Which vaccinations does your dog need?

November 18, 2014

Your faithful companion is counting on you. Ensure important pet vaccinations are up to date so puppy stays healthy.

Which vaccinations does your dog need?

Holiday travel

If you're planning to travel across the US/Canada border this holiday season, you could be asked for proof of vaccination.

Pet vaccinations

Just like us, man’s best friend needs annual check-ups, and often this includes vaccinations.

  • Puppies usually receive their core vaccinations by the time they reach six months of age, and they get their first booster a year later.
  • There is much debate in the veterinary community on how often you need to vaccinate your dog, so discuss with your vet what your buddy may need.

Meanwhile, below are a few tips on the “core” vaccinations that all dogs should receive.

Canine distemper

This virus attacks the nervous system and is fatal in nearly half of unvaccinated dogs.

  • Some dogs don’t display any of the symptoms of distemper (listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and discharge from the eyes and nose) but can easily pass the virus onto other dogs.
  • In fact, unvaccinated dogs have a 350 per cent increased risk of catching this highly contagious disease.


Thankfully, the rabies vaccine has done a great job at cutting the number of cases in canines, but our dogs are still at risk of contracting the disease from other rabid wildlife such as raccoons, bats and skunks. It can also be passed to humans and is almost always fatal.

  • This vaccine can be mandatory in high-risk areas of Canada and you will need to show proof of the vaccine when taking your dog across the border to the United States.


Your vet will probably just refer to this virus as “parvo.”

  • It is a highly contagious disease that is spread through infected fecal matter.
  • In fact, this hearty virus can survive for a while outside of the host’s body (e.g., in poop on the ground, which you could step in and track into the house).
  • The disease attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal track and symptoms include severe vomiting and diarrhea with blood. It works fast, too. Death can be sudden or take a mere 48–72 hours.

With how contagious it is, vaccination is clearly important.

Canine parainfluenza virus or tracheobronchitus

Both of these two respiratory diseases are often called “kennel cough.”

  • They cause a terrible hacking cough, discharge from the nose and sometimes a fever.
  • Kennel cough can often be caught by dogs who are being boarded, or who are in shelters around other infected dogs.

Since you’ve probably heard the term “kennel cough” it just goes to show that it’s not a rare thing.

Canine hepatitis

Spread through infected urine, feces and other bodily fluids from infected animals, this nasty viral agent attacks the liver and can cause failure, along with eye damage and respiratory problems.

  • Often fatal, the symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and sometimes coughing.

Other vaccines

Talk to your veterinarian about whether or not your dog needs additional non-core vaccines for Lyme disease (from infected ticks), bordetellosis (a leading cause of kennel cough) or giardiasis (a stomach parasite), and keep your pup protected from as many illnesses as possible.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu