Is it too late to vaccinate my dog?

My dog is already an adult and has never been vaccinated. Does he need to vaccinate? To answer that question, this blog article will talk about dog vaccinations and their importance in protecting the animals’ health.

Is it too late to vaccinate my dog?

It is never too late to start vaccinating dogs. For adult dogs, two doses are recommended 2-4 weeks apart with a booster in one year, not more often than every 3 years. For rabies, a single dose should be applied, and the booster should be annual depending on the country.

Vaccines are effective and safe. There may be some side effects from the dog vaccine, but they are rare. The most frequent are fever, swelling in the region where it was applied and apathy. But any symptoms should be reported to the Veterinarian.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccination is important to keep your dog safe from disease. In general vaccines are produced from attenuated bacteria or viruses. They have the function of inducing the body to produce antibodies that are responsible for defending the body in case of infection.

Should adult dogs get vaccinated?

Yes, because without vaccination, animals are vulnerable to diseases that can be lethal to animals. Even if not vaccinated as a puppy, the adult dog must be vaccinated, because then he will produce antibodies that will protect him when he comes into contact with pathogenic microorganisms.

What vaccines prevent it?

Vaccines can be considered as core and non-core. Core vaccines are those that protect against endemic diseases, with potential public health importance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious and/or those that pose a risk of serious disease.

Currently, the Dog Core vaccines are those that provide protection against infection with Canine distemper virus, Canine adenovirus, Rabies,Canine parvovirus type 2 and their variants.

Main diseases to be prevented by the core vaccine:

  • Canine Distemper: viral infection that mainly affects the nervous system;
  • Canine Adenovirus: Adenovirus type 1 causes liver damage and can lead to hepatitis, whereas adenovirus type 2 causes respiratory symptoms that can progress to pneumonia.
  • Rabies: Lethal viral infection that mainly affects the nervous system;
  • Canine Parvovirus: causes intense, bloody diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.

Non-core vaccines are those that depend on the exposure risk of the dog, as is the case of Leptospira sp., Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, Giardia sp, and others.


In this blog post we were able to learn more about vaccination of dogs, why they are important. We could learn that the vaccines are safe and effective and because they have low side effects all dogs should be vaccinated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): dog vaccine schedule

What vaccines are required for dogs?

All the core vaccines are required as parvovirus, distemper, canine adenovirus and rabies. Non-core vaccines (Leptospira sp. Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi) are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk.

Do dogs really need to be vaccinated?

Yes, Dogs should receive core vaccines (Parvovirus, Distemper, Canine adenovirus and Rabies) and may need others depending on their lifestyle.

What happens if my dog is not vaccinated?

If dogs aren’t vaccinated, they will be vulnerable to diseases such as rabies, canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus and others.


Day, M. J., Crawford, C., Marcondes, M., & Squires, R. A. (2020). Recommendations on vaccination for Latin American small animal practitioners: a report of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 61(6), E1-E35.

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