaccines are crucial for dogs and which one are not.

holistic approach to vaccinating dogs

Vaccines Every Dog Should Be Given

“Core vaccines”is the term for the vaccines every dog should get. Let’s go over the core vaccines for all dogs and what they prevent our pup from catching:

  1. Canine Parvovirus Vaccine: Parvovirus, more commonly known as “parvo,” is a highly contagious disease seen most in puppies and unvaccinated dogs. Parvo invades a dog’s intestinal tract and causes severe and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and bloating symptoms. This virus can survive a wide range of temperatures and environments, making it extremely dangerous for all dogs. 
A parvovirus vaccine should be administered once as a puppy older than 9 weeks old, with a booster vaccine when they turn 1 year old. After completing the initial series, no further vaccines must be given, since this immunity will most likely last your pup's whole life.
  1. Distemper Vaccine: Distemper in canines is another highly contagious disease that affects a dog’s respiratory, immune, and nervous systems. What makes distemper so infectious is its ability to be transmitted through airborne exposure, like coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of distemper usually include discharge from the nose and eyes, fever, coughing, and vomiting. Once the virus invades the nervous system, dogs with distemper may experience seizures, chewing gum fits, or paralysis.
A distemper vaccine is needed once as a puppy above 8 weeks old and again as a booster vaccine a year later.  After completing the initial series, no further vaccines must be given, since this immunity will most likely last your pup's whole life.
  1. Canine Hepatitis Vaccine: Canine hepatitis is a viral infection that attacks a dog’s liver, spread most commonly by contact with infected urine (it could also be spread through nose and eye discharge). Hepatitis in dogs causes various symptoms, but most commonly fever, depression, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and jaundice. 
A vaccine for hepatitis is given during puppyhood, and a booster shot is needed one year later. Following these first two shots, a vaccine should be administered every three years.
    1. Rabies Vaccine: Rabies is a highly fatal disease among mammals, invading a dog’s nervous system and altering their temperament. Unlike the other viruses in this list, rabies can be transmitted from a dog to their human companion. Since rabies inhabits the salivary glands, the virus is spread when an infected animal bites another animal, injecting the virus into their system. 
    As for rabies, there are two types:Furious rabiesandparalytic rabies.Furious rabies makes a dog extremely aggressive, excitable, and hungry, resulting in a violent, seizure-induced death. Paralytic rabies makes a dog progressively go through paralysis, first experiencing a distortion in the face and difficulty swallowing, resulting in a comatose-induced death.
    There are two forms of rabies vaccine: 1-year and 3-year. If following the 1-year route, a dog will need a booster shot every year. If following the 3-year schedule, a dog will need an initial booster shot after one year, then booster shots every three years. Rabies vaccines are required by California Law.

    If your dog is displaying any of the signs above and you suspect they may have a virus, contact your veterinarian immediately.

    These vaccines are crucial for the safety of your pet and pets in your community. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are most prone to catching these illnesses but even vaccinated dogs can become infected. This is why it’s so important to do your part as a dog owner and give your pup theircore vaccines.

    Aside from core vaccines, some dogs with different health risks may need vaccines specific to them. Seeing an integrative veterinarian and discussing your pup’s health is the best way to determine exactly what vaccines your dog does and does not need.

    How Else Can I Improve My Dog’s Health?

    best dog food for vaccines

    Vaccines aren’t the only way an owner should be taking care of their pet. To ensure the longevity of your pup, it’s crucial to educate yourself on the preventative and holistic treatment of your pup. Here is our biggest tip on benefitting your dog’s overall health:

    Feed a proper diet.Unbeknownst to many dog owners, kibble does more harm than good to our pets. Almost every kibble brand contains ingredients that our dogs were never meant to have- cellulose, meat bi-products, and harsh chemicals are incorporated in every pellet of kibble. Read more about the harmfulness of kibblein this blog.

    Switching your pup to a fresh, raw dietis the best way to bring your dog optimal health. Raw dog food is not only biologically appropriate, but it containsloads of other benefits that will improve your pup’s longevity:

    • Improved immune system
    • Smooth skin and coat
    • Clean, odorless teeth
    • Small, compact, less-smelly stool
    • Weight regulation
    • Overall health & wellness!

    Cali Raw offers local, human-grade, and 100% balanced raw dog food to make fresh food easy. In feeding your dog fresh food, their improved health will work alongside vaccines in preventing illness and disease.

    Enhance your dog's health today with a complete & balanced, raw, healthy diet!

    We are not training to give medical advice. We recommend checking with your trusted veterinarian first.