The next time you take your dog to the vet, he or she might recommend giving your dog a flu shot. This shot is not part of the necessary annual requirements, but many vets do believe it is a good idea. If you are not sure what you should do, it might be important for you to know the following three things.
What Is The Flu Shot For?
The flu shot is designed to prevent dogs from getting a serious type of influenza, and the shot protects dogs against several different strains of the flu. These strains are considered highly contagious and dangerous for a dog to contract, and they can leave dogs with fevers, nasal congestion, and even pneumonia. While most dogs can survive if they contract the flu, there are times when it can be deadly.
A vet will administer the shots in a series of two doses, which are typically three weeks apart. The vaccination is designed to last for a year, so you would need to take your dog to the vet annually if you want it protected all the time.
Is It Effective?
Flu shots for dogs are effective for preventing dogs from getting the flu in some cases; however, many experts believe they are not really necessary for most dogs. Dog flu strains can only spread from dog to dog, not from or to humans. In other words, these shots may be great for dogs that get boarded or visit doggy daycares, but they might be unnecessary for dogs that never leave home.
It's also important to realize that this vaccination does not protect against all strains of dog flu; it only protects against the H3N2 and H3N8 strains. You should also realize that this vaccination might not completely prevent your dog from getting the flu, but it will typically reduce the symptoms of the flu if the dog contracts it.
Are There Side Effects?
Flu vaccinations are safe for the most part, but there are times when dogs can experience side effects. In most cases, it is small-breed dogs that will experience the most side effects. This may include fatigue, vomiting, respiratory issues, and diarrhea.
Flu vaccinations are not required for all dogs; however, your boarder may ask you to have your dog vaccinated before it stays again. To learn more about the flu vaccinations for dogs, contact your local vet to schedule an appointment.