==> Got a dog? Any dog? Then this is a MUST-READ PERIODICAL for you!

Crucially important, but also very controversial:

Dog Vaccinations and Puppy Vaccinations

scared dogWARNING: Are you sitting tight? Not at work?

This Periodical requires all your concentration, and more time than a coffee break. And it's certainly more exciting. Enjoy!




The goal with this Periodical is to give you the most up-to-date understanding of canine vaccinations.

Why? - Because the internet is littered with totally outdated information (much of which was never correct in the first place). Even many vets still practice on the basis of what was thought to be correct in the 1960s to 1980s. Only if your vet was trained in the last 10 years, (s)he will have learned of the most recent vaccination research from the start.

It is obvious that once students establish their vet practice (or indeed any other practice), most of them don't have the time (and some of them not the inclination) to update their perception of every subject matter - regardless of all CPD requirements (Continuous Professional Development).

Why are Vaccinations so Important?

Because: 1 → 2 → 3 → 4 → 5 → 6!

  1. Most dogs pass high grasses, bushes and trees (doh!), and they step onto other animals' excrement
  2. Most insects and parasites reside on, or close to, high grasses, bushes and trees, and most excrement lies on the ground (oh!)
  3. The insects and parasites sense the alkaline dog skin and are attracted to latch onto it, and pee and feces remnants just stick to the paws (oh dear!)
  4. The bites and stings of the insects and parasites, and the contaminated paws transmit pathogens that can cause diseases
  5. Some pathogens and diseases even transmit to people (dog owner and family, friends, neighbors)
  6. Vaccinations can help to prevent the outbreak or alleviate the impact of diseases

So, 1. leads all the way through to 6! That's why vaccinations are so important.

NOTE particularly the last point: Vaccinations do not prevent the bite or sting, and hence do not prevent the infection, they 'only' help the body to cope with it! - We will have to get back to this, because the widespread knowledge gap causes a good part of the controversy.

Why are Vaccinations so Controversial?

Because: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6!

  1. Only few people know what vaccines are - and what they are not
  2. Many people expect vaccinations to do what they are not even designed to do!
  3. Every vaccination poses many health risks, because it interferes with the immune system!
  4. No vaccination offers 100% protection
  5. Some vaccinations have severe long-term side effects!
  6. Vaccinations are a HUGE business (for some)

That's why vaccinations are so controversial!

NOTE particularly the first point. Let's squeeze that in right now.

Understanding Vaccinations Now!

What are Vaccinations?

In short? Practice makes perfect!

What?? Yes, think of it this way: The first time you, I, or anyone else are confronted with something new (first tricycle, first scooter, first bicycle, first car, new job, new environment, new friend!), we are unprepared, we don't know how to handle the new situation. Often, this leads to our initial attempts (of whatever kind!) being unsuccessful, not giving the results we seek. But the second time we are confronted with that situation, we react much quicker and we are more successful with our response too, right? The earlier practice prepared us to master the new situation.

verminSame with the body's immune system! This is where vaccinations come handy: Long before our body - or our dog's body - is confronted with a new pathogen ('germ'), the body is being exposed to that particular pathogen, to get some 'dry practice' how to handle it.

This is achieved by administering some inactivated (killed or weakened but live) antigens of the pathogen in question.

vaccination diagramFor efficacy, crucial is that the inactivated antigens must still have the same receptors ('looks') as the fully functional antigens of the pathogen. Now the body's immune system can mold matching antibodies and practice how to cope with the pathogen should it arrive naturally!

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

Crucial to understand is this:

The purpose of vaccinations is to help prepare the body's immune system to fight a potential future invasion of a particular carrier of a life-threatening or chronic disease!

Nothing else!


  1. A vaccination can always only help to prepare the body's immune system, ie the vaccination alone generally is not sufficient to fight off the disease! To increase your (dog's) chances dramatically, you must overall strengthen the body's immune system: with 1) a balanced diet of natural foods, 2) plenty of varied exercise, and 3) lots of rest and avoiding stress - and in case of us humans, 4) at least two daily toilet stops to prevent gastrointestinal intoxication of the blood stream (see the life-saving book of Dr Wes Jones: Cure Constipation Now).
  2. A vaccination makes only sense where there is a potential direct health threat! Whether likely or remote, this you have to decide for yourself and for your dog (more see later).
  3. Each vaccination is designed to help protect against a particular pathogen! No vaccination can help protect against all (or a wide array of) pathogens. This is why when pathogens mutate (to find a 'loophole' in the body's defense system), new antigens (vaccines) have to be developed - and why you shouldn't get an obsolete vaccine.
  4. Most importantly, vaccine inoculation makes only sense against a life-threatening or chronic disease!

