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The Importance Of Vaccinating Your Dog

We all know how crucial vaccinations can be to our family’s health, and yes, it does include the vaccinations of our furry friends! But why exactly are vaccinations so important to animal health? Well, vaccinations help to create a defensive level of antibodies, which builds up their immunity against diseases. While your dog can still contract diseases or get ill after being vaccinated, vaccinations can help your dog to resist illness and recover much quicker compared to if they didn’t get vaccinated at all. And what happens if your dog isn’t vaccinated? In most cases where animals aren’t vaccinated, the disease can be fatal, or even if they do recover, they’ll most likely be left with long-term health issues that can easily be prevented with vaccinations.

Why Vaccinate Your Pet?

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Vaccinations are incredibly important to a pet’s health (and your wallet!), and it protects both the pet and the owner from contracting serious diseases. Learning about why we should always vaccinate our pet can help prevent problems in the future, which helps both the pet and the owner in the long run. 

The age-old question of “should I vaccinate my pet?” has always had a clear answer: yes. But if you aren’t quite convinced, here are just five reasons why we should always vaccinate our pets.

  • Vaccinations prevent serious diseases

Probably the most important reason why vaccination is so important to animal health is that vaccinations keep animals healthy, plain and simple. Vaccinations can tremendously reduce the chances of your pet contracting an illness, or simply completely eliminate the chances of contracting it. 

When puppies are born, some immunity is passed on from their mother through colostrum. However, a puppy’s immune system will not have yet been fully formed and developed, which is why you should begin the vaccination cycle when your dogs are very young. This is because the younger the animal, the more at risk it is for serious diseases. The best way to ensure that your pets have a long and healthy life is to vaccinate them in order to protect them against common diseases.

  • It keeps other animals safe

Did you know that many pet hotels, pet grooming centres, and pet boarding facilities won’t allow entry for pets if they aren’t vaccinated? This is because unvaccinated animals can very easily spread diseases to other animals – as well as other people.

So if your dog is a social butterfly who loves going up to other dogs at the dog park or is friendly towards humans, it’s best to vaccinate them to protect everybody.

  • It keeps YOU safe

Speaking of spreading diseases, animals can carry diseases that can be spread to humans, like rabies or leptospirosis. It’s especially important to vaccinate your pets if they’re constantly around young children or people with weakened immune systems.

  • It’s an investment that’s guaranteed to pay off

Vaccinating your pets at an early age can help prevent a multitude of diseases as they get older. Vaccinations may not be cheap, but it’ll cost next to nothing compared to if they get seriously sick from a disease that could have easily been prevented from a simple vaccination – think of the medication, the hospital stay, the treatment – you’ll definitely thank yourself in the long run.

  • It’s the law

Did you know that rabies has a 100% fatality rate after symptoms appear? Statistically, dogs are the largest carriers of the rabies disease worldwide, which is why it’s actually compulsory in Malaysia for owned dogs to be vaccinated against rabies.

Types of Vaccines for Dogs

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Vaccinations for puppies can begin as early as 6 weeks of age. On their 10th week, they’ll receive their second injection, and the third injection on their 14th week. After that, they only need to get the booster once a year.

Core Dog Vaccines

There are 4 core vaccines that are highly recommended for dogs, which are often given in a single injection, known as the DHPP vaccine. The DHPP vaccine fights against 4 major diseases:

  1. Distemper: A highly contagious and often fatal viral infection. This infection can affect the respiratory and nervous systems.
  2. Hepatitis: A viral infection of the liver which can lead to severe kidney damage.
  3. Parvovirus: A highly contagious and often fatal viral illness. Symptoms include severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea, which often leads to dehydration. This is especially common for young puppies.
  4. Parainfluenza: A highly contagious repository virus. Symptoms include coughing, loss of appetite, lack of energy, nasal discharge and fever.

Other Vaccinations for Dogs

It is mandatory in Malaysia to vaccinate your dog against rabies.

Some other vaccines that vets will often recommend are to fight against:

  1. Lyme Disease:  A bacterial disease which results from being bitten by an infected deer tick.  Lyme disease can cause permanent and painful disabilities, including kidney failure, lameness, in addition to prolonged joint and muscle pain.
  2. Leptospirosis:  A bacterial infection carried by many wild animals. It’s most commonly transmitted to dogs through contact with infected water, soil, mud or urine. This disease can cause liver and kidney disease, and can be fatal. It is also zoonotic, which means that it can be transmitted from other animals to humans.
  3. Bordetella: This bacteria causes inflammation in the respiratory tract. Dogs are especially at risk when exposed to other canines, such as in kennels, grooming facilities, training classes, day care and dog parks.
  4. Influenza:  A highly contagious respiratory infection. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. However, not all dogs will show symptoms. There are two known strains of canine influenza that have been reported.
  5. Corona Virus: A highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies. This infection will cause abdominal discomfort in affected dogs.

Risks and Benefits of Vaccinations

Like any other medical treatment, vaccinations are often associated with both its risks and benefits. For example, vaccines may cause an allergic reaction in your dog. In addition to that, vaccinated puppies don’t respond as well to treatment compared to unvaccinated puppies, and it’s entirely possible to over-vaccinate your dog, which is why it’s incredibly important to keep track of your dog’s health record. Apart from that, vaccinations also suppress the immune system for several days, which increases the puppy’s risk of developing disease in that time. 


A part of being a responsible pet parent is to do thorough research in order to be able to make informed decisions about your pet’s health. Although vaccines may pose some risk to your pet, the pros far outweigh the cons. Keep track of your pet’s health record, and vaccinate your pets to ensure that they live a long, healthy, and happy life with you.

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