What You Need to Know About Vaccinating Your Pets

Time to read: 6 mins

Vaccinations are used protect your pet’s immune system to fight infection and diseases they will come into contact with. Vaccines not only increase immunity, but they decrease the seriousness of diseases that could be life-threatening if not protected against. In doing so, they help to maintain your pet’s quality of life and extend their life expectancy.

Your dog is expected to be vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus for dogs and kennel cough. Cats need to be vaccinated against feline infections such as enteritis, feline leukaemia and cat flu. Your vet might suggest further vaccinations for your pet as they get older.

The advantages of vaccinations

  • Prevent illness
  • Avoid expensive treatments for diseases which can be avoided
  • Prevent life threatening diseases and avoid death
  • Prevent diseases passed from pet to pet and from pet to human
  • Many activities like dog yoga, puppy training classes or boarding kennels and catteries require your pet to be vaccinated before they can accommodate them
  • Give you peace of mind when your pet is out and about

The disadvantages of vaccinations

Most pets respond well to vaccines and any reactions are usually neither serious nor long lasting.

Some side effects include:

  • Swelling to the area
  • Temperature
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

While these symptoms in themselves are not life threatening. If your pet has any side effects lasting longer than 3-5 days, you must contact your vet. If you’re unsure about the side effects from vaccinations, you can contact our Careline to speak to qualified vet nurses who can share their advice.

Vaccinations for Puppies and Kittens

Puppies and kittens are a lot more susceptible to diseases. This is largely due to their immune systems not being fully developed yet. Your vet will know the best vaccine schedule for your pet to follow. The schedule will be based on your lifestyle, location and a number of other aspects.

Puppies and kittens can be vaccinated from 8 weeks old, after which vaccines should be administered every year. This is to ensure they have full protection and are therefore less vulnerable. Although it is important to allow your pets to socialise from a young age they should not do so until they have been vaccinated. If you have the intention to travel abroad with your pets they are going to need to be fully vaccinated a couple of months before leaving.

Older cats and dogs can also be vaccinated if they did not receive their shots when they were younger. As your pet gets older your vet may suggest more frequent vaccinations. This is because their immune system deteriorates with age.


These are ongoing vaccinations to keep your pet protected. They need to be administered once a year after the initial course of vaccinations. It is very important to keep on track of these to make sure your pet is always protected.

Vaccinations for Pet Insurance

Depending on your insurance provider your pet may not be covered if it is not vaccinated. Although you do not have to vaccinate your pet to get insurance with us, it is advised. If your pet has an illness that could be avoided if it is vaccinated, it will not be covered in your policy. In order for these illnesses to continue to be covered you must keep up to date with the vet recommended vaccinations, as recommended by your vet.

 Vaccinations are the most effective way you can protect your pet from illness and disease. Not all diseases can be protected through vaccinations so it may be worth considering a pet insurance policy as one way to add extra protection for your 4-legged friend

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