Non-Core Vaccinations and Your Dog: Making the Right Decision

4 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog


All dog owners know that they need to get their pet vaccinated regularly against certain illness, such as rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvo. These are the core vaccinations, according to the American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Task Force. But there are a number of optional vaccines known as "non-core" vaccines. This article takes a look at some of the key factors involved when deciding whether to give your dog a non-core vaccination. 


Your geographic location sometimes plays an important factor when deciding if a particular vaccination is right of your pet. For example, if Lyme disease is a significant risk in your region, the vet may recommend that your dog receive the vaccine. If you live in an area where the risk is low, the vet may suggest that the risk of your pet having an adverse reaction to the vaccine, although small, is not worth taking. Also, if you plan to more to another region in the near future, ask your vet about any non-core vaccinations that are relevant. 


Your dog's lifestyle also plays a major role in the number of vaccines she needs. This is because different lifestyles present different levels of exposure to disease. If your pet is not around other animals, the risk of disease is lower. For example, if your pet stays indoors most of the time, she will probably require fewer non-core vaccinations than if she is outdoors more frequently. 


A special consideration occurs if you plan to board your dog at a kennel or other facility. A disease called Bordetella, also known as kennel cough, is highly contagious and is typically transmitted in situations where dogs are in close quarters. Although the disease usually resolves on its own, you may want to get the Bordetella vaccine if your pets needs boarding. Also, you might want to consider getting the vaccine if your pet is going to be around other dogs for any significant length of time, such as appearing in a dog show. 


Your pet's health should also be taken into consideration when deciding if a non-core vaccine is necessary. For example, if you have an older pet with a weakened immune system, she is probably more susceptible to adverse reactions from the vaccine than younger and healthier dogs. In this instance, the risk of the vaccine may outweigh the benefit. 

 A number of factors deserve consideration when determining what vaccines to give your dog. Consult with your vet about the which non-core pet vaccinations are right for your pet.