Asking the question, “does my pet need annual shots” when it comes to understanding cat and dog vaccines is common among pet owners. There’s been a lot of arguments against over-vaccination in pets, and while we understand there are risks with any vaccination, there are also risks to foregoing vaccinations that can cause far more issues for your cat or dog in the long run. So how do you know if your pet needs annual shots or not? We’re here to help.

Vaccinations in Dogs

Dogs tend to travel with us more than cats, and as a result are more likely to be exposed to other dogs and have a potential risk of infectious disease and issues. Proper vaccinations can help protect your dog from these risks and keep them safe regardless of where you do or don’t go with your pup. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Experts agree that widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve your pet’s overall quality of life.” 

It is important to speak with your veterinarian to understand what annual shots you pet needs and why. There’s a few that are must-haves, including the rabies vaccination, which is required by law in most states. In addition, some core vaccines are always good to keep current to protect your pet. And if your dog is ever boarded or travels with you, bordatella is always a good idea. Finally, in areas that are high risk for Lyme Disease, the new Vanguard Lyme vaccine can help protect your dog!

Vaccinations in Cats

While our feline friends tend not to travel with us as much as their canine counterparts, it’s still important that they have the proper vaccinations to be protected and live a long, healthy life. Even indoor only cats should have their core vaccinations to make sure they are protected.

Similar to puppies, kitten need an initial series of vaccinations in order to achieve the full protection and then once that is complete they can move to annual vaccinations. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend longer than just one year between vaccinations as you pet’s immunity builds over time but this is something you should always discuss with your veterinarian first. In addition, it’s important to still make sure you have semi-annual to annual checkups even if your pet is not due for vaccines, as cats are especially known for hiding symptoms of illness or injury that can often go unnoticed without the help of your vet.

Again, like dogs, cats are required to be vaccinated for rabies. There are also other vaccines such as the distemper and combo vaccinations that can help keep your cat protected. Not sure what you need? Our friends at the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection created this great chart for both dogs and cats that makes it easy to remember what your pet needs and when! But bear in mind the official complete list of recommended vaccinations is provided by the AAHAThat is why it is so important to speak with your veterinarian to find out what makes the most sense for you and your pets in your specific area. 

does my pet need annual shots


Of course it’s always best to talk to your veterinarian about your specific pet to determine their needs. You can also read more in the article about pet vaccines at and don’t forget to schedule your appointment to get your pet’s shots current today!