5 min read


Can Dogs Live Without Shots?



5 min read


Can Dogs Live Without Shots?


As humans, we often have shots to protect ourselves against certain health problems and risks, such as the tetanus shot. Well, our pets are also at risk of various problems and diseases, which is why experts recommend getting them inoculated. 

Huge numbers of dog owners take their pets to have their inoculations each year. However, given the cost and the short-term side effects that these shots can cause, some dog owners may wonder whether their dog can live without shots. Well, the answer is that your dog can live without shots but it will have an increased risk of conditions and diseases that could pose a serious risk.


Signs of Canine Health Issues

If you do not have your dog inoculated due to cost or concerns about the effects and risks of certain shots, you are not signing its death sentence. Dogs can live perfectly well without shots and it is the personal decision of the dog owner as to whether to get the dog inoculated or not. 

However, if you do decide not to have your dog inoculated you may be putting it at increased risk of contracting certain conditions that could, in effect, pose a risk to its life. Of course, it is not a foregone conclusion that your dog will contract one of these diseases or conditions, but failing to prevent it with shots does increase the chances.

If your dog has not been inoculated and picks up a disease that could otherwise have been prevented, it is important for it to receive veterinary attention. Remember, without shots, there will be no protection in place, so the sooner your dog is seen, the better. Signs of these conditions can vary as there are so many different ones. However, if your dog seems to be under the weather, tucking its tail, whining a lot for no reasons, is subdued, and loses energy or appetite, it is best to get it checked out. 

Your dog will also display various body language signs when it is feeling unwell as the result of a health issue. Given that shots can prevent a wide range of diseases and conditions, the symptoms and signs could differ dramatically. 

However, looking out for body language that is out of the ordinary can provide some clue as to how your dog is feeling. Many dogs will hide away when they are unwell while others will lay with their head on their paws, looking very subdued. Your dog may tuck its tail and have dropped ears when it is not feeling well. 

Body Language

A few clues that your pup doesn't feel so good include:

  • Weakness
  • Dropped Ears
  • Tail Tucking
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

<p>More signs to watch for if you think your dog has caught somthing are:</p>

  • Changes In Behavior
  • Acting Subdued Or Depressed
  • Lack Of Energy
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Hiding Away In Isolation
  • Trying To Get Your Attention

History Behind Canine Vaccines


Infectious diseases have affected humans and animals throughout history. However, over the centuries, researchers, scientists, and medics managed to come up with a solution to protect people and pets against certain diseases and conditions by administering medication that was designed to prevent certain health issues. With diseases that are highly infectious, it is important to have protection in place, particularly when you consider that some of these diseases can be very serious and even prove fatal.

If your dog is not given its shots, this is obviously your choice as the owner of the pet. However, you do need to remember that by failing to get your dog vaccinated, you do put it at a greater risk of health issues.

However, on the flipside, there are also risks associated with various shots, which is one of the things that worries many people. Over time, researchers and scientists have managed to develop a range of vaccines to prevent a variety of canine illnesses and conditions. While these shots can result in side effects and pose risks, they can also help to prevent many potentially serious conditions. 

Some vaccines post more risks than others, so some dog owners choose to have only selective shots based on the side effects. 

The Science of Canine Vaccines


The variety of vaccines that have been developed by experts over the years have been designed to protect dogs against a wide range of infectious and sometimes serious conditions. This includes health problems such as distemper, rabies, leptospirosis, canine influenza, Lyme disease, and kennel cough amongst others. 

These vaccines have been carefully researched over the years, but some can cause side-effects and pose alternative risks even though they may prevent certain health conditions. For dog owners, it is important to decide whether to risk the contraction of certain disease by not taking their dogs in to have their annual shots.  

As time goes on, many vets are now offering shots at varying intervals, instead of a "one-size-fits-all" annual administration. This form of administration could lead to fewer bad reactions from vaccinations.

Being Observant with an Unprotected Dog


If you are confused as to whether you should take your dog in for shots, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. You can also speak to the vet for further advice and to determine which shots are more important than others and which ones cause the more serious side-effects. 

Some people prefer not to even have their children vaccinated against certain diseases, so it is little wonder that many are also confused about whether or not they should arrange for their pooch to have its shots. This is down to the individual, but you need to ensure you are properly informed before you make your decision.

If you do not have your dog vaccinated, you need to pay special attention to any signs or symptoms that are out of the ordinary. If your dog goes out and about a lot, it will come into contact with other dogs as well as other creatures such as rats, insects, and more. Diseases can be easily transmitted via these means, and monitoring your dog’s behavior and body language are often the main means of determining whether there is a health problem. 

Sometimes, you may be able to determine what the issue is from the sign and symptoms whereas other times you may simply know that your dog is unwell but you are not sure what the problem is. Either way, given the increased risk of health issues due to not having its shots, it is worth getting your pooch checked over by the vet.

Another thing you can do is to speak to the vet about the different shots available for your dog and find out which ones pose the highest risk when it comes to side-effects. This will make it easier for your to be selective about the shots your dog receives, so it will at least have protection against some canine problems. 

Have questions or concerns about your pet?

Chat with a veterinary professional in the Wag! app 24/7.

Get Vet Chat

By a Boston Terrier lover Reno Charlton

Published: 05/16/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
Need to upgrade your pet's leash?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.