This is because, despite strengthening the body's defense against a particular disease, every vaccination weakens the body's immune system overall:

  • The immune system molds a percentage of its antibodies (for a limited time a high percentage!) for the fight against the inoculated pathogen, and these antibodies are not available to fight off any other diseases
  • The immune system does not toughen up from being prepared for an acute attack, but from being unprepared (and succeeding nonetheless) - in other words, only the attack of a new pathogen stimulates the immune system to "better watch out" (or "watch out better")
  • The immune system's overall reaction time is reduced
  • Every antibody (like every cell) has a limited service capacity (that's why organisms die after some time)

In other words, it makes little to no sense:

1) to primarily rely on a vaccination

2) to vaccinate although in your or your dog's environment and lifestyle there is no or little chance to catch the particular disease

or 3) to vaccinate although the particular disease would be only transitory and it would not affect your family or other animals in your living environment (not be contagious).

We are well aware that the above does not match the statements still published in most information sources (incl. from governments and many medical sources - that even recommend blanket flu vaccinations!!), but you are probably also aware that most 'sources' prefer to simply copy what they found in other places, and that it takes most people a lifetime to adjust their views when appropriate (see further below "Vaccination Research Recent Results").

What aren't vaccinations?

For example, the popular flea and tick spot-on treatments, oral medications, sprays etc are not vaccinations. They do not (directly) impact on the immune system. We will discuss them in the next MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL.

Vaccination Side Effects

Dog vaccinations side effects in the order of commonness:

  • redness, soreness, swelling, or hair loss around the injection site
  • lethargy
  • lack of appetite
  • vomiting
  • chronic (persistent) immune-mediated disorders (in particular allergies, joint disorders like Arthritis, GI tract damage, reduced eyesight, kidney, renal, or liver damage, etc) * (R)
  • anaphylactic shock (after inoculation with killed vaccines and potent adjuvants) ** (R)
  • acute immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (after inoculation with killed vaccines and potent adjuvants) ** (R)
  • aggression
  • fever
  • discharge from nose, eyes, or ears
  • diarrhea
  • collapse (R)
  • swelling of face, throat, or paws
  • breathing difficulty (R)
  • seizures (R)
  • anaphylactic shock (after inoculation with live vaccines) ** (R)
  • acute immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (after inoculation with live vaccines) ** (R)
  • failed vaccination - disease outbreak *** (R)
  • death (R)


  • * Chronic immune-mediated disorders in particular are difficult to rank, as by their nature they often cannot easily be associated with a particular vaccination many years earlier; their position in the list above is deduced from the number of related complications that manifest as acute vaccination effects.
  • ** Acute immune-mediated hemolytic anemia and anaphylactic shock (which is always acute) are not as uncommon as official sources like to make you believe (to convince you to vaccinate!). Quite the contrary: Killed vaccines, all the more when combined with potent adjuvants, are often highly immunoreactive and then likely to cause allergic reactions!
  • This is because the antigens and adjuvants have to be given in a quantity large enough to cause an immunoreaction in 95% of vaccinated dogs for the vaccination to be statistically significant (reliable). Since killed antigens do not replicate in the dog's body (like live antigens do), in this case the quantity has to be measured generously.
  • It is very difficult for a vet to assess the likely immunoreaction right. Where the vet underestimates, the dog will have an acute allergic reaction! Where the vet overestimates, the dog may not be protected against the disease. Thus, with killed vaccines combined with potent adjuvants, certainly every vaccination is a gamble! You should avoid a vet who doesn't admit this.
  • *** Failed vaccinations are rare because vets are trained to rather err in underestimating the immunoreaction (think: else vaccinations wouldn't make sense in the first place!). For the same reason, of course allergic reactions post vaccination are more common than official sources want you to know.

Vaccination Risks

The vaccination side effects marked with (R) are vaccination risks. The other side effects typically are self-limiting and self-healing. Indeed, even vaccine-mediated dog aggression is transitory - unless of course the dog owner perpetuates the aggression through some harsh obedience training methods (rather than to develop the mindset and skill for behavior training the dog).

vaccine dropIn addition (particularly with the German Shepherd dog breed, and basically all non-brachycephalic breeds), avoid intranasal vaccinations. This is because, when the vet draws up the (live or killed!) antigens in the syringe, aerosolised particles of vaccine virus are dispensend into the air, and inhaling these can lead to additional respiratory vaccination complications.

