Vaccinating Pets

Optimal vaccination can help keep your pet disease-free for life


Optimal vaccination is based on the premise that pets should receive only the vaccines required depending on their risk of exposure, and they should only be vaccinated at the frequency required to maintain immunity. Your veterinarian will recommend the vaccinations that your pet needs to be protected. They include two categories:

  • Core vaccinations: Essential vaccines for every pet for diseases resulting in death in puppies and kittens, and severe illness or death in adult pets.
  • Non-core vaccinations: Vaccinations determined by your pet’s lifestyle and prevalence of a disease in your immediate area and places you travel. Your veterinarian will recommend these vaccines based on the results of your pet’s annual wellness exam and data about certain diseases in your area.

Vaccinations are the cornerstone of preventive health and can protect your pet for life from vaccine-preventable, infectious diseases that can result in your pet's illnesses or death.

Top two reasons to vaccinate


Protect your pet

Cat and dog diseases still exist and can infect any pet not protected. You never know when or where your pet can become exposed. Vaccination is the best way to stimulate the immune system to stop diseases when exposed, and for the vast majority of pets, the benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the risks.


Protect pets around us

A successful vaccination program, like a successful society, depends on the cooperation of every individual. For example, if we ignored traffic safety precautions such as stop signs or stoplights, we would have to depend on other drivers to watch out for us. In the same way, we should not rely on other pet owners to provide the proper vaccinations to their pets so that our pet has less opportunity to get a disease.


"I worked as an animal control officer at the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter (California) at the time of the big earthquake there, and I will tell you a lot of pets came into that shelter whose owners never expected them to be outside of their living room. And so that's another reminder of why it's important for every pet, even indoor pets, to always have identification and always be protected by vaccination against the most important diseases."


Margaret Casal, DVM urges pet owners to talk to their veterinarians about which vaccines their pets need.