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All you need to know about dog vaccinations

Dogs can suffer from a range of dangerous infections and diseases. Luckily, you can protect your pup from some of these illnesses with dog vaccinations. Learn all about dog vaccination prices, the types of vaccinations they might need and more.

Why should I vaccinate my dog?

Getting your dog vaccinated is a great way to give your dog immunity and protection against a number of common infections and diseases.

It’s crucial that you schedule an annual vaccination appointment for your dog every year for booster vaccination injections to give them a better chance at a full, happy life. Vaccines help them to build full immunity and prevent the spread of certain diseases which can be nasty and sometimes even fatal.

Most insurance policies require your dog to be vaccinated to be fully covered. If you wish to leave your pup in a kennel when you go away, you’ll also need to show proof of your dog vaccinations. The same applies when taking your dog to a doggy day care as they don’t want to put other dogs at risk.

When should I get my dog vaccinated?

Vaccinating a puppy

Puppy injections are usually given to dogs when they are between six and eight weeks old, although some can be vaccinated as early as four weeks. They will then require the second dose two to four weeks later. Your vet will advise on the most suitable options and timings depending on their breed.

It’s important to follow the instructions your vet gives you closely with your pup. They are not allowed to mix with other dogs or go on walks until they have had their full course of vaccinations and waited a few weeks for the immunity to kick in.

Vaccines for dogs aged 1+

After their first vaccines, your dog will need regular boosters to make sure their immunity is topped up each year and they are fully protected against diseases. If your dog’s vaccines are overdue, they may need to restart their course. If you’re unsure about whether your pooch is due a vaccine, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet.

It’s important to note that different vaccines last for different lengths of time. Still, your pup will need a booster vaccine at least once a year, and they should have an annual check-up as part of their general healthcare.

What happens at a vaccination appointment?

At a dog vaccination appointment, your pup will be weighed and undergo a thorough medical exam. This is when your vet will ask you questions about your dog’s behaviour, their diet, and their general health.

Your vet will then give them the vaccination injections. The type of vaccine will depend on the vaccine schedule. Vaccinations are typically injected under the skin at the back of the neck.

The infectious tracheobronchitis (or kennel cough) vaccine is the only non-injectable vaccine. Instead, this is a liquid which is squirted up the nose.

How much are dog vaccinations?

The cost of dog vaccinations in the UK can vary depending on the type of vaccine, when it is given and where you live. A dog booster vaccine can cost around £50 on average (correct as of June 2023). But this is far less than treatment for the diseases they help to prevent.

How much are puppy vaccinations?

Puppy vaccinations in the UK can cost slightly more than boosters. On average, you can expect to pay around £50 to £75 for a puppy jab (correct as of June 2023). Again, these vary depending on what vaccines are recommended and where you live.

Rules around walking a dog after second vaccination

You can begin walking your canine friend in public spaces around two weeks after their second injection. This is when their immune response kicks in, reducing the chances of them picking up any of the disease they’ve been vaccinated against.

During those two weeks, it’s worth keeping your dog indoors and protected in your home. This will prevent them from coming into contact with any nasty viruses that a puppy’s immune system won’t be able to fight. Once this time is up they’re free to mix with other dogs.

What do vaccinations protect against? 

Dog vaccinations can help to protect your pup against the following diseases:

Canine distemper

Distemper virus can be spread through direct contact with fresh urine, saliva or blood, as well as coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing and mucus discharge from the eyes and nose. Distemper can be fatal, and dogs that survive can suffer long-term neurological and mobility issues.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that tends to affect puppies up to six months old. It can affect other canines who are not up to date on their dog vaccinations, and humans can pass it between dogs too. Passed on through direct contact with infected faeces, symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and severe dehydration.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is a respiratory infection caused by several bacteria and viruses. This airborne virus can be transmitted by sharing toys or bowls. The main symptom is a hacking cough, which can also sound like retching. While the infection may go away on its own, many canines require prescription medication to recover. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia.


Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria where dogs become infected through direct contact with urine or contaminated water. Symptoms often start four to 12 days after exposure to the bacteria. Watch out for muscle pain, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, jaundice and lethargy. 

Canine Parainfluenza (CPIV)

Canine Parainfluenza is a viral infection that affects the lungs. It’s one of the most common contributing causes of kennel cough. Similar to canine influenza, symptoms of CPIV include nasal discharge, fever, persistent cough, sneezing and loss of appetite. 


Does pet insurance cover dog vaccinations?

Pet insurance doesn’t cover dog vaccinations, neutering, any grooming needs or pregnancies. But, Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc, cover can provide financial protection when your furry friend needs it most. That means you’ll get 24/7 vet assistance and cover for certain types of treatment when you take out dog insurance with us.

Get a quote today.

Frequently asked questions

Is it illegal not to vaccinate your dog in the UK?

No, dog vaccinations in the UK are not a legal requirement. However, it is recommended to keep your dog safe and healthy. The rabies vaccine for dogs is the only legal requirement if your pup is travelling in and out of the UK.

Does my dog need annual vaccinations?

Yes, annual vaccinations are necessary throughout your pup’s life. The yearly booster vaccine helps to maintain their immunity from harmful diseases. That’s why it’s useful to schedule a vaccination appointment for your dog every year.

What vaccinations do dogs need?

The annual vaccines for dogs include:

  • Kennel cough and leptospirosis boosters every year
  • Canine hepatitis, parvovirus and distemper boosters every three years

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