Vets may sometimes opt for an intranasal vaccination over an injectable vaccination, eg because they slow down the immunoresponse (hence reduce the risk of allergic reaction). In such case the vaccine should never be drawn up in your dog's presence (or indeed in your presence).

Note that vaccination risks (and of course all side effects) can almost be eliminated if you visit a well-equipped vet practice or rather veterinary clinic that has the diagnostics (and time and skill!) to first measure the concentration of antibodies in the blood (titer) that would recognize the particular vaccine:

If there is ANY reaction at all to the antigen in question, your dog should NOT be vaccinated at this time! Conversely, such over-vaccination will lead to significant risks without any benefit whatsoever!

If only all useless vaccinations were prevented, this planet would be a much happier, healthier, and richer world.

The reason why such antibody blood tests (titers) are not routinely performed for every dog before every vaccination is that this seems like an additional cost (if the dog then has to be vaccinated). But it isn't an additional cost, it would save cost, because we now know that the vast majority of vaccinations are useless over-vaccination - hence harmful! Thus, in most cases the titer test would advise against another vaccination (booster).

And while in some nations, states, or local municipalities certain pet vaccinations are directly or indirectly subsidized, there is no subsidy for titer tests - thus no financial motivation for vets to undertake them!

Therefore, if YOU as the now informed dog owner don't dare to speak up at (and maybe against) your vet - or you are not willing to pay for the test rather than for the vaccination - then you expose YOUR DOG unnecessarily to significant health risks with the majority of vaccinations that you undertake, without getting any benefit whatsoever! And you contribute to the widespread over-vaccination that has already led to so many problems, eg:

  • vaccine resistance and drug resistance of an ever increasing number of pathogens!!
  • an alarming increase in immune-mediated disorders (like Arthritis, cancer, Allergies, Hypothyroidism, and gastrointestinal hypersensitivity - particularly with German Shepherds!
  • environmental intoxication from vaccine and drug overuse (food chain!)

In addition to the dog-individual health implications, the vaccination frenzy has of course affected all aspects of life with a dog, eg:

  • Dog owners have to comply with some national and local vaccination laws that medically make no sense at all
  • Dog owners who cannot prove regular boosters, often cannot leave their dog with boarding kennels
  • Likewise, these dog owners often cannot enrol their dog in (puppy or dog) training classes
  • Likewise, often these dog owners cannot register for dog competitions
  • Likewise, these dog owners are often excluded from getting insurance discounts for their dog
  • etc

Vaccination frenzy? Yes, or what do you want to call it when dogs, already at young puppy age, are subjected to a comprehensive cocktail of initially fortnightly and then yearly vaccinations? Most (but not all) of which medically offer no benefit at all, while resulting in a multitude of health problems and other problems, see above.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

I wrote medically no benefit, because financially the doctrine of yearly boosters and let's vaccinate for every disease we can get funding for of course has substantial benefits: for the pharma industry! And for the veterinarians - who then have to attend to the many health problems caused by over-vaccinating.

Vaccination Benefits

To summarize:

  1. Vaccinations can help to prevent the outbreak or alleviate the impact of chronic or life-threatening diseases!
  2. In addition to this health benefit, it is much cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat it
  3. A disease that is prevented through sensible vaccination cannot spread (to other dogs, your family, friends, neighbors, the public)

This last point refers to herd immunity - which is the prime reason for governments to advise the public (and to provide the tax-levied funding!!) to vaccinate even for individually unlikely diseases as well as for merely temporary indispositions - and then to undertake yearly boosters on top of it.

This is a frenzy. Or a game. Do you want to take part in that? Do you??

Vaccination Controversy

Did I start with the warning that this topic is highly controversial? Oh, I did, good! :-)

Now that we have clarified what vaccinations are, and which vaccination side effects, vaccination risks and vaccination benefits they bear, we can get briefly back to the vaccination controversy:

What are the extreme positions in the vaccination controversy?

  • Some (typically older, not up-to-date) veterinarians still believe that sufficient puppy immunization does not take place before 4.5 months of age, and thus this would be the earliest time for puppies to be safely taken outside to public places and to be socialized with people and other dogs.
  • Some dog breeders, owners, and (typically younger, recently trained) veterinarians know that the above view is unfounded, because many of them have successfully raised generations of dogs without any vaccinations at all, while letting the puppies explore public places and interact with other dogs from as early as 7 weeks of age.

Regarding the first group: As Ian Dunbar highlighted in his 2001 publication of After you get your puppy, the life-long behavior problems (and dog bite risks for the public!) as a lack of early socialization should get our priority - rather than the remote possibility for the puppy to catch a disease, particularly if it isn't even endemic in the dog owner's geography, or not even possible given the individual dog's living environment.

infection risk?The living environment of the majority of dogs is confined to observed on-leash walks, where it is very hard for a dog to catch a disease, even if it is prevalent in that geography. - Seen Paris Hilton, how she walks her dog?

