How Often Does A Dog Need A Rabies Shot?

How often does a dog need a rabies shot? Well, one of the reasons that the frequency of rabies shots is a really sensitive issue is that rabies could be fatal.

Cheshire Animal
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

As a result of this, a concerned dog parent would want to know how long a rabies shot lasts in order to be sure that their dog is always protected.

Another reason for the sensitivity of this issue is that rabies is zoonotic. And what this means is that rabies can be contracted by humans from dogs. 

Bearing all these in mind, let us find out, how often you need to take your dog for their rabies shot.

About The Rabies Vaccine

Interestingly, there are different kinds of rabies vaccines. And while some of them are good for 1 year, some others are good for 3 years.

Typically, your dog will have to get their first rabies shot when they are between 3 and 6 months old. Then, they’ll have to go back when they are 1 year old for a renewal.

From then on, how often they go back will generally be dependent on the kind of rabies vaccine that has been administered to your dog.

Nonetheless, there is more to a revaccination than what kind of vaccine is used. 

However, before we go into that, do bear in mind that at the time of writing this article, there is still no cure for rabies.

A rabies vaccine does not cure rabies, it only helps your dog’s immune system be better prepared to fight off a rabies infection.

Factors That Can Determine How Often Your Dog Gets A Rabies Shot

We’ve already mentioned that the kind of rabies vaccine your dog gets could be a determinant.

However, it is interesting to note that it is not one of the major determining factors.

The primary reason is that it is actually pretty difficult to determine how long a rabies shot is good for. So, these other factors are more often used as a check:

Cheshire Animal
Image by Carabo Spain from Pixabay

How Old Your Dog Is

Yup, your dog’s age is actually a pretty good determinant. We’ve already talked about your dog getting a rabies shot before and when they are one.

That said, as an adult, things begin to stabilize and your dog will probably only need to get a shot once a year or once every three (3) years.

As your dog gets older and into their senior years, they will most likely have to go in more frequently than that, say twice a year or yearly (if they were getting theirs once every three years).

However, if you adopted an adult stray, there is a significant possibility that said dog has never gotten a rabies shot before. 

As a result, they won’t have that option of a three-year wait. What this means is that your dog’s rabies shot history determines, to a significant extent, how often they need to go in to be revaccinated.

State Laws

Yup! Because of how sensitive rabies is (what with it being fatal, zoonotic and having no cure), states usually have laws that stipulate how often a dog needs to be vaccinated for rabies.

And interestingly, states are only concerned about rabies.

So, some states allow for dogs to go for up to 3 years before getting revaccinated while some others allow for only a 1 year interval, at the very least, regardless of the kind of rabies vaccination.

That said, knowing what the state laws concerning rabies vaccination is very important as it helps you and your vet figure out what kind of vaccination to swing for.

And of course, because this is a requirement by law, be careful to keep all the papers and records to be prepared for any eventuality.

Finally, all things being equal, your adult dog should be getting revaccinated once every year or once every three years. 

However, consulting with your veterinarian helps you decide what factors apply to your dog and, as a result, what the actual time frame for a revaccination will be.

Leave a Comment