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Are vaccines good for dogs?

You love your dog so much that you think of yourself as a dog parent. So it’s only natural that many of the issues facing parents would also concern dog owners. Advice on dog health can be found everywhere and is often contradictory and conflicting, and there is no discussion on keeping a dog healthy as divisive as when talking about vaccinations.

The anti-vaccination movement has taken the world by storm. Enter your nearest café from Adelaide to New South Wales and you’ll be sure to find just as many opinions on whether or not vaccines are good or bad for you or your pet. This has led many pet owners to re-evaluate their stances on vaccination shots for their dogs. As a dog owner, it’s natural to be concerned about the side effects of vaccinations on your best friend. Just make sure you have all the facts first.

When it comes to peer-reviewed, quality, evidence-based medical research; there are no conclusive links between autism and the use of vaccines in humans. While dogs can develop canine autism, it is considered idiopathic, which means its cause is unknown. Similarly, the traits exhibited by autistic dogs (aloofness, avoiding touch, preferring to be left alone) are not inherently negative traits and these pets can still make excellent companions. When it comes to administering a vaccine to dogs, the primary goal is to prevent potentially fatal diseases such as rabies, distemper, heartworm and the parvovirus.

A common criticism of dog vaccination medicines is that they are a money making tool. Critics should note that one of the most commonly administered Australian dog vaccines is cheaper that its cure. Vaccinations for the deadly parvovirus can cost up to $100, with most dogs needing more than one shot. However when it comes to treating the virus once your dog has it (it is spread by humans as well as by dogs and can live for half-a-year outside a dog’s body), you could easily end up spending thousands of dollars getting them better.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that while dogs are very much like children in some regards, their fundamental biology is obviously very different – and therefore, what medical advice applies to humans will not apply to dogs. The best thing would be for you to trust someone educated in canine health, such as your local veterinarian.