It is a fact that very few dog owners dare to consider to unleash the dog (see Dogs Unleashed). Their obedience-training mindset (much less a local law) makes them keep their dog on a short leash all the time.

Regarding the second group: Raising a German Shepherd in the countryside is a bit different to say, carrying a Chihuahua on your arms through Paris or Hollywood. Being a herding breed, a GSD has to get the chance daily to roam freely, and so we may have to consider vaccinations that Paris wouldn't and shouldn't. The laws are the same regardless of breed, living environment and lifestyle (another sign how stupid it is to have laws on topics like vaccination!), but the dog's living environment and its lifestyle may make some vaccinations sensible that aren't even legally required.

For toy breeds I would certainly do nothing but what is legally required (and subject to certain conditions being met, I wouldn't even do that). In most countries this is only Rabies. Conversely for a GSD - depending on the prevalent diseases in your geography and your dog's lifestyle - you may also want to consider Distemper and/or Parvo (see the next chapter). If your local vet doesn't know if these are prevalent in your geography, then I would change the vet in a flash!

In any case, given the vaccination risks and vaccination side effects, again it is sensible to do only what seems absolutely necessary.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

Typical Dog Vaccinations Explained

If after studying this entire Periodical you feel that your local vet appears not up-to-date, it would be wise to consult another local vet (to get a second opinion). Nonetheless, it is helpful if you know of the typical basic immunization at average veterinarians yourself, so here it is.

In many geographies the typical basic immunization at average veterinarians is the multivalent vaccine DHLPPCv (see below). In addition, rabies vaccination typically is legally required and lyme vaccination should be considered where relevant.

Average veterinarians?

Yes, the average (mediocre) veterinarian* gives vaccine cocktails like DHLPPCv.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

* How to find a good veterinarian will be covered in a future Periodical

What is DHLPPCv?

DHLPPCv is a six-pack vaccination cocktail combining:

  • Distemper - a viral infection of the nervous system that can cause anything from gastrointestinal upset to pneumonia, seizures and tremors (no known cure!)
  • Hepatitis - a viral infection of the liver that can cause acute liver failure
  • Leptospirosis - a bacterial infection of liver and kidneys that can increase the chances of death 30 to 40 fold (and can infect humans too!)
  • Parainfluenza - a viral infection of the upper respiratory system that causes the infamous kennel cough and can also cause pneumonia
  • Parvovirus - in many geographies the most prevalent viral infection of all. It affects the lining of the intestinal tract which can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and hence weaken the immune system, thus often causing secondary infections that affect the entire body (often fatal!)
  • Coronavirus - a viral infection similar to Parvovirus, but with a different effect on the intestinal tract and typically not fatal.

which vaccines?

However, depending on your geography and your dog's living environment, you may only even need to consider Distemper, Parvo, and Rabies. And only one vaccination of each you decide on! And never a multivalent vaccine (vaccine cocktail)! And always leaving several weeks between two vaccinations. An early discussion with a holistic local vet is invaluable.

Then ultimately YOU as now informed dog owner should decide. No one, not even five different vets, can take this right and responsibility off you. You should make this educated decision yourself, after taking all views as well as local laws into account (your local vet should know).

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!



Do NOT fall for the insanely immature and dangerous 'advice' that you can find in internet discussion forums and similar premium 'knowledge bases', namely to "get those cheap DIY vaccines". I can only warn you of cheap dog vaccinations and low cost pet vaccinations and ads for free vaccinations for dogs.

Among many backyard breeders, homesteaders, and ueber-confident dog owners seems to rule the opinion that "giving a shot is easy, it doesn't take a DVM" (quote from one of those forums). Yes, giving the shot is fairly easy, but fact is that then possibly having to cope with the life-threatening vaccination risks listed above does take a DVM (and often two)!

litter disposalI have never seen any breeder, farmer, or homesteader that was able to save the life of a puppy or dog that experienced say, an anaphylactic shock after vaccination. But I know of countless cases where exactly those 'wannabe DVMs' dumped their half-dead or entirely dead puppies in bins, canals, or the woods! :-(

Another reason not to attempt self-vaccination of your dog is summarized in this dog owner's advice for her DIY-vaccinating friends:

"Know several pups who have died from ... after such vaccines and I am guessing the vaccines weren't stored properly. One was a friends 2000$ french bulldog pup. Bet they wish they'd have spent the extra 10 bucks to get a vaccine that works."

