The science involved in the industry of veterinary care has evolved much in developing vaccines that provide safe and preventative measures. Vaccines keep your dog protected from severe infectious diseases, some of which were epidemics a few years ago but have since become less frequent.

It’s not just a matter of more vaccines, but also better vaccines that are more specific, provide longer protection and allow your veterinarian to make recommendations appropriate for your pet. 

Fortunately, dogs don’t need to be vaccinated for every disease all the time. There are two general groupings of vaccinations: those that target “core” diseases and those that are made specifically for “non-core” diseases. 

Core Vaccinations 

Core vaccinations prevent diseases that are extremely widespread in their distribution and are easily transmitted. Such infections are commonly fatal or extremely difficult to treat effectively. Rabies — a core disease — can be transmitted to humans with potentially deadly results. Core vaccines provide long term immunity, and makes yearly vaccinations unnecessary, these include: 


  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine adenovirus 1 infection
  • Rabies


In the past, these vaccines were recommended to be done yearly, but this is no longer the case. Duration of immunity from these vaccines has been proven to last at least three years. Vaccines for rabies are sometimes administered more often based on state and provincial regulations. While not all vaccines carry a label that indicates they are valid for three years, current recommendations for core vaccines are that after the completion of an initial series, dogs should be vaccinated every three years. 


Non-core vaccinations

Non-core vaccines protect against diseases that do not meet the core vaccine description. While all dogs are at risk of core diseases and must be vaccinated — the likelihood of infection, risk of exposure, and severity of the disease should be evaluated when making non-core vaccine recommendations. The indication for these vaccines should be based on a risk assessment that looks at both the local and regional incidence of the disease. The risk assessment should also consider the lifestyle. Non-core vaccinations may include:


  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Canine cough complex
  • Canine influenza


These vaccines generally provide a shorter length of protective immunity, and dogs that are at risk for infection should be vaccinated every year. 


All dogs should be examined by a veterinarian at least yearly, and a complete history and risk assessment should be performed. This will ensure that your dog remains healthy and is appropriately vaccinated, eliminating the risk of infection to your pup and those around it. 

Getting pet insurance is a sure-fire way to keep your pet healthy and happy, away from diseases, as well as getting it the proper care and treatment it deserves. If you don’t already have a pet insurance provider, there is no better time to get one than now. If you’re interested in finding out more about pet insurance and how they can benefit you and your furry family member, visit our list of the best pet insurance providers. Not only do some of them cover vaccinations, but they also give great rewards such as 24/7 expert pet care access, no enrollment age limits, free 30-day trials, direct veterinarian payment options, and more.