What Puppy Vaccinations Are Legally Required?

By Cindy Quarters

Vaccinations are for your dog’s protection; they protect against diseases such as distemper, parvovirus and influenza. But no law says a dog must have these vaccinations. A rabies shot is different. Your dog can pass this disease to humans if he gets it, so laws requiring rabies shots are common.

Rabies

According to the Centers for Disease Control, all but 12 states require your dog to have a rabies shot between the ages of 4 months and 7 months old, whether he goes out in public or not. Municipalities that license dogs typically require proof of a rabies vaccination before you can get a license. If your dog bites someone, you will need a current rabies certificate as proof of vaccination no matter where you live.

Other Diseases

While no legal requirement exists for pets to be vaccinated for any diseases beyond rabies, it is in your pet’s best interest that he gets these shots, especially if he goes out in public. The shots protect him, since vaccinated dogs are unlikely to contract or spread these diseases. If you want to board your dog, you may be required to prove he’s had his basic vaccinations by showing a certificate of vaccination from your veterinarian.

By Cindy Quarters

---

References
ASPCA: Vaccinations
The Official Site of the State of New Jersey: Dog Licensing
City of Alamo Heights: Animal Bite Procedures
Centers for Disease Control: Rabies Vaccination Laws, by State

About the Author
A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.