While the second factor (vaccines from dubious sources or in dubious condition) is somewhat controllable, the first factor isn't: Even vets with decades of experience are (obviously) 'surprised' each time they have to attend to an acute allergic reaction after vaccination.

You just cannot know which dog will have one, and which won't! I would suggest to save on the Starbucks coffee or Saturday's Cinema, but not on the vet-administered vaccination of YOUR DOG.


Whenever you hear of "series of vaccines" or "booster", take a deep breath and remember this MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL. ;-)

Seriously: See again above why many people still recommend to serialize vaccinations - and then reflect why that is bad advice!

series of vaccines


Vaccination Research Recent Results!

Extensive vaccination research, mainly undertaken since the turn of the millennium, led to many surprises regarding the efficacy, frequency, and timing of vaccinations, and documented that the majority of today's (canine and human!) vaccinations are useless over-vaccination, and thus high-risk (see above).

For example:

  • Puppies of a healthy dam assume all the immunization of their mother as maternal antibodies with the colostrum (breast milk). - Also note that puppies of wild dogs as well as wolves etc never get a vaccination, nonetheless their mortality rate due to diseases is not worryingly high. :idea:
  • The maternal antibodies reduce over time once weaned, but the rate of reduction differs between pathogens, dog breeds and even individual dogs. Thus there can be no 'chart' or 'table' that would describe the situation for the German Shepherd dog breed, or indeed for your GSD.
  • As long as the maternal antibodies are still numerous, they inactivate not only attacking pathogens but also administered vaccines - which is why vaccinating healthy young puppies has no benefit at all! And vaccinating a dog that is not healthy must never happen anyway - note that even the leaflet that accompanies every vaccine delivery clearly states: "Must only be administered to healthy dogs!"
  • Note that while vaccinating healthy young puppies has no benefit at all, it does cause serious harm to the puppy's immune system as vaccines are not that pure: they also contain potent chemical adjuvants as well as cells from the tissue culture they were grown on. The first leads to Allergies and (gastrointestinal) sensitivities, and the second leads to Arthritis, cancer, etc!
  • To be of any benefit, puppy vaccination has to be undertaken at the individually identified point in time when the blood concentration of maternal antibodies is sufficient low not to block the particular vaccine (titer test), and before the puppy is then exposed to the particular pathogen in the environment (thus that ideally the pup benefits from continuous immunization)
  • Only ONE vaccination for the most prevalent diseases should be undertaken (ie no further boosters), and LATER than what is still common practice: Where a dog owner refuses to pay for a preceeding titer, the first vaccination should be at age 12 weeks. This age has been identified to offer the overall greatest chance to really protect the puppy, while up until this age the pup's maternal antibodies are likely to inactivate the vaccine, and after this age they become too weak to fight off the actual pathogen.
  • Note however that the natural weakening of maternal antibodies differs immensely between different dogs (even of the same breed) and different pathogens. Hence the vaccination at age 12 weeks gives the best immunization overall, but obviously not in each individual case. Hence why preceeding individual titer tests are highly recommended!
  • However, also note that four different veterinarians may give you four different opinions whether or not the titer result indicates a vaccination should be undertaken or not.
  • Therefore, note what top immunologists have confirmed to me: 1) There is nothing more practical than a titer test to prevent harmful over-vaccination, and 2) if there is any reaction at all, NO vaccination should be undertaken, because the reaction proves that the body knows the particular antigen and will react - thus the quantitative titer result is irrelevant.
  • And 3) to vaccinate based on rigid timetables that don't even consider the dog's living environment, lifestyle, and health status is foolish!
  • Canine vaccines have dramatically improved over time (similar to human vaccines, but less so). Immunization has become much quicker and always lasts much longer.
  • In fact, immunization lasts for the life of the animal, unless:
    • the animal was sick at the time of vaccination - in which case immunization was unsuccessful from the start!
    • or the animal has been treated with lab medicaments at any time during its life (the longer, the more problematic) - particularly dangerous to the immune system are (in this order): corticosteroids and other steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, painkillers
    • or the animal was sick at any time during its life with impact on its immune system (thus even if untreated)
  • With many pathogens, incubation lengthened (the time from infection to symptom visibility and disease outbreak)
  • An infection that doesn't kill improves the body's defenses and allows to thwart off future attacks, both of the same pathogen and of other pathogens!
  • There is a BIG difference between life-threatening infections (life-threatening for the dog and/or for the dog owner?), and transitory and curable infections (curable for the dog and/or for the dog owner?)
  • The risk of infection (both with life-threatening and with non-life-threatening pathogens) is very different depending on geography (some pathogens are only endemic in certain geographies), and depending on the dog's individual lifestyle (some dogs are 95% indoors, other dogs are 100% on the owner's premises, some dogs share life with children and/or other animals, other dogs visit dog parks, some dogs live on a farm or freely roam the wilderness, etc)
  • Due to over-vaccination in the past (and present!), many pathogens have had ample opportunity to adapt (mutate) and to become resistant to vaccines that have in the past been (and often are still!) considered to provide protection against a particular disease - such that now these very vaccines are no longer effective!
  • The chemical adjuvants used in vaccines to stimulate ('guarantee') immune response intoxicate the dog's body - whether or not the vaccine is effective!
  • This intoxication already at puppy age and then throughout the dog's life, plus the widespread blanket treatment with antibiotics, corticosteroids, etc is now considered to be the prime reason for the alarming increase in canine autoimmune disorders: skin allergies, food allergies, and drug allergies, gastrointestinal hypersensitivity and digestive disorders, joint disorders like Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, and cancer!

