Vaccines provide your pet dog with protection against many dangerous diseases. Unvaccinated dogs that live in cities and mix with other animals, or that spend time in boarding facilities, are extremely vulnerable and at risk for a number of deadly illnesses.

Below we will look at why and when you should vaccinate your dog, what kinds of serious disease vaccines can protect your dog against, and where you can find low cost dog vaccinations if you're on a budget. 

In this article we will cover the following:

  • Why is it important to have my dog vaccinated?
  • When should I vaccinate my dog?
  • What vaccinations does my dog need?
  • Why doesn’t my dog need all of the vaccines available?
  • Where can I get low cost dog vaccinations?

The Cost of Dog Vaccines

Depending on the place you go to to get your pet's vaccine, they can charge either per single shot or per a bundle of vaccines.

The average cost of injection in most private practices is around $15 to $35. Some places offer cheaper options and low cost dog vaccinations, and the price in these smaller veterinary practices can be around $5 to $15 per shot.

On top of the dog vaccination cost, there may be an examination fee, which can cost anywhere from $30 to $50 per exam.

Some veterinary clinics also offer full-on “prevention package” which includes a whole host of core vaccines, a number of different examinations throughout the year, dewormers, and a number of tests (heartworm, blood, fecal). Opting for this prevention package is significantly cheaper and the average price is about $150 to $200.

Where Can I Get Low Cost Dog Vaccinations?

The cost of vaccines varies depending on where you live and the veterinary practice you choose to go to. Prices can also fluctuate, so be sure to call your vet beforehand to get an idea of how much it will cost you to have your dog vaccinated within their practice.

Trips to a private veterinary practice can be expensive after considering consultation fees and vaccine or other medication costs, plus your travel expenses if you drive a car or pay for cab fares. This sometimes puts pet owners off going for annual health checks and vaccinations.

Unfortunately, Pet Insurance doesn’t usually cover the cost of routine care such as vaccines, neutering and micro-chipping. However, if you are newly registered with a veterinary practice you could have access to a subscription-based package deal that includes your dog’s annual vaccinations.

Package deals like these can include regular health checks and flea/worming treatments and discounts, so they often work out much cheaper. You should check prior to registering with a veterinary practice to see if they offer anything like this.

If you are a student, or if you are on a low income you may be able to get access to low cost dog vaccinations. Private veterinary practices don’t usually offer discounts, but charity funded organisations could help if you are in receipt of certain benefits and live in a catchment area.

Below is a list of some organisations that may be able to help with low cost dog vaccinations. Don’t forget to check the websites for up-to-date details on available services, eligibility, and designated days of the week to bring your pet.

Why Is It Important to Have My Dog Vaccinated?

Many canine diseases spread rapidly and if your dog has not been vaccinated, they are not protected, and therefore extremely vulnerable. This is true whether you live in the an urban or rural area, and whether your dog socializes with other animals or you use dog boarding facilities.

Diseases like Parvovirus and Canine Distemper are not only potentially fatal, they are also highly infectious and widespread. If you have an unvaccinated dog, they risk not only of contracting disease and getting ill themselves, but also passing on diseases to more vulnerable animals, such as puppies, older dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems.

The cost of dog vaccination is far lower compared to the cost of treatment if your unvaccinated dog gets ill (not to mention the cost of your pet’s life).

When Should I Vaccinate My Dog?

A dog’s first set of core vaccinations should be when they are a puppy, ideally between six and nine weeks old. A second set of core vaccines should follow two to four weeks after the first set.

Your vet may recommend that your dog have regular booster vaccinations every twelve months, or alternatively every three years, in order to keep them free from infection. But the choice will ultimately be yours.

Some dog owners choose not to give their dogs booster jabs at all. This is due to popular belief among dog owners who favor a more natural approach to their pets’ health, and believe that it is unnecessary to re-vaccinate once the dog has established an immunity via the initial vaccinations. Some people even believe that regular annual booster vaccinations can lead to over-vaccination and can compromise a dog’s general health and well-being.

Over-vaccination is a real thing, and if you are concerned about over-vaccinating your dog, you should speak to your vet about this for advice. Your vet should have a good indication of your dog’s general health, and also how prevalent certain diseases may be depending on where you live. You can ask your vet about an alternative to the annual vaccine, which is to have a titre test instead.

Titre tests are blood tests. They are sent to a laboratory to check for the presence of certain antibodies in the bloodstream. This can help to identify whether a dog will benefit from a booster injection, or whether it is an unnecessary procedure.

Don’t forget that your dog may need other injections, or up-to-date records of booster vaccinations if you want to travel with them outside of your own country.

What Vaccinations Does My Dog Need?

All vaccines that your dog needs fit into two categories: Core and Non-core. The core vaccines are what your vet usually offers as a standard set of injections when your dog is a puppy. These will protect your puppy from the main dangerous viral diseases.

Core Vaccines Protect Against:

  • Adenovirus (Canine Hepatitis) – An acute liver infection. It is highly infectious and spreads in the faeces, urine, blood, saliva and nasal discharge of other animals with the disease.
  • Distemper – A viral disease causing fever, coughing and catarrh. This can be lethal if untreated, especially in puppies and elderly dogs.
  • Parvovirus – A highly infectious and fatal virus that attacks cells in the intestines, preventing dogs from absorbing vital nutrients.
  • Rabies – A viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain. It spreads when the infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human.

Non-Core Vaccinations:

  • Bordetella
  • Lyme Disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine Influenza
  • Parainfluenza
  • Adenovirus Intranasal

Dogs Naturally Magazine offers a downloadable chart, which can be useful to take along with you to your appointment at the veterinary clinic, so that you can discuss your concerns with a professional. The chart is very useful as it covers the minimum duration of immunity for the core vaccines.

Why Doesn’t My Dog Need All Of The Vaccines Available?

Several of the non-core vaccines are bacterial. Bacterial vaccines are known for having lower efficacy rates. This, when combined with a high probability of adverse reactions, makes these particular vaccines a liability rather than effective protection.

For this reason they are considered non-core vaccines and are used only on rare occasions, after a careful evaluation of all of the risks involved.


Protection for dogs from deadly diseases is available to everyone, no matter how low your income. So use the links above to help you find a low cost vaccine solution, and keep your dog safe from disease so that you can enjoy many years of companionship with them happy and healthy by your side.

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Shelly lives in Iowa with her husband and Australian Shepherd named Tex. She's been an animal lover since she was a child. Currently, she enjoys reading and writing about dogs, and spending time with her family and getting involved in all things pets.