Dog vaccination: everything you need to know

Vaccination of the dog is essential to take care of your fur ball. It is a preventive measure against certain potentially dangerous diseases.

The injection stimulates the production of antibodies that the body will need to defend itself if it contracts the disease. Therefore, it should not be neglected.

We'll tell you everything you need to know about vaccinating your furry friend!

What are the mandatory vaccines for dogs?

In France, there is no vaccination obligation for dogs. Vaccinating your pet is strongly recommended, but it is up to the owner in most cases.  The recommended vaccines concern very contagious diseases against which there is no specific treatment. 

However, there are certain situations where vaccination of the dog will be required.

For example, if you have to travel with your dog, the rabies vaccine will be mandatory to obtain the European passport.

If you have to board your dog, or if you plan to take training courses, other vaccines may be necessary such as the vaccine against kennel cough, or the vaccine against parvovirus. 

Finally, for categorized dogs (such as the Rottweiler or the American Staffordshire terrier) the anti-rabies vaccine is mandatory even on French territory. 

At what age should vaccination begin?

Vaccination should be started as soon as your puppy reaches the age of 2 months. Before that, it is not useful because the baby dog is still protected by his mother's antibodies. Also, his immune system cannot yet respond effectively to the injection.

The primary vaccination is done in 2 times. The first injection is done when the puppy is 2 months old, and the second one is done one month later. 

The protection against infectious diseases is effective from 15 days after the second injection.

A booster shot is then required every year. It is usually done during the annual visit to the veterinarian.

The rabies vaccine is specific. It can be done from the age of 3 months and does not require a recall. The dog is protected throughout its life with a single injection.

Respecting the vaccination schedule is important at any age. An older dog, even if he has been vaccinated throughout his life, may have a less efficient immune system and therefore be more sensitive to viruses.

What are the most important vaccines?

In general, there are 4 vaccines that are recommended by veterinarians. These are the vaccines against distemper, rubarth's hepatitis, parvovirus and leptospirosis, called CHPL. 


This disease is called a zoonosis, which means that it can be transmitted to humans. Leptospirosis is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with a contaminated animal. It is a very resistant bacterium, even outdoors. Cats and rats can be carriers without developing symptoms. On the other hand, in dogs, it is a serious disease that can have several forms: renal, hepatic or respiratory. The vital prognosis in case of leptospirosis is reserved. 


This disease is highly contagious. It is spread by direct contact or by contact with the secretions of an infected dog. Distemper is usually fatal because there is no treatment. 


This virus is very resistant and can survive for a long time in the environment. Transmission can therefore occur through indirect contact. It is a potentially serious and even fatal disease that cannot be cured. 

Rubarth's hepatitis (also called Contagious Canine Hepatitis)

Again, this is a disease for which there is no specific treatment. The virus spreads throughout the body but particularly affects the liver, causing hepatitis. The virus is very resistant and the contamination is done by oro-nasal route.

Other vaccines 

There are other vaccines, which may be more or less necessary depending on where you live or when you travel with your four-legged friend.

If you live in an area affected by piroplasmosis, a tick-borne disease, a vaccine against this disease is a useful precaution, in addition to a preventive antiparasitic treatment.

There is also a vaccine for dogs against Lyme disease.

If you live around the Mediterranean basin or if you travel to Southern Europe for example, the vaccine against leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by small mosquitoes called phlebotomines, is recommended.

Vaccinating your dog will stimulate his immune system and protect him against diseases that could be fatal. It is essential to take care of your dog's health. It is therefore important not to neglect the booster shots throughout his life. You can also stimulate your dog's immunity with specific food supplements to prevent common diseases.

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