Do you see now how all our frequent warnings:

Antibiotics → GI tract
Corticosteroids → Allergies
Intoxication → Tumors

lead into each other?

Great! - Thanks.

This Periodical alone should by now have 10,000 comments (thank-you's), but look what it has! What an UNGRATEFUL society we have these days, how disappointing.

Again, the cumulative knowledge in this MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL cannot be found anywhere else (unless someone fraudulently copied our intellectual property). I know because I searched intensely. Thus, if you truly mean well for your dog-owning friends(?), share this with fellow dog lovers so that more dog owners at last take the right vaccination decisions and stop this vaccination frenzy!

Puppy Vaccinations Recommendations

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

[wpsharely id="4431"]

Vaccinations for puppies should only be undertaken:

titer done?

  1. after the pup's blood test results indicate that the particular vaccine is now likely to be effective (the concentration of maternal antibodies is sufficient low)
  2. and after the individual pup's living environment has been put into perspective with the prevalence of the particular disease in the dog owner's geography (and at the anticipated travel destinations)
  3. and after the pup's medical assessment gives green light that the puppy is healthy at the time of vaccination!

What vaccinations do puppies need?

This depends on the endemic diseases in the dog owner's geography, and on the individual dog's lifestyle: eg indoor dog, roaming the wilderness, or what?

That's why you must discuss this with your local vet, not on some internet discussion forum. More see above: Typical Dog Vaccinations Explained.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

The Vaccination Schedule for Puppies is very simple:

After initial vaccination (where needed), a vaccine booster should be reserved for the exceptional situation where a titer indicates that the dog no longer has antibodies for the antigen of the pathogen in question (say because lab medicaments or illness have impaired the immune system).

Puppy Vaccinations Cost

So, how much are puppy vaccinations?

This really depends entirely on where you live, and how desperate your municipality is to get the endemic diseases under control (if there are any), ie do they subsidize, and how much?

At a suburban vet practice in the USA or the UK a vaccination shot (whether multivalent or individual) costs typically between 15 to 45 USD or Pounds (equivalent buying power) - and this includes the vet's skill, experience, and time(!) to attend to any unforeseen vaccination complications. How much it is say in Australia, India, or elsewhere I don't know - but over time our FREE(!) subscribers will hopefully leave their comments below. Or not?

Given that (as you now know) normally only one vaccination should be administered for a particular disease (but at the right time!), even $50 must be considered a very good deal for your dog, no?

The preceding canine titer test typically costs from $40 (individual titer) to $150 (total titer: DHLPPCv plus Rabies and Lyme), but the price will go down the more dog owners start to ask for that! :idea:

This cost will very rarely be in addition (namely only if the titer result clearly suggests to vaccinate, ie if there was no reaction at all), most times the titer will save the cost of vaccination as well as all the ongoing cost of chronic diseases that result from over-vaccination!

Dog Vaccinations Recommendations

Vaccinations for dogs should only be undertaken:

titer done?

  1. after the dog's blood test result indicates that there is NO reaction to the vaccine-specific antigen
  2. and after the individual dog's living environment has been put into perspective with the prevalence of the particular disease in the dog owner's geography (and at anticipated travel destinations)
  3. and after the dog's medical assessment gives green light that the dog is healthy at the time of vaccination!

What vaccinations do dogs need?

Again, this depends on the endemic diseases in your geography and on your dog's lifestyle (see above). You must discuss this with your local vet, see above: Typical Dog Vaccinations Explained.

