Vaccinating Your Dog: Core Vs Non-Core Vaccinations

For many years, dog owners were encouraged to vaccinate their pets for just about every disease possible. While some veterinarians still choose to take this approach, more and more veterinarians are choosing to adopt the guidelines set forth by the American Animal Hospital Association.  These guidelines which were updated in 2006 refer to core and non-core vaccinations. Core vaccinations are those which the association believes should be given to all dogs. Non-core vaccinations on the other hand, should only be given to dogs who are are at risk for developing the disease which the specific vaccination protects against. Below you will learn more about these core and non-core vaccinations so that you can determine which shots your pet should be receiving.

Core Vaccinations

There are four core vaccinations that all dogs should receive regardless of breed or exposure risks. These core vaccines include:

  • parvo
  • distemper
  • adenovirus
  • rabies

Traditionally, the first round of these core shots will be administered during your puppy's first visit. Your puppy will then continue to receive booster shots either once a year or once every three years depending upon the vet that you choose and the regulations in your state.

Non-Core Vaccinations

The list of non-core vaccinations is much longer than the list of shots that all dogs should receive. This is because dogs can be exposed to a wide variety of viral and bacterial infections is placed in certain situations. For instance, if you are planning to board you dog in a kennel while you are away on vacation, your pet will need some additional vaccines in order to protect them from the illnesses which are commonly spread under these conditions. These non-core vaccinations include:

  • Kennel cough (Bordatella) - This vaccine protects against a variety of strains of kennel cough, a disease that produces symptoms that are quite similar to that of the common cold in humans. Due to the ability to quickly pass this disease from one animal to the next, it is recommended that this non-core vaccine is given to any dogs that routinely come in close contact with other dogs.
  • Lyme disease - Lyme disease is contracted when infected ticks attach themselves to your dog's skin and release bacteria directly into their blood stream. Since ticks can jump from one host to another, this vaccine is often recommended for dogs who spend time with other animals who may have been exposed. It is important to note that this vaccine only protects against Lyme disease and not other tick borne illnesses. Consequently, you will still need to make use of a tick prevention product.

For a full list of all the non-core vaccinations that may be available to your pet, be sure to schedule an appointment with a reputable veterinarian (such as one from Basking Ridge Animal Hospital) in your local area.