Dog shots are something that every responsible owner considers from a puppy vaccination schedule through to an adult dog vaccination schedule.

If you’re anything like most dog owners, you think of your dog as a family member, and of course you would only want the best of care for your four-legged friend.

You might be tempted, then, to leave all your dog’s medical decisions up to your veterinarian, thinking that they’re the ones with all the expertise, right?

Well, hang on a minute – you might want to rethink that idea when it comes to vaccinating your dog.

The traditional veterinary dog vaccination schedule is slowly being replaced by new recommendations. If your veterinarian is advising a yearly set of injections for your canine companion, you may be surprised to learn that it could increase the risks to your dog’s well-being.

Recent research has shown that giving our dogs too many vaccinations can potentially produce a variety of negative health effects.

Since the goal of most dog owners, is the opposite of this, let’s talk about how you can protect them in an effective way without overburdening their immune system and increasing the risk of a number of additional health issues.

How Do Dog Vaccines Work?

There are two different categories of vaccinations used in veterinary medicine – modified live (MLV), and killed vaccines.

Modified live vaccines use a changed, weakened form of the infectious virus or other microorganism, while a killed vaccine uses an inactivated (dead) form of the virus.

When the vaccine is injected into your dog, it stimulates their immune system to produce antibodies, protecting them against any future contact they might have with that particular disease.

What’s the Problem With Too Many Dog Shots?

Well, besides being unnecessary in many cases, over vaccinating a dog can overwhelm their immune system, potentially causing negative side effects. For dogs who are already ill, or who suffer from a disease that involves their immune system, giving unnecessary vaccinations can place extra stress on their bodies, causing further health problems.

Vaccine reactions in dogs can happen anywhere from minutes to weeks or even months after the vaccine is given.

This is according to Dr. Jean Dodds, a pre-eminent veterinary researcher in the field of pet health as related to vaccination, hematology and endocrine disorders.

The type and severity of the reactions can range from mild ones like fever, hives, swelling, soreness, vomiting and lack of appetite.

More serious and sometimes fatal problems have also been linked to over-vaccination, such as an increased tendency to develop infections, bone marrow suppression, brain inflammation, behavioral changes, and diseases where the immune system goes ‘haywire’, like autoimmune hemolytic anemia (a condition where the body destroys its own blood cells).

For dogs specifically, their breed can play a part in their response to vaccination as well, as some are more susceptible to diseases that affect their immune system like chronic allergies, and therefore are also more likely to develop negative reactions from unnecessary or excessive dog shots:

• Akita
• American Cocker Spaniel
• German Shepherd
• Golden Retriever
• Irish Setter
• Great Dane
• Kerry Blue Terrier
• Dachshunds (all varieties, but especially the long-haired)
• Poodles (all varieties, but especially the Standard Poodle
• Old English Sheepdog
• Scottish Terrier
• Shetland Sheepdog
• Shih Tzu
• Vizsla
• Weimaraner