Dog Vaccination Schedule

The Vaccination Schedule for Dogs is very simple as well:

If you've had your dog since puppyhood, you know your dog's immunization status. If you adopted an adult dog and the prior owner or shelter couldn't document the dog's immunization status, you should start with a total titer during your next scheduled vet visit.

In both cases, it would be wise (see above why):

  • to get a booster vaccination only if the preceeding titer indicates that there is NO reaction at all to the antigen in question
  • to have other vaccinations done only if there is a new disease outbreak in your geography, or you move to a different place, or you plan to travel with your dog, or it becomes a legal requirement (municipalities behave!)

Dog Vaccinations Cost

So, how much are dog vaccinations?

Again, this depends entirely on where you live, and whether your municipality subsidizes particular canine vaccinations or not.

For more, please see above (Puppy Vaccinations Cost), since the prices are the same for adult dogs.


Checklist * (see note at the bottom)

  • Vaccinations can help to prevent the outbreak or alleviate the impact of diseases
  • Note that vaccinations do not prevent the bite or sting, or stepping onto excrement, and hence do not prevent the infection
  • The purpose of vaccinations is to help prepare the body's immune system to fight a potential future invasion of a particular carrier of a life-threatening or chronic disease. Nothing else.
  • Because, despite strengthening the body's defense against the particular disease, every vaccination weakens the body's immune system overall
  • In addition, there is a long list of vaccination side effects and vaccination risks (see above)
  • Vaccination risks can almost be eliminated if you first order a titer test particular to the vaccine in question
  • Most of the time you will then find that your dog does not need to be vaccinated at this time
  • Indeed, if instead of the routine blanket vaccinations that we have now, routine blanket titers were performed, we could stop the widespread over-vaccination right now!
  • Over-vaccination: The practice of entirely useless (but harmful!) booster vaccinations, and of vaccinating for diseases that are not even endemic in the dog owner's geography (and planned travel destinations), or that are impossible to contract given the dog's lifestyle!
  • Do not get this wrong: A one-off vaccination against a chronic or life-threatening disease that could affect your dog or yourself, is sensible and should be undertaken.
  • But what must be stopped immediately is to vaccinate even for individually highly unlikely diseases, as well as for merely temporary indispositions, and then to undertake yearly boosters on top of it!
  • This vaccination frenzy entails significant risks, individually and for the society as a whole, without any benefit whatsoever
  • Why vaccination frenzy? - Because: Vaccinations are a HUGE business, for some! ;-)
  • Once you feel informed, dare to speak up at (and if needed against) your vet, and be willing to pay for a preceeding titer test
  • You will then most of the time save the money on vaccinations, and more importantly, you will save all the life-long medical cost, worries and stress of having to try to cure a dog with immune-mediated disorders!
  • Above are countless lists of points to remember (and to share), of which the Vaccination Research Recent Results are probably the ones worth learning to recall in your sleep
  • Looks very promising: Stop the Shots - Are Vaccinations Killing Our Pets? - If you get to this first, let me know below what you think of it
  • And of course, the old-time classic: Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook. Highly useful in every regard. Though, did I give the hint? Yes, I did: old-time classic. Also, don't overlook that it's from an interest group: veterinarians. ;-)
  • But this you certainly don't need!
  • Don't forget this:
    This is what a Top dog expert says:
    Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!



==> Next edition: A related topic! Have a guess? <==

Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?



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  31 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    Very Good Information. Follows what I have thought for years. Thanks for sharing all the variations of topic. It is appreciated.


    This is a great article, Tim. You did a lot of research and provided detailed scenarios. Thanks very much!


    Very informative and certainly puts it in perspective. Thanks very much for the information - as always very informative.


    Man, what great information! Not only for our pets but for us humans. Please keep up the good work. You are appreciated.


    Tim, This is a very informative article. Thank you so much for helping us to understand! I've always been concerned about vaccinating my fur babies, but now that I know about the Titer test, it will be performed first! I have forwarded this article so all my friends who have fur babies will be educated as well. You ARE appreciated!


      Fine DeeAnn. In Interview #4 the expert (who also studied microbiology) explains the limits of titers, yet confirms that doing a titer first is the most practical approach to avoiding useless and harmful (over) vaccinations.

