How often should my dog get vaccinated?

Vaccinations are not just for us, but for our dogs too! Vaccinations, hygiene, diet, and a good environment are all key ingredients in ensuring the health of our favourite canine friends. While there are no hard and fast rules for how often your dog needs to be vaccinated, it is good to be aware of the vaccines out there that can keep your dogs safe. 

We will first go over the core vaccines that all dogs in Singapore must have, before going on to the non-core vaccines and how often those need to be taken. 

Core vaccines

Core vaccines are “core” because they protect our dogs against severe, and potentially fatal diseases that are present in Singapore. 

For a puppy, the first dose of core vaccinations should be given at 6-8 weeks of age. Subsequent booster jabs should be given to the puppy every 2-4 weeks until the puppy has reached 16 weeks or older. Do note that administering a vaccination before 6-8 weeks runs the risk of the vaccine not being fully effective, so check with your vet if you are not sure.

For an adult dog, your dog needs to get a booster jab every year. So if your dog’s last jab was on 20th March 2022, the next vaccination jab would be on 20th March 2023, and so on and so forth. 

In the event that you do not wish for your dog to receive booster jabs every year, it is possible to discuss with your vet regarding off-label booster jabs that follow their own schedule. These revised schedules are made based on your dog’s lifestyle and diet. Additionally, your dog might need to go through a serological test to assess your dog’s immunity levels as well! These measures are important to check if your dog is eligible to have longer booster intervals. 

These vaccines protect against canine distemper virus (DPV), canine parvovirus (CPV), and canine adenovirus (CAV). These viruses can easily be spread to our dogs if they spend time outside or around other dogs. CPV and CAV are transmitted by coming into contact with faeces of infected dogs while a dog can get DPV by inhaling the aerosol droplets from the sneeze or cough from a dog who is infected with DPV. 

Puppies under the age of 20 months, and unvaccinated dogs of all ages are more vulnerable to these diseases. Fortunately, vaccinated dogs are well protected! 

Non-core vaccines

Non-core vaccines are only necessary if your dogs are exposed to certain unique environments or risks. Hence, you might want to check with your vet if these vaccinations are applicable to your dog or not! 

There are four diseases that you can get your dog vaccinated against. These diseases are leptospirosis, rabies, canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC or Kennel Cough), and canine coronavirus. However, Singapore is rabies-free, hence there is often no need for your dog to get vaccinated against rabies! Also, for canine coronavirus, many veterinarian organisations deem it to be sufficiently covered under the core vaccines. Hence, no additional vaccinations are needed most of the time!

Your dog may need a vaccine against leptospirosis if your dog may come into contact with urine from infected animals like rats, or if you live near a pond, lake, or a body of water. The first dose is administered when your puppy is 6-8 weeks old and the second booster is done 2-4 weeks later. Then, you only need to do a booster annually. 

For CIRDC, your dog would only need a vaccination against it if it is living in a highly densely populated shelter or would consistently come into contact with other dogs who are unvaccinated. Vaccinations schedules for CIRDC depend on the specific vaccine being administered to your dog by your vet, so do check with your vet for how often to bring your dog for a booster. 

Our dogs are not naturally immune to diseases, but we can protect them against them. Check with your vet to see what vaccines are needed for your dog today!