Vaccination is an important part of keeping your pet protected against preventable diseases that may otherwise be deadly without protection gained via vaccination. Not only is vaccination a prudent part of your animal's medical care, vaccination may be required by law. In California, state law requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies. Ultimately the recommendation of your dog's veterinarian balanced with legal requirements should drive your vaccination schedule.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), an organization that accredits companion and veterinary hospitals, recommends the following core vaccinations with additional non-core vaccines recommended based on lifestyle or other specific needs of your dog.
- +/- Parainfluenza
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) echoes AAHA's recommendations with the exception of parainfluenza as a core vaccine.
California State Requirements
The State of California requires that dogs over four months of age in California be vaccinated for rabies. California regulations require dogs be vaccinated with a vaccine licensed by USDA and labeled with a three-year duration of immunity. Your dog's first rabies vaccination is good for one year and subsequent vaccinations are good for three years.
Rabies is rare but almost always fatal if not treated prior to the start of symptoms so vaccination to prevent the virus from infecting an exposed individual is very important. In California, strains of rabies virus are adapted to and maintained in skunks and several species of bats. The prevailing route by which dogs or other animals contract rabies is via contact with rabid wildlife.
Rabies Vaccine Requirement Exemption
If your dog is seriously ill, a rabies exemption may be obtained at the recommendation of your vet. Learn more about AVMA's policy on rabies vaccination waivers here and reach out to your local County licensing contact regarding how to apply for a waiver.
Local Rabies Requirements
- San Diego County
- Los Angeles County
- Orange County
- Riverside County
- San Bernardino County
- Imperial County
- Ventura County
Your vet should be your first resource for vaccination but if you are having trouble affording the cost of your veterinarian's services, there are many resources available to assist. The Humane Society has a great listing of resources by breed, location and more.