      The practical problem however (still!) is that there are no accepted antibody values for the various pathogens that veterinarians can and will uniformly apply. In other words, while the expert too confirms the unique benefits of doing titers first, he highlights that for one and the same titer (result), four different vets may draw four different conclusions - until the veterinary world has agreed on accepted standards for results. But much more worrying than this (small) degree of uncertainty he finds the terrible practice of conventional (average) vets:

      • a) to give several vaccines at the same time! :-(
      • b) to vaccinate even when a dog is ill - and possibly even given a steroid at the same time! :-(
      • c) to vaccinate far too early - when the puppy's maternal antibodies still block the vaccine! :-(
      • d) to vaccinate although the individual dog's lifestyle leaves no chance to contract the disease :-(

      Obviously, in the interview the expert explains what to do instead.

      I just got a new puppy myself, and gladly his immune system has NOT been ruined through the common stupid practices listed in the Periodical above, and I will keep him vaccine-free (but safe) until about 4 months age (unless here's sth required legally, I have no hurry to find out) or until a titer confirms that he no longer has maternal antibody protection (whichever comes first).

      In all matters (training, health, and care), I am so happy to be able to follow all the great advice from all the experts I've ever learned from. It's quite shocking how few other dog owners seek to do the best too. :-(


    Thank you so much Tim, for this article. I did not know about having Titers done before vaccinating my dogs and cats, but I certainly will do so from now on. There are certain vaccines that are required by law in my State, but other than those, I am going to be extra careful. I guess I have been very lucky so far. This is a very important article and I have shared it. I appreciate all your efforts to keep us informed about the health, care and enjoyment of our German Shepherd Dogs!
    Thanks again,


      Maureen, can you please let everyone here know (incl. myself) exactly which vaccinations are "required by law" in your state? New York, right?

      It would be great if everyone can post this here, for their nation or state. Please. Thanks.

      I am in the process of rewriting one aspect above: Thanks to one of my expert interviewees (in the Dog Expert Interview Series) I realized that I need to make it clearer how outright dangerous and stupid vaccine combinations are! If at all, only ever allow to be given one vaccine at a time, and then wait at least(!) three weeks before the next vaccine inoculation. Details (and much more such insight) are of course in the Dog Expert Interview Series which you are receiving, Maureen.


      I did not know this until I looked it up for you because until recently, my dogs always got a combination vaccine (DHLPPCv) and Rabies, and Lyme, but in New York State only the rabies vaccine is required by law. It is required for all dogs, cats and ferrets. I always thought that the distemper vaccine was also a requirement, but I find that it is not. The rabies vaccine is a requirement by law in all 50 States. In New York State puppies must be vaccinated by 4 months, with a second in one year, and then either annually or every three years depending on the vaccine. Any dog that will be in the State for more than 15 days must show proof of vaccination or face a fine of up to $200. Medical exemptions are allowed with a note from a DVM. This is a very timely periodical for me because my dog will be coming up for her annual vet visit soon and she will be the first dog I will be asking for titers for. I have been getting the combo, rabies, and lyme because we are in the woods hiking a lot, and there is wildlife everywhere in my area. I will be sure to ask my vet if the combo can be given as separate vaccines from now on. It requires more visits to the vet (which my dog hates) but a minor inconvenience compared to what this article tells me can happen. Tim, we all owe you a debt of gratitude for this article, which I believe is the most important one you have given us!


        You confirm what I hear from every veterinarian expert in the USA: Nationwide apparently ONLY RABIES is legally required, and yes, at 4 months.

        Now for all those who are too ignorant to book the Dog Expert Interview Series note this: ONE Rabies vaccination is enough, for the life of the dog! NO boosters. Not "every three years" and certainly not "every year". As Maureen here says, get a letter from the (hopefully holistic!) vet that simply confirms that your dog is fully vaccinated (because the vet assessed it that way). I don't know of any state or nation where some authority/ministry/... does not accept the vet's assessment. If you do, let us here know.

        Now: The only exception to the above (NO boosters) is, if your dog was not healthy/well at the time of the vaccination - but then the dog shouldn't have been vaccinated anyway, only a healthy dog may be subjected to a vaccine!

        There is so much more to say, and indeed has been said by our experts: hours over hours of insightful interviews, the Dog Expert Interview Series, I've never found anything like this anywhere else. Period.


    I noticed with my last dog that yearly vaccinations had been moved to every three years.


      Even that is needless. IF they have immunity (acquired naturally or through vaccination), they have it for life! "IF" because a) not every vaccination provides immunity, and b) sickness, steroids, and/or antibiotics can destroy that immunity! Hence why antibody titer is helpful.
      Proof for all from our immunologist in Interview & Review #4.

      (How would you like to be addressed? Mrs Dante? Pl. help, for courtesy)


    Tim, I pulled this from the Indiana web site:

    [DELETED: Quoting text from other sites onto our site is strictly prohibited]

    My question is why does it seem that all puppies have their first set of shots at 6 weeks at