Vaccinating Your Pet

Vaccines prevent your pet from becoming ill or even dying if they are ever exposed to the actual disease. They are an important part of your pets preventative health care plan. Dogs and cats of all ages, from puppy and kitten age to senior, require vaccinations. 

Some vaccines are legally required, such as Rabies. In some places, this is a yearly vaccine; in others a 3 year vaccine. Your Veterinarian will know which is legally required. 

Most boarding or daycare facilities require a recent Bordetella vaccination to prevent upper respiratory illnesses which can easily spread.

The remainder of vaccines required for your pet's good health vary depending on the age of the pet and if they go outdoors (for example, indoor cats are at much lower risk to disease exposure).

Note that if you have adopted your dog or cat from a shelter, the shelter will have given required vaccinations and should give you a copy of that medical record upon adoption.

Standard vaccinations for dogs include: 

  • Parvo
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella 

Standard vaccinations for cats include: 

  • Panleukopenia (Feline distemper)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis)
  • Rabies

    Additional vaccines can include:

  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (note: this can cause a false positive on future tests for FIV).

Puppies and kittens should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age at three- to four-week intervals until 16 weeks of age.

For adult dogs and cats, some vaccines are annual, while other vaccines might be given every three years or longer.

Your veterinarian can determine what vaccines are best for your pet. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle.
Sources: ASPCA, Texas A&M