Which Are the Most Important Vaccinations for Your Pet?

Vaccinating dogs and cats is essential in order to prevent your pet from developing certain serious diseases. But which are the most important ones? We’ll let you know in this article!
Which Are the Most Important Vaccinations for Your Pet?

Last update: 15 July, 2021

Pets, especially dogs and cats, have become an important part of many families. Because of this, from the very first moment they arrive at your house, you need to realize just how important it is to look after their health. It’s vital that you know which are the main vaccinations for your pet, as well as knowing when they need to have them.

According to a recent publication in the journal Vaccines, vaccination plays a key role in counteracting undeveloped adaptive immunity in young animals. In other words, it allows the development of antibodies, which are essential to help your pet to fight life-threatening diseases. Read on, and we’ll tell you more about it.

The most important vaccinations for your pet

Essential vaccinations for dogs

A dog having an injection.

As explained in an article published in Vaccines for Veterinarians, vaccines for dogs are divided into essential or basic, and non-essential or less essential. The former are the vaccinations that all dogs should receive, regardless of country or breed. These are the most common ones:


This is the acronym for the vaccination against distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. It’s one of the most important ones, as these infectious diseases are all highly contagious. Its recommended application is in puppies, but not before they’re 6 weeks old.

Likewise, it’s necessary for them to have this vaccine 3 to 4 times throughout their vaccination program. If the dog is sociable and is out of the house quite a lot, then they should receive the booster every year. If it spends most of the time at home, then every two to three years will suffice.


In most countries, the rabies vaccination is mandatory. The reason for this is that the virus that triggers rabies can cause fatal acute encephalomyelitis in humans. It also causes death in dogs within two days of the onset of the first symptoms. It’s estimated that it can take up to 12 weeks from exposure to the virus to the canine showing signs of infection.

Only immunization, followed by boosters, will provide complete protection against this disease. Therefore, its application is recommended every year in more sociable dogs, and every 2 to 3 years in those that spend more time at home.

A puppy without a vaccination.

Other vaccinations for dogs

The need for other vaccines depends largely on the dog’s lifestyle. According to information compiled in Epidemiology and Infection, these may include the following:

  • Leptospirosis vaccine. This disease can be contracted by ingesting water that has been contaminated with urine. It’s a bacterial infection that causes symptoms such as fever, vomiting, depression, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite, among others. Annual vaccination is recommended.
  • Influenza vaccine. This is essential for all sociable canines, as this disease is so easily transmitted. The symptoms are a bad cough, nasal secretion, sore throat, lack of appetite, and tiredness. Again, annual vaccination is recommended.
  • Vaccine for Lyme disease. This vaccine should be administered every year in dogs at risk from tick bites. This disease can cause fever, tiredness, lack of appetite, and mobility difficulties.

Essential vaccinations for cats

As with dogs, the need for vaccines in cats varies according to their living conditions. An article in Vaccines for Veterinarians states that the essential ones are those for feline herpes virus, feline parvovirus, and feline calicivirus. Their vaccination program should also include rabies and feline leukemia vaccines. The booster period is usually annual, especially if the cat usually leaves the house on its own.

What else should you know about vaccinations for your pet?

In general, vaccines don’t usually cause any serious side effects in pets. At most, they may experience mild discomfort or lethargy after receiving the doses. However, it’s advisable to look out for symptoms such as bloating or vomiting. If they appear, it’s best to see a veterinarian.

Remember that other vaccinations may be necessary, and your vet will inform you about these. Liaise with them and be sure to complete the entire vaccination program to ensure your pet’s good health.

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