As a pet owner, there are some decisions that are hard, such as whether or not to microchip your pet or what type of healthy dog treats to buy. Then, there are other decisions that are pretty much no brainers. Dog vaccinations should be one of the easy ones!

To protect your dog from harmful bacteria and viruses, you don’t need to be superman…all you need to do is get your dog vaccinated (a solution just as powerful). Think of dog vaccinations as a magic elixir, one that is capable of keeping your dog safe from a variety of contagious diseases and illnesses. In essence, that’s exactly what vaccinations do! While vaccinating your dog is absolutely needed to ensure their health and wellness, what types of vaccines your dog gets—and when—is up to you to decide with your veterinarian.

Believe it or not, there is no one-size-fits-all standard vaccination plan for all dogs. Every dog is different and so are their health needs. With that being said, there are common vaccinations known as “core vaccinations” which are considered vital and are recommended for every pet by the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Some of these core vaccinations include rabies, hepatitis, distemper, and parvovirus. Generally speaking, it is advised to get your dog immunized early, usually starting when they are around six to eight weeks in age.

For pet owners, figuring out the how, what, when, where, and why of vaccinations might seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, that’s what animal hospitals are for! At Hillside Animal Hospital, we’re experts when it comes to everything related to pet health, including your dogs vaccination schedule. Don’t think you have to figure out the vaccination craze yourself. We’ll be there to guide you and create the best vaccination plan possible to keep your dog alive and well and playing fetch for years to come.

Here are a few things you can expect from our pet vaccinations:

Core and Non-Core Immunizations

No one understands just how individual and unique each and every dog is more than we do. That’s why we’re proud to offer both core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations. After all, what is needed for one dog, might not be needed for another. While core vaccinations are recommended for all dogs, non-core vaccinations are optional and are more dog specific. Knowing if your dog truly needs a non-core vaccination (and which one) is a tough call for most pet owners. But have no fear…at Hillside Animal Hospital we take great care to understand a dog’s unique health risks in order to create a health plan tailored specifically for them.

Examinations Prior To Vaccination

You wouldn’t take a long road trip without getting a quick tune up first, would you? The same thing is true when it comes to dog vaccinations. Although pet vaccinations are safe for the most part, they do carry some potential risks. Therefore, it’s important that an examination of your pet be conducted before any vaccinations are administered. An examination beforehand is needed to determine if your dog is healthy enough to be vaccinated as some vaccinations may exacerbate pre-existing health issues.

A Record of Vaccination

It can be hard enough to keep track of your own medical history, let alone your dogs. Fortunately, we take care of all that for you! Not only will we keep a record of which dog vaccinations your best friend receives, we’ll remind you when it’s time for a follow-up booster vaccinations, and note any side effects or adverse reactions your dog might have had the first time around. Having a thorough and complete dog vaccination history on hand will ensure that your dog is receiving exactly what it needs, when it needs it in order to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

If you’re on the fence about vaccinating your dog, the thing to remember is that most viral infections are not treatable once acquired. That’s why getting your dog vaccinated beforehand is of the utmost importance, and could potentially save their life. Like we said before—when you think about it that way—there’s no decision left to make!