Optional Vaccinations for Dogs

vaccinations for dogs

Not all vaccinations for dogs are mandatory. Healthier dogs can usually skip certain optional vaccines, although it’s important to talk to your vet about this. Optional vaccines, also known as non-core vaccines, include Bordetella or kennel cough, parainfluenza, Lyme disease, leptospirosis and canine influenza. Your vet can let you know if your dog needs any of these vaccines based on certain risk factors, such as whether or not there’s an outbreak in your area.

Bordetella Vaccine

Bordetella vaccinations for dogs protect them from kennel cough, which usually doesn’t cause serious illness in most cases. However, it can make younger dogs seriously ill. Dogs can get either two doses of Bordetella injections or one dose of the intranasal vaccine. Dogs typically need an annual booster or six-month boosters if they spend time in environments that are considered high-risk on a regular basis, such as boarding kennels. In fact, many boarding kennels require dogs to have the Bordetella vaccine before they’re allowed to stay. This helps reduce the spread of illness in these environments.


Parainfluenza vaccinations for dogs protect them from illnesses that can cause a cough and fever. In some cases, these illnesses also occur with a Bordetella infection. Parainfluenza vaccines are usually given at six or eight weeks of age, then repeated every three to four weeks until dogs are 12 to 14 weeks old. Each vaccine only requires one dose at a time. Dogs might need a booster after one year and revaccinations every three years.

Lyme Disease

The Lyme disease vaccine reduces the risk of getting this infection from ticks. This vaccine is usually only given to dogs who have a high risk of being exposed to ticks that carry Lyme disease. Dogs can get this vaccine when they’re nine weeks old, then receive a second one two to four weeks later. Dogs who need Lyme disease vaccines might need to be revaccinated each year before tick season starts.


The leptospirosis vaccine protects dogs from this bacterial illness, which can cause fever, vomiting, lethargy and other symptoms. This vaccine is usually only given in high-risk areas, such as areas that are experiencing an outbreak. Dogs can catch this disease when they’re exposed to contaminated standing water or rodents that carry it. Dogs get two doses of this vaccine two to four weeks apart and generally need to be revaccinated once a year.

Canine Influenza

The canine influenza vaccine guards against this viral illness that affects the respiratory system. Although it’s not usually a serious infection, some dogs can develop pneumonia or other complications from it. Dogs might need this vaccine if there’s a canine influenza outbreak in the area or if you plan to board your dog. The first dose can be given as early as six to eight weeks of age, and the second dose is administered two to four weeks later. Dogs need to be revaccinated each year to protect against current strains.

Knowing which vaccinations for dogs are core ones and which ones are considered non-core can help you ensure that your dog receives all of the necessary vaccines for optimal health. If you’re unsure about your dog’s current vaccine status, your vet can let you know when or if these are needed. Whether you have a puppy who needs to undergo a series of vaccines or an adult dog who only needs boosters every few years, your pet will be protected from these viral and bacterial illnesses.

When you bring your dog to DoGonefun! rest assured that we require all common vaccinations, as well as those required by law in order to keep your dog health, safe and happy.