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Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Rabies is a potentially fatal disease. The best way to protect your dog and your family is to have them vaccinated against rabies. Today, our Riverside veterinarians explain more about this important vaccine, including how oftenyour dog should get a booster shot.

What is rabies? 

Rabies is a viral disease that can infect humans and animals. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal's saliva. This disease is typically transmitted to humans through a rabies-infected animal’s bite.

Rabies is a severe disease. There are no tests that can be performed on a living person or animal to determine whether they are infected, and once symptoms appear, the disease is usually fatal.

The majority of states require dog vaccinations. 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 of time or even euthanized in order to protect other animals and people.

This is why it's essential to keep your dog's vaccinations current. 

How often does my dog need a rabies shot?

The required rabies vaccination schedule for dogs varies by state. 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 one to three years, depending on state law and the type of vaccine used. 

Your veterinarian is your best resource for how often your pup should receive booster vaccinations. 

Why are rabies boosters required?

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. Booster vaccines re-build your dog's immunity to ensure they stay 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 vaccinated dog get rabies?

Rabies vaccinations are very effective, but no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection. So while the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it is still a possibility. 

The best prevention is to keep up to date on your dog’s rabies vaccines over the course of their life.

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

Following vaccination, many dogs will experience mild discomfort or swelling at the injection site, as well as a slight fever and fatigue. This is completely normal and typically resolves within a day or two. If the side effects last more than two days or worsen, contact your veterinarian.

Occasionally, the injection site may remain firm and swollen for several weeks. If the swelling lasts more than three weeks or grows larger, it is time to take your dog to the vet.

Rarely, your dog may experience more serious side effects. These usually happen within minutes to hours of receiving the vaccine and require immediate medical attention. If your dog experiences any of the following symptoms, you should immediately take them to the nearest emergency vet.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing or 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 dog overdue for a rabies shot or booster? Contact our Riverside vets today to book an appointment. 

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Riverside Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Riverside companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(951) 683-4200