How Often Does a Dog Need a Rabies Shot?

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    Changed Requirements

    • In the past, a dog was required to receive a rabies shot annually, regardless of the state where it lived. According to, the American Animal Hospital Association gave the recommendation that all core vaccines, including rabies, be given every three years. Rabies vaccinations may be effective for three or more years.

    One-Year vs. Three-Year Intervals

    • According to veterinarian Dawn Reuben, most states require a canine rabies vaccination to be given when the dog is between 24 and 26 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot one year later. After this booster shot, some states permit a three-year interval before another rabies vaccination is required. Other states still require annual vaccinations. Your veterinarian can tell you the current vaccination requirements.

    Vaccination Reactions

    • The change in vaccination procedures was due, in part, to the adverse reactions that some dogs experienced from vaccination. There was also some concern about possible over-vaccination taking place. A dog that experiences adverse reactions may be able to have its annual vaccination waived if a blood test indicates that it is protected from rabies; in this circumstance, discuss vaccine options with your dog's veterinarian.

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