Why Does My Dog Need Annual Vaccinations?

'Why does my dog need annual vaccinations?' along with a picture of a dog getting vaccinated.


Like a lot of people, we here at Hiputee aren’t a fan of needles. However, we always find the courage to get through it! And it’s simply because we know it’s for the best and will keep us safe.

The same applies to our loveable furry family members. Keeping them healthy and safe for many years to come is at the heart of all dog owners like ourselves. 

Are yearly dog vaccinations really necessary though? They can be a stressor to our dogs and can even cause anxiety. So, which dog vaccines are absolutely necessary and do indoor dogs need vaccinations, too?

Annual vaccinations, although not a fun experience, may have to become part of your yearly routine. So, it’s probably useful we walk you through and identify the different types of vaccinations your puppy (or fully-grown dog) could need.

When Does My Dog Need Vaccinating?

Your puppy will require their first vaccines at just 8 weeks old. They will then need some additional injections 2-4 weeks after their initial vaccinations (which may seem like a lot but it’s all worth it to make sure they stick by your side as the healthiest of fluffy companions). 

If you’ve adopted a dog at an age in need of some vaccinations (or maybe even an older dog), you should discuss with the breeder or original owner to see if the vaccinations have been completed. You could even request and check their pet passport.

That said, it’s the potential lifestyle your puppy will live that will dictate which dog vaccines are absolutely necessary. 

If you’re thinking about a puppy when considering whether yearly dog vaccinations are really necessary, you’re likely to be advised that they are by your veterinarian. This is because puppies are actually far more susceptible to illnesses and even death.

Are Yearly Dog Vaccinations Really Necessary?

In most cases, a yearly vaccine for your dog will consist of boosters to vaccinations they received as a puppy. And, as they grow up, they’ll move from needing an annual jab to only needing the booster every three years or so.

With the number of vaccines needed each year changing between ages, you’ll probably also be pondering “do indoor dogs need vaccinations every year?”. Which, again, will vary depending on the age of your furry friend and their lifestyle. 

In fact, lots of variables can impact how ‘at risk’ your dog is of catching the various diseases that these vaccines will protect against.

For example, pups that spend a lot of time around other dogs, travelling around the country or spending occasional time in kennels are all at a much higher risk than a housebound pup that only takes local walks.

There is still a continuous debate around which dog vaccines are absolutely necessary, though. It’s been found that older dogs are often protected for longer than vaccines initially suggest and don’t need to be re-vaccinated as frequently as they are. 

Although, we do still recommend that your dogs (especially if they’re puppies) receive at least one full course of the vaccines that are available so they can bark around happy and healthy!

Which Dog Vaccines Are Absolutely Necessary?

If you’re considering saving your puppy the stress of unnecessary visits to the vet, then there are some vaccines that are more recommended over others. These are called ‘core vaccines’ and are advisable for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle, in order to keep them healthy.

‘Non-core vaccines’, on the other paw, are still often recommended but can vary depending on breed and lifestyle. The team here at Hiputee would like to advise that you discuss all of these in detail with your veterinarian. This is because they’ll be able to give you the best advice for your unique pup and their circumstances.

Here is a list of all the most common vaccines out there with the first five being ‘core vaccines’ and the remaining three being ‘non-core vaccines’:

  • Canine Parvovirus

Often referred to as Parvo, the Canine Parvovirus disease can lead to vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. It is highly contagious and, if left untreated, can be fatal for your pup.

  • Canine Distemper

Distemper is, unfortunately, another serious disease for dogs and puppies. It’s spread as an airborne virus and the disease can cause a variety of problems. Although rarer than it used to be, Distemper can lead to long stays in the veterinary hospital and potentially permanent brain damage.

  • Hepatitis

Canine Hepatitis has varying symptoms that may be unrecognisable at first, but the disease is very contagious. Fortunately, in areas where dogs are vaccinated, it is fairly uncommon. But, as the disease can be spread among wild carnivores, it’s possible your dog could be susceptible to the disease in the wild (if not vaccinated). 

  • Rabies

Rabies, unfortunately, has no treatment available and is fatal to our dogs. As such, this vaccine is highly recommended by us and all veterinarians. In some countries (such as here in India), this vaccine is a legal requirement for pet passports. But your vet will be able to advise you much further on this and how it affects your fluffy friend.

  • Leptospirosis

The leptospirosis disease is generally caused by exposure to rodents like mice and rats or simply by coming into contact with stagnant water. If the disease is caught, it can lead to severe damage to the vital internal organs of your dog.

  • Bordetella

Although Bordetella is not usually serious in fully-grown animals, it can be dangerous for puppies. You’ve probably heard of it through it’s much more common name: kennel cough. And your puppy is more at-risk if they’re spending time boarding in kennels or showing.

  • Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)

It’s worth knowing this disease is very similar to Bordetella. Although it’s even more worth knowing Canine Influenza can also be spread by humans who have been in contact with an infected dog. Dog flu is also present all year round (unlike human flu, which is often seasonal).

  • Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, interestingly, is transmitted by ticks (bugs). And, if left untreated, it can cause damage to the nervous system and vital organs of your dog. While it can be treated with antibiotics, it is advisable to vaccinate against it if you’re in an area where your dog may come into in contact with ticks.

Do Indoor Dogs Need Vaccinations?

If you’re still asking yourself the question “are yearly dog vaccinations really necessary?” and, more specifically, “do indoor dogs need vaccinations?”, we recommend talking to your local vet.

Every dog’s lifestyle is different and is going to influence which diseases they’re at risk of catching. For example, even the area of India you’re in can affect which dog vaccinations are absolutely necessary.

So, even if your little furry friend spends most of their lives cosy and at home, there’s still some risk there. Whether that’s another puppy in the family that could have come into contact with a disease or an infected dog that you interact with in your day-to-day life.

Although it might feel overwhelming to put your furry friend through various jabs and vaccinations, just remember that it’s all to keep them safe and healthy.

Your veterinarian will always be able to give you the best advice for your unique circumstance and, here at Hiputee, we would always recommend getting that expert guidance. Especially when your pup’s wellbeing is at risk!

That said, if you’re looking to get your paws on even more knowledge about how to care for your pup or even if you’re just curious about dogs and their paws on you, take a look around our other blogs. Or, better yet, drop us a message if there’s anything you want to know!

In the meantime, have a read of our other articles: