How Often Do Dogs Need Rabies Shots: What You Need To Know

How Often Do Dogs Need Rabies Shots

​Every pet owner knows why it is so important to take your dog to a veterinarian for his shots. This is something that every responsible pet owner needs to do to make sure that their dog is free from any disease and won't also infect other dogs and humans around him.

One of the most important shots your dog needs to have is rabies. With vaccination, your dog can be free from this fatal disease and could also prevent other humans from getting affected by the disease. The important question many dog owner ask is how often do dogs need rabies shots?

Before knowing how often rabies shots should be given to a dog, it is important to know what rabies is and why it poses such a danger to dogs and humans alike.​ Here are some things you need to know about rabies.

In a nutshell, rabies is a deadly viral disease typically spread through the bite of an animal who has been infected by it. It could also be transmitted through scratches or even saliva that gets in contact with an open wound or a mucous membrane.

Rabies is preventable, however, it is not curable. Once its symptoms appear, it almost always is fatal; particularly to humans. The best way to prevent infection is to vaccinate your dog so that he can be free from the disease.

Is It Important To Vaccinate My Dog?

Since the best way to prevent infection of the disease is to have the dog vaccinated, each dog owner is required to have his dog vaccinated against rabies. As a matter of fact, every state has its own laws concerning how rabies vaccine is administered.

While there are areas that require dogs to be vaccinated every year, there are others that require a dog to be vaccinated once every three years. You will have to check with the mandate in your area so you know how often your dog needs to be vaccinated. In almost all states, however, you need to show a proof of rabies vaccination so that your dog will not be impounded by Animal Control.

Will I Be Fined If I Don't Have My Dog Vaccinated?

Depending on where you reside, it could be very important to have your dog vaccinated against rabies. But despite it being a state law, there is an unclear detail on how important this is.

As of this writing, there is no enforcement being followed. Instead of enforcing rabies shots, pet owners are being educated about the importance of rabies vaccine. This information helps encourage them to get their dogs vaccinated as a way of protection not only for the dog but also for themselves and their family members.

This means that while you won't get fined for not vaccinating your dog, you will be held responsible if your dog manages to bite someone and infect him. And in some communities, you won't be able to acquire a pet license without showing proof of rabies vaccination.

Can I Not Have An Indoor Dog Vaccinated?

​As mentioned, there are certain states wherein this is a mandatory requirement for all dogs. This means that whether or not your dog will be staying indoors, you still need to have him get vaccinated against rabies. Here are some of the reasons why this is very important:

Indoor Dog Vaccinated

For Public Health

​Even if you try your best to keep your dog indoors, you still have to make sure he gets vaccinated against rabies. The reason for this is that rabies can easily be transmitted by other infected animals through bites or saliva. Often, rabies is found in skunks, cats, foxes, bats, groundhogs, and raccoons. To give your dog the protection he needs (as well as yourself), you have to get him vaccinated.

Safeguard Your Dog

​While you may have confidence that you are safe living in the city, it does not always prove true. In fact, there are many cities with feral cat population problems as well as groundhogs, raccoons, bats, and mice. If you don't vaccinate your dog, he could be infected of rabies through these stray animals.

When Your Dog Gets Out

​Imagine what will happen to your dog if he accidentally escapes your door. Can you bear the thought of him being out in the street and getting in trouble with other animals? If your pet comes back with a bite, it is very likely he could be infected by rabies already.

Inside Threats

​Even if you make sure that your dog stays inside your home, there is still the risk of what is inside your home. There have been a number of cases wherein bats managed to fly inside the home through an open door, unscreened window, or the chimney. If your dog is not vaccinated, he could be at danger for contamination from the bat.

Getting Rabies Vaccine For Your Dog

​If you're considering getting a new dog, you have to make sure you ask information from your vet regarding the state laws on how often your dog should get vaccinated against rabies. These are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: First Shot

Depending on the city, county or state you reside in, you should check when your puppy is scheduled for his first rabies shot. There are some areas that require puppies as young as three months old to be vaccinated against rabies. 

However, there are many places wherein this is not being followed. Instead, they wait until the puppy has reached four months before he gets his shot. There are even some areas that wait until the puppy turns six months old. Make sure to ask your local vet or make a call to the local animal control office so you know the requirements implemented in your area.

Step 2: First Booster

Just like children, your dog needs a booster shot following his rabies shot. This booster shot will help keep his body's defense stronger to fight against rabies. If your dog does not get a booster shot, the immunity brought about by the first shot could wane out. Eventually, your dog won't be able to resist the disease.

As soon as your puppy has been vaccinated against rabies, he will need a rabies booster shot in a year. This ensures that your dog's system is fully developed and is able to maintain a strong immune response to the virus brought about by rabies. Across all states, this year long interval between the first rabies vaccine shot and booster is the same.

Step 3: Following Boosters

As mentioned, local state laws dictate how often a dog should get vaccinated against rabies. In this case, this should be after his first booster. There are some areas that require dogs to get vaccinated every year since it is perceived that the vaccine will produce stronger immunity and resistance against rabies.

It is important to note, however, that there are lawmakers in other cities that have determined there is no evidence proving whether or not giving more shots to a dog will provide more protection as opposed to the usual three years time. This is why these cities mandate that a dog should only get a rabies shot once every three years.

Remember, a vaccination against rabies is far more convenient and cheaper compared to opting out. In some cases, it could even help save your dog's life, a family member's, or even yours. Make sure you do the responsible thing today and have your dog vaccinated. Share this with a friend who's thinking twice about getting his/her dog vaccinated.