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Basic costs of vaccination
Optional vaccination fees
Low cost vaccination clinics
Additional Veterinary Service Fee
You are thrilled with your new puppy and naturally want to keep him healthy for life. You probably also have an idea of the overall costs of owning a dog, but one of the main things to consider is the cost of your dog’s vaccinations and annual vet checkups.
Typically, the highest costs you will incur for dog vaccinations are in the first year, during which you could pay anywhere from $100 to over $200. After that, individual boosters will cost approximately the same but could be given at a different cadence, depending on your dog’s needs. Let’s see what you can expect to pay.
How much do dog vaccines cost?
Be sure to follow the series of vaccinations established by your veterinarian, a process that begins when your puppy is around 6 to 8 weeks old. Some vaccines are given only once at this time, but many have follow-up applications before 16 weeks of age.
Bonnie Bragdon, DVM, MS, is co-founder and president of the Association of Independent Veterinary Practitioners. She recommends three basic vaccinations, usually given in stages as part of a puppy’s vaccination schedule:
The DA2PP or DHPP series, also known as the “5-in-1 vaccine”, protects against many highly contagious and often deadly viruses, including canine adenovirus types 1 and 2, distemper, parainfluenza and parvovirus.
Leptospirosis is an infection caused by bacteria commonly found in water and soil. Technically, it’s a nonessential vaccine, but leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it’s easily transmitted between animals and humans. “As such, I consider it a core vaccine and recommend it every year,” Bragdon says. Untreated, leptospirosis causes permanent damage to the kidneys and liver.
Rabies, another zoonotic disease, is considered the deadliest infectious disease in the world. Without prevention, rabies is almost always fatal.
Bragdon adds that some dogs might also require the lyme vaccine as a precaution, even though it’s technically a nonessential vaccine. Your veterinarian may advise it for hiking or hunting dogs, farm or herding dogs, or those who live in high-risk tick-endemic areas, such as the northeastern United States, Minnesota and Wisconsin. “Protection against ticks is just as important as vaccination to protect against the disease,” she adds.
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Summary of Dog Vaccination Costs
For your dog’s first year vaccinations, you can expect to pay a low average of $115, a medium average of $170, and a high average of $230. The eventual cost depends on the dog, where you live, and the injections he needs. (You can adopt a puppy after it receives its first round of vaccines, for example.)
On average, here is what each of your dog’s vaccines cost in the first year:
DHPP: $20 to $60
(and again for follow-up requests in the first year)
Leptospirosis: $20 to $30
(and again for follow-up requests in the first year)
Rabies (one year): $20 to $30
Lyme: $20 to $40
(if recommended, and follow-up requests during the first year)
Apart from injections, you can also expect to pay between $30 and $50 for your dog’s initial exam.
As part of your pup’s vaccination schedule, there will also be boosters – which cost about the same as the initial shots – for DHPP, Leptospirosis and Lyme by the time they are 16 weeks old. Usually, a healthy puppy won’t need another exam during recall visits, says Jenna Stregowski, health and behavior editor of RVT and Daily Paws.
Dogs will have their first annual exam as an adult dog one year after their 16-week exam, and that may include updates to their baseline vaccines, Stregowski says.
While some vaccines follow a three-year schedule, others have annual boosters based on your veterinarian’s recommendations or state law. For example, some states allow a rabies vaccine every three years, while others require it once a year. A booster shot for a rabies vaccine costs between $35 and $50.
Optional Dog Vaccination Costs
Similar to Lyme disease prevention, there are additional programs your veterinarian might recommend based on your activities and environment.
“Lifestyle plays a role in customizing preventative care plans. A hunting dog that travels is at risk for many canine diseases, parasitic infections, and other illnesses. For this animal, frequent and thorough vaccinations along with preventatives against parasites would be essential,” says Bragdon. “I choose to vaccinate my dogs that live outdoors every year rather than every three years because I fear increased exposure.”
Veterinarians often suggest these nonessential vaccinations:
Bordetella, also known as kennel cough, is a common respiratory infection that is highly contagious and can lead to pneumonia if left untreated. The vaccine is often given in stages or as a single injection with annual boosters. More social dogs, like those who can’t get enough of the dog park, are often better protected with this. Cost: $30 to $50 per treatment.
H3N2 and H3N8 flu, often referred to as “canine flu”, is another vaccine recommended for dogs that participate in competitions or sporting events, attend dog daycare, or board frequently. Similar to the human flu vaccine, this vaccine may not completely prevent your pet from getting canine flu, but it should ease symptoms and prevent the onset of pneumonia. Cost: $45 to $65 per treatment.
As you and your veterinarian develop a preventative care plan, be sure to clarify the cost of dog vaccinations when first carried out, as well as the cost and frequency of boosters. Overall, a veterinarian’s fees vary depending on their location and competitors’ costs, as well as your pup’s particular needs.
Are there low cost dog vaccines near me?
When you adopt a dog from a shelter or shelter, most have already received at least their first round of vaccinations. However, Stregowski says vets recommend scheduling a clinic visit the first week you have your new dog. This way you ensure that your puppy is always healthy and provide for the necessary reminders. Sometimes organizations may have a voucher for a free follow-up exam for pet owners at the veterinarian of their choice.
But sometimes budgetary constraints make it difficult to follow up. Bragdon suggests researching local municipal animal control departments and private nonprofit organizations to see what temporary assistance might be available. In special circumstances, such as with homeless people and their pets, many veterinary organizations come together a few times a year to offer free vaccinations and checkups. And often, local rescuers partner with veterinarians to provide community outreach services.
RELATED: The Best Pet Wellness Plans That Cover What Insurance Won’t Cover
Veterinary schools sometimes have free or low-cost vaccination clinics, and most veterinarians offer wellness payment plans and “lifetime vaccines” programs with prior registration. Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States provides an extensive list of resources that may help with the cost of dog vaccinations.
Bragdon says you can also save a bit on expense by asking your vet for longer shots — you’ll pay more up front, but the doses are less frequent. Regardless, Bragdon and Stregowski strongly recommend always scheduling an annual exam.
Is pet insurance useful?
It depends on the policy and you will really have to do the math. Pet insurance is certainly an option for emergency or surgical coverage, but unless the policy has a specific wellness plan, which might be available for a higher monthly premium, it is unlikely to cover vaccination costs. It might be easier to just set up a separate savings account for pet health expenses.
RELATED: Understanding the Cost of Pet Insurance
Cost of additional veterinary services
Of course, your puppy’s health isn’t just about vaccines. There are a host of other services you’ll want to consider from your pup’s first year and beyond.
During a puppy’s first or second exam, Stregowski says your vet will likely recommend flea and tick protection, heartworm testing, and a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms.
You can expect the approximate cost of additional services in the first year to be:
Heartworm test: $25 to $50
Fecal exam: $20 to $40
Flea and tick prevention: $40 to $200
Heartworm prevention: $25 to $120
Deworming: $25 to $130
The heartworm test and fecal exam will be a regular part of your dog’s vet visits throughout his life, Stregowski says. But vets will do more to make sure your dog stays healthy.
“It’s also important to note that some veterinarians recommend annual screening lab work even before animals reach old age,” she says. “These panels can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, with the higher range covering more comprehensive senior lab work.”