Dog Vaccinations in Senior Dogs

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Dog vaccinations are important from both a legal and a health aspect. Every state requires dogs to be vaccinated for rabies, and other dog vaccinations like distemper and leptospirosis can protect our pets from deadly diseases. But when is a dog too old to get vaccinations?

An Overview of Dog Vaccinations

To know whether your dog is too old to get vaccinations, we have to first take a look a dog vaccinations. These vaccines have come a long way from the ones our dogs got years ago. They are vastly more safe and there are far fewer allergic responses reported. In addition to that, dog vaccinations protect our pooches from some seriously bad stuff – namely rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, and parvo.

Dog vaccinations are laid on pretty heavy in the puppy days to force a puppy’s immune system to boot up against some nasty stuff. It’s an important part of their health care. After the puppy years, dog vaccinations are administered annually to continue their protections against the various nasty diseases that can make them extremely ill or cause death.

However, in recent years, there has been a push by many in the veterinary community to space dog vaccinations further apart, much like the three year rabies vaccine. Research has shown that many dog vaccination don’t need to be given every year to maintain effectiveness. Which brings us to vaccinations in elderly dogs.

Does Your Senior Dog Need Vaccinations? A discussion About Dog Vaccinations

Elderly Dog Vaccinations

There are opposing schools of thought on getting vaccinations for elderly dogs. One school holds that even old dogs need protections against various diseases, and they should have them. The other school of thought is that elderly dogs could be too old to handle the vaccinations, and they shouldn’t have them.

It really comes down to your and your vet’s judgement when it comes to dog vaccinations. If your dog is elderly but is still in relatively good health, they should be fine to have their vaccinations. Your vet may suggest spacing them further apart, and in lieu of yearly vaccines, conducting a titer test annually to see if your dog still has antibodies for particular viruses.

Vaccinations may not be the best thing if your elderly dog is in poor health or has certain problems. To stay legal, you’ll have to have any dog vaccinated for rabies, but after that, you and your vet can determine if your elderly dog’s medical conditions make getting vaccines a bad idea.

Always Talk With Your Vet

Whatever your dog’s age or health always talk with your vet, whether you have questions about dog vaccinations or a chronic cough. Your vet has years of experience, and he or she can guide you to what is best for your pooch, whether they’re 5 months or 15 years. If you have questions about dog vaccinations, call your vet and see what they have to say.

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Comments

  1. We have always vaccinated our older dogs. Generally, our dogs have outlived their expected life expectancy. However, I can’t attribute this to vaccines. We always make sure our dogs eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise. I’m going to keep vaccinating until some concrete science comes out. Hopefully that is soon!

    • We personally think vaccinations are even more important to older dogs because they have weaker resistance and therefore may lead to more diseases. Keeping them healthy by feeding them the right food and letting them do exercises as what you mentioned are truly some ways to prevent them from getting sick. And lastly, I agree with you! As long as there hasn’t been any confirmed scientific claims about older dogs not needing vaccinations anymore, we’ll continue providing them with such.

  2. During the final months of my senior dog’s life, I supplemented her traditional veterinary care with a holistic veterinarian who came to my house to perform acupuncture (on the dog!). I took much of her advice re raw foods and supplements. She was not in favor of vaccines or heartguard. Of course my dog was ill. Thanks for this informative article.

  3. Although there are lots of discussions around the internet about the vaccination, lots of them stating how harmful they are, I still think we should all vaccinate our dogs, at least with those mandatory ones. As my vet said: yes, some may have some side effects, but on the other hand since vaccinations are mandatory, lots of illnesses disappeared and now with this anti-vaccination movement some of them are coming back. Regarding older dogs, I think you should decide after you consult with the vet you trust. Great article!

  4. When I adopted a pet, I made sure to get all his vaccinations. I didn’t realize that we might need to vaccinate him even when he is older. I should take my cat in for a Titer test to make sure he still has a strong level of antibodies.

  5. I have 2 years old Golden Retriever, but he is super scared of needles. Can you give me advice, how to put the vaccines?

  6. During the final months of my senior dog’s life, I supplemented her traditional veterinary care with a holistic veterinarian who came to my house to perform acupuncture (on the dog!). I took much of her advice re raw foods and supplements. She was not in favor of vaccines or heartguard. Of course my dog was ill. Thanks for this informative article
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