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Dog Rabies Vaccinations: Shot Schedule

Rabies is a serious disease that can affect any type of mammal including humans, cats, and dogs. Prevention is crucial due to the infectious nature and fatal outcome. Here, our Citrus Heights vets talk about the importance of pet vaccinations and what you need to know about rabies shots for dogs.

What is rabies & how does it impact the health of pets?

Rabies is a very serious viral disease that can infect all mammals, including domestic pets, wildlife, and humans. It is contracted when one comes in contact with the saliva or brain tissue of an infected animal.

At this time there is no cure for a rabies infection. There are no tests that can be done on a living person or animal to tell if they are infected with rabies, and once the symptoms develop, it is almost always fatal.

Vaccination of dogs is required by law in the majority of states. If your dog is not up to date on their rabies vaccine and is bitten by an animal, state law may require that your pet be quarantined for an extended period or even euthanized to protect other pets and people.

For these reasons, it is vital to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.

How often do pets need rabies vaccinations?

The governing body of each state will have a set requirement for mandatory dog and cat rabies vaccinations. In most states, your puppy will receive their first vaccination between the ages of 14 and 16 weeks, followed by a booster shot one year later.

After that, your dog should receive a rabies booster every 1 to 3 years.

You can speak with your vet to learn more about when you should schedule your pet for booster vaccinations.

Why are rabies booster shots needed?

Vaccinations tell the body how to recognize the disease and create an immune response that will target and destroy the virus should it enter your dog's body. 

Over time, this immune response wanes and isn't as effective. The booster shots help to ensure the efficacy of the vaccination, keeping your dog protected.

If you're worried about how much a rabies shot for dogs will cost, contact your vet to get an estimate and find out about payment options.

Can a dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

While the dog rabies vaccination is highly effective in lowering the risk of infection, no vaccine is 100% effective. This means that there will still be a chance of your dog contracting rabies even after being vaccinated.

The best prevention is to keep up to date on your dog’s rabies vaccines throughout their life.

What are the potential side effects of pet vaccinations?

It is common for dogs to experience tenderness around the vaccination site, tiredness, and grogginess following the rabies vaccine. This is completely normal and usually resolves itself within a day or two. If the side effects last longer than two days or worsen, consult your veterinarian.

Occasionally, the injection site can remain firm and swollen for a few weeks. If the swelling persists past three weeks or gets larger, it is time to take your pup to the vet.

Side effects are not common, but if you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog after their vaccine, contact your vet right away:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing difficulty breathing, and even collapse.

Overall, the rabies vaccine is extremely safe and an important factor in maintaining your pet's overall health. If you feel your dog is acting weird after a rabies shot, contact your vet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your furry friend due for a routine preventive care visit? Contact our Citrus Heights team at Family Friends Veterinary Hospital to book your dog's rabies vaccine.

New Patients Always Welcome

Family Friends Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept new patients! Our vets are passionate about improving the health of Citrus Heights companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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