How Much Do Dog Vaccinations Cost?

Dog Vaccinations Cost Squares

Most pet care stores and companies acknowledge that most pet owners opt for a complete set of canine vaccines to ensure full protection of their dogs from different diseases.

Before vaccinating, the veterinarian will do a physical examination to make sure your dog is healthy enough to handle the vaccines. This costs anywhere from $30 to $60, while the basic vaccinations cost between $20 and $70.

If the dog is only a puppy or is overdue on vaccines, boosters will be required. These cost between $15 and $40 in four weeks, plus another exam fee.

Additional vaccine recommendations are based on region and your dog’s lifestyle which would cost around $50 to $120 each year.

Altogether, a routine annual vaccine visit to the vet costs between $100 and $400. Most annual visits would fall into the $150 to $300 range. This price includes not only vaccines but other preventatives too.

Some of the vaccines are highly recommended and some are optional. Each vaccine has a different administration protocol. We have listed down the different dog diseases that can be prevented through vaccinations.

Vaccines can be found in discounted packages at high-volume pop-up clinics. These clinics can offer significant savings on wellness care. However, you won’t have a regular veterinarian who knows your pet. This can make it difficult to find a veterinarian when your dog gets sick.

For example, VIP Pet Care, a high-volume discount clinic, offers canine care packages based on the age of your dog. Its package program consists of 5-in-1 vaccines for DHPP, roundworm/hookworm dewormer, fecal test, and rabies.

You may wonder how much are puppies’ first shots. The first package is priced at $60 and is done when the puppy reaches 8 weeks old. The second and third packages cost $69 each and administered at 12 and 16 weeks old, respectively.

Booster packages for adult dogs are around $75 and must be given every 1-3 years to ensure continuous immunity. To complete the full set of initial shots, you must be ready to shell out around $190 to $200, then $75 every 1-3 years.

Discount clinics don’t usually require you use vaccine packages. If you want to personalize and handpick the vaccines you will be getting for your dog, you can take a look at such services like the ones offered by Healthy Pets USA.

Its dog vaccination price for Rabies is as cheap as $12; the lowest price among all the vaccines it offers. DHPP and Bordetella vaccines both cost $18 each.

To be extra cautious, you can opt for DHPPL (DHPP with Leptospira vaccine) for $25. The most expensive vaccine it offers is the one against Parainfluenza virus – priced at $46.

However, opting for its package that gives you all of these vaccines will give you a $5 discount for $96 all-in. The complete set of vaccine dosages from the first shots until the third ones will cost you roughly $290.

Below are some of the costs shared by a few pet owners on different internet forums:

  • Texas Coalition of Animal Protection which is funded by donations and operates through the effort of volunteer veterinarians offers a package that includes 3 rounds of vaccines including microchip for only $85. Its puppy package includes 3 round of vaccines, microchip, and spay or neuter for $135.
  • Initial vet visit that costs $97 which includes heartworm test, deworming, and initial distemper vaccine. The boosters will be given in 2 additional visits; each with vet fee and rabies shot to be given at 16 weeks for a total of over $350.
  • $110 for 2 distemper shots and 1 for rabies ($38 each with no vet visit charges)
  • $280 for puppy package that includes 3 rounds of vaccines, 2 examinations, deworming, flea control drops, 2 fecal exams, and 10% discount for spaying/neutering and microchipping.

How to Save on Vaccination Costs?

Immunity against possibly deadly diseases is what pet owners are after. But how can you tell whether your dog needs it or not?

To ascertain this, a titer test can offer an estimation. This test measures your pet’s antibodies through blood testing. The number of antibodies can only approximate if your dog has immunity. Unfortunately, titer tests cannot be used for every disease vaccinated for.

The cost of this test depends on what type of illness is being checked, the type of titer test used, the location, and the facility conducting the test but typically costs around $20 to $120.

A lot of new pet parents nowadays opt for adopting dogs from shelters or rescue groups. Aside from saving on the cost of the pet itself, as previously mentioned, most of these dogs have already been given their initial shots which means one less expense to think about in caring for a dog.

Some pet owners also resort to subscribing to Wellness or Care Plans such as Banfield Wellness plan which costs around $42 to $50 per month that covers all vaccinations, wellness examinations, flea and heartworm prevention, spay or neuter.

If all seem not feasible to you, you may just try purchasing the vaccines online or at a feed supply store and administer them to your dog yourself (just be sure to know how). This way, you can save a lot on vet fees. However, you must be careful that the vaccines have been properly stored by the retailer. If vaccines get too warm, they will not be effective.

Dog Vaccinations Cost
How Much Do Dog Vaccinations Cost? 3

Diseases Being Addressed by Core Vaccines

  • Canine Distemper

This is a viral disease that is transmitted through airborne exposure and through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva. It is considered as a serious disease and having your dog vaccinated for this is highly recommended.

It is usually administered together with Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus in one shot (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus or DHPP). These are deadly diseases, typically requiring hospitalization to get any chance at survival.

Unvaccinated dogs should not only avoid other dogs, but any areas that infected dogs may have been in the last year. This vaccine costs roughly $10 to $40 per single dose, plus the exam cost.

If puppies receive distemper vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks old, they will have protection for one year.

If the next shot is given within 10-12 months, this protection will last three years. Adult dogs who are overdue for vaccines will need a booster shot four weeks after their vaccine.

These vaccines are often sold in farm stores in single doses for about $10 to $15. Distemper vaccines sold online from reputable companies are sold in packs of 25 and cost at least $80 and many dog breeders buy their vaccines this way.

  • Canine Hepatitis

As the term implies, canine hepatitis is the inflammation of the dog’s liver, just like hepatitis in humans. However, this disease also concerns other parts of the dog’s body including the kidneys, heart, spleen, eyes, and the lungs.

This may not impose serious threats to the lives of our dogs but if left untreated, it can cause some severe impairment which can potentially be fatal. It is usually included in the DHPP vaccine.

  • Parvovirus

Parvovirus is one of the most deadly diseases our dogs can acquire. In the US, this virus kills thousands of pets each year.

This is especially contagious to puppies and unvaccinated dogs. The virus lasts in the environment for over a year.

It can kill in about 48-72 hours after exposure, especially if no treatment has been made.

Getting your dog vaccinated for parvovirus is highly recommended as it is preventable. Luckily, if you’re having your pet vaccinated for DHPP, it already includes protection from this deadly virus.

  • Canine Parainfluenza

His disease causes a persistent and painful cough. It is highly contagious. This disease isn’t life-threatening. However, this makes our dogs very uncomfortable and you wouldn’t want that. This is also given as a part of the DHPP vaccine.

  • Rabies

The law legally requires rabies vaccination. This is due to the fact that it is potentially fatal to both dogs and humans. In fact, it is required when getting your dog licensed. For a rabies vaccine to be considered legal, a veterinarian must administer it.

Rabies infects the brain and spreads through saliva. Based on studies, approximately 59,000 people are dying every year due to Rabies transmitted by dogs.

Once a person develops its symptoms, there is no turning back. The only way to prevent rabies is through vaccinations.

The first dosage of its vaccine is given at ages 12-24 weeks. The second can be administered when the dog is around one year old. The subsequent booster shots are given every one to three years.

The human version of the vaccine can also be given to people who get bitten by dogs in order to prevent the development of the disease.

Many areas, especially those with a high risk, have free or low-cost rabies clinics for dogs and cats. Veterinarians volunteer their time to make sure animals and people in their community receive this protection.

The total cost of a rabies vaccine from these clinics is $0 to $20. Most dogs adopted from the animal shelter have already vaccinated for rabies.

The easiest way to get a rabies vaccine is by making an appointment at a regular veterinary clinic. This should cost between $5 and $30, plus the exam cost.

This vaccine will last for one-year the first time it is administered. If the next vaccine is given on time, it will be effective for three years.

Some laws still require dogs to be vaccinated for rabies annually. Talk to your veterinarian about your local requirements.

Diseases Being Addressed by Core Vaccines

  • Lyme Disease

Among all the diseases that are mentioned in this article, only Lyme disease is acquired through insect transmission. This disease is bacterial in nature and is tick-borne. It causes kidney failure and arthritis in dogs. Eliminating fleas and ticks from your dogs can prevent it.

Lyme disease is common in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions of the United States. If living in these areas or any places with Lyme, it is typically recommended for your dog to receive the vaccination.  A single dose of this vaccination costs $30 to $50.

However, the best protection is high-quality and year-round flea and tick prevention. Depending on the product used this can cost $60 to $250 annually. Low-cost flea collars are not effective in preventing Lyme disease. Low-cost flea collar brands such as Hartz and Sergeants can even cause life-threatening reactions.

Your veterinarian may also require or recommend a Lyme test before vaccination. This ensures that the vaccine manufacturer will guarantee the effectiveness of the vaccine.

A Lyme test often includes a heartworm test and costs $25 to $50. The first Lyme vaccine your dog receives needs a booster in 4 weeks. After that, the vaccine would be annual.

The Lyme vaccine is region-specific and more expensive than most other vaccines. For these reasons, farms stores do not usually carry it. Packs of 25 can be found online, but are over $300.

  • Leptospirosis

In most of the United States, leptospirosis vaccines are recommended for dogs. This is a deadly disease spread by water contaminated with rodent urine. It quickly causes kidney failure and there is no cure.

In areas with high prevalence, all dogs should be vaccinated. Also, in all areas, dogs that are at higher risk of exposure through hunting or hiking should be vaccinated.

This vaccine costs $15 to $40 for a single dose. The Distemper and Leptospirosis vaccines can also be offered in one injection. This is referred to as the DHPP-L4 vaccine.

The combined vaccine is usually only a few dollars more than the distemper vaccine alone.

If being vaccinated for Leptospirosis for the first time, the initial shot requires a booster in four weeks. From that point forward, the vaccine is annual.

Leptospirosis shots are sold in farm stores in combination with Distemper. These combinations are roughly $10 to $20.

Vaccines can also be purchased in packs of 25 from reputable online retailers. This cost is over $100.

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Also known as Kennel cough, Bordetella is spread in enclosed spaces or by nose-to-nose contact with other dogs. The vaccine is administered either through the nose or mouth of your dog.

A single dose costs $15 to $40 and is effective for six to twelve months. If your veterinarian has seen your dog within the past year, an examination before giving this vaccine is usually not required.

Farm stores sell this vaccine for roughly $5 to $10. Bulk packs of 25 vaccines can be found online from reputable retailers for about $150.

  • Canine Influenza

Otherwise known as “dog flu”, Canine Influenza is a viral infection which is highly contagious. Influenza viruses are capable of quickly changing into new strains that can infect other animals and even humans.

Canine influenza can be passed on through coughing, sneezing or even barking. So it isn’t advisable for your dog to mingle with other dogs in kennels, daycares, pet salons, etc. if it’s not yet immunized.

Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of contracting dog flu and there are shots available specifically for the H3N8 which has been around since 2004 and the H3N2 which has only been around since about 2015. A bivalent vaccine is also available to prevent both as these can be deadly in dogs and should be taken very seriously.

Depending on your region, the flu vaccine may or may not be required by kennels and daycares. Canine flu is still relatively rare and dogs that travel for dog shows are at the highest risk.

The vaccine runs from $30 to $60 per dose. Higher prices are usually expected in low-risk areas since there’s less demand. In a high-risk area, the prices should be at the lower end of this range.

After 4 weeks, this vaccine will need a booster and the subsequent shots should be annual.

This vaccine is not typically sold in farm stores. Bulk purchases can be made online for 25 doses at over $300 in price.

  • Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake vaccines are controversial among veterinarians. They are proven safe but it is not clear how effective they are. If you live in an area where dogs often run into rattlesnakes, this vaccine may be recommended.

The vaccine is designed to protect against Western Diamondback Rattlesnake venom.  It is typically priced at $20 to $60.

The price varies based on how often the veterinary clinic gives this shot. Like most other vaccines, the initial dose requires a booster in four weeks.

From then on, the vaccine should be given annually before the start of rattlesnake season. Although legal to do so, it is extremely difficult to buy this vaccine online or from a farm store. Even with a vaccine, a rattlesnake bite is still an emergency.

  • Coronavirus

Coronavirus can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal problems to our dogs but luckily symptoms are generally mild.

Currently, there is no medicine available today that can cure the disease it causes. Unfortunately, the vaccine is not very effective and is currently not recommended by veterinarians.

Other Preventative Medicines and Vaccine

  • Heartworms and Ticks

As the name implies, heartworms are parasites that target the heart. These pathogens grow inside our dogs’ bodies and infiltrate major organs such as the heart, liver, and the kidneys, and they suck out nutrition – weakening the bodies of our beloved pets.

Dogs should be tested annually for heartworm disease and tick-borne diseases. Veterinarians typically require a heartworm test before refilling heartworm preventative medications.

The heartworm test costs $10 to $50 but could cost around a minimum of $30 if it is combined with tests for tick-borne diseases.

Giving heartworm preventative is dangerous if dogs are already infected. There is always a small chance that dogs will still test positive even if they are already being treated.

Prevention of heartworm is important. Heartworm treatment is extremely expensive and dangerous. 3M Melarsomine IM injections cost around $340 to $860depending on your dog’s weight.

Cheaper alternatives would be other heartworm preventative medications that range from $12 to $50 for a six-month supply. A six-month supply of flea and tick preventative costs $40 to $120. These costs vary based on the size of your dog and the brands of preventatives.

The drug manufacturers guarantee their product. They will reimburse treatment costs in very rare instances that the preventative fail.

A combination of heartworm and flea and tick prevention is also available. A six-month supply of these costs $50 to $150. This primarily depends on brands and your dog’s size.

Important Reminders

Retail purchased vaccines are often not kept cold enough throughout the shipping and stocking process. This means that these may not be as effective so be careful where to source them.

As mentioned, most dogs adopted from the animal shelter already had the initial shots and they will likely need boosters four weeks later.

A lot of people take pet vaccinations very lightly and most of the time this is at the expense of our beloved dogs. Yes, these shots can be costly, but hospitalization and treatment for these diseases are more costly.

However, if you make an effort and do research about this matter, then you can find a way to make ends meet.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Patty Khuly, VMD, MBA is a prolific pet health writer, occasional media personality, and a practicing veterinary clinician (for almost 23 years!).

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