Dog Health: Stop Giving Shots EVERY Year

This is not a post meant to change your mind about western medicine for dogs, or saying that we should not vaccinate or provide proper medications to our pets. This is a post for a balanced way of viewing petcare on a holistic level that incorporates more regular check-ups, and less regular chemical dumping into our pets.

In this post, I will share what we have been doing for our Pippin Tails pets, what we are going to continue to do, and what we are going to change/add in order to promote more wellness for our pets.

This is the first series about vaccines. We will also be tackling medications and nutrition as well in two other posts. We will revisit this in a few months and find out how it is going as well.

black and white short coated dogs
Photo by Eddie Galaxy on

Every year we get all of our shots, including the flu shot, bordetella vaccines, distemper/parvo/lepto etc. Every three years, we get our rabies boosters. This means tons of vaccines annually for our pets and then always more added, like the flu vaccine this past year that we did for most of our dogs.

I have always put our furbabies care at the forefront of our decision making for them, and I also have an understanding that we ( as a society ) have been making some changes in the medicine for our animals that have been a bit slow to hit the ground running.

So, let’s start with the annual vaccines. If you remember, a few years ago I wrote this: The Big V Word: The Veterinarian. So, my thoughts have been changing so I wanted to share this update.

We will now be doing many of our core vaccines every three years instead of annually. These will be the following vaccines:

Rabies Vaccines (as per usual after booster)

Dogs (distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus-2)

Cats (panleukopenia, herpesvirus, calicivirus)

In this PetMD article  we can see this newer layout, and it is very easy to read through, about the new recommended dosages of vaccines. In more detail, Dr. Richard Ford is interviewed in Veterinary Practice News about the trend emerging in doing some core vaccines every three years. I remember about 3 years ago this was presented to me by a vet but it was too hard for me to wrap my brain around at the time and I shrugged it off. So, I am making that change TODAY!

woman sitting on bench beside dog lying on floor
Photo by Alana Sousa on

So, we have found that the normal vaccines (barring bordetella, lepto and flu) can be done every THREE years instead of annually after the FIRST year booster. So what this means:

Layla and Pippin will NOT be getting their “core vaccines” for the next two years. They will get their Rabies when it is due but also will be on the three-year schedule. These guys may end up a little “off” in their schedule of which shots which years, but I am hoping to utilize our fancy-dancy cell phones to help keep track of what they have going on each year and talking with my vet to make it all happen.

Archie and Theo will be getting their FIRST YEAR BOOSTER  of all vaccines and Rabies this year and then they will not be getting them again for THREE YEARS! This scares the bejeezus out of me still, but I do not want to be over-pumping them with vaccines that they do not need.

Chester cat will also be skipping this year from vaccines BUT we will be doing some testing for him for the vet this year but he got his three-year rabies last year and his boosters so he is good to go for THREE YEARS since then!

So, I am not saying NO to vaccines, but I am saying LESS and WHEN to vaccines. I want to make sure to keep up with modern science and not just keep doing what we have been doing because “that is the way that it is done”. I am fearful of what this will mean for our doggie daycare records and public places like that for our pups, but we will tackle that bridge when we get there.


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