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Vaccinating your pet is a great way to ensure that he lives his happiest, healthiest life. Together with your trusted veterinarian, you can ensure that your pet is protected from many serious diseases and conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about pet vaccines so you help your companion to live a long, full life.

Why are Pet Vaccines Important?

Vaccines for pets work similarly to vaccines for humans. They contain antigens that cause your pet’s immune system to be stimulated without your pet being exposed to the actual disease. A healthy animal’s immune system will respond quickly and will remember the disease, so if your pet comes into contact with the disease someday, its immune system will know how to effectively fight it off.

Vaccines give your pet the tools needed to fight common or serious diseases so they can live a long, healthy life. Many diseases can be passed between animals, and some can even be passed to humans, which can be very dangerous for small children and elderly owners especially. Your vet can help you to determine the best vaccine regime for your pet so they’re protected from many illnesses.

What Types of Vaccines Does My Pet Need?

There are many different types of vaccines for each type of animal, and some may require a booster shot. Vaccine schedules usually begin when a pet is six weeks old and your vet will help you to space out the remainder of their shots until they’re fully vaccinated.

Core and Non-Core Vaccines

Pet vaccines can be split into two categories. Core vaccines are recommended for every pet based on several factors including:

  • Risk of exposure
  • Severity of Disease
  • Transmissibility to Humans

Non-core vaccines are recommended based on your specific pet’s health and lifestyle. Some non-core vaccines may be best for your pet if they spend a lot of time outside or if you have them boarded often.


The Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel is a trusted organization that regularly publishes its recommendations on cat vaccines in the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Their current recommended schedule includes the following core and non-core vaccines:

  • FVRCP (which combines three vaccines in one)
  • Rabies
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
  • Chlamydophila Felis
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Discuss all vaccine options with your veterinarian since there are many other available vaccines. Together, you know your pet best, and your vet can help you to determine which vaccines are necessary based on your cat’s lifestyle, age, health and needs.


Vaccines for dogs are equally important to keep them happy and healthy. The recommended core and non-core vaccines for dogs include:

  • DAP or DHP (which combines several vaccines in one)
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica
  • Parainfluenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme
  • Canine Influenza

Your dog can begin to receive vaccines as soon as they reach six weeks old, but your veterinarian can help you choose the vaccine schedule that works best for your pet. Discuss all your options with your veterinarian, including your pet’s age, health, lifestyle and needs, so you can determine which vaccines are most beneficial for your pet and what schedule works best for him.

Additional Things to Consider

State Laws

Each state has its own laws regarding the rabies vaccine, but it is mandatory in almost every state. Some require yearly rabies vaccines while others only require the vaccine every three years. Check your state’s laws online or ask your veterinarian about them and they’ll be happy to help.

Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some areas require yearly rabies vaccination. Other areas call for vaccines every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.


Vaccines can carry risks and it’s important to discuss them with your veterinarian ahead of time. They’re the experts on vaccines and you’re the expert on your pet, so together, you can create the best vaccine schedule tailored to your furry friend.

Schedule your appointment at Pine Creek Vet today. We’ll help you get your pet the vaccines they need so they can live their happiest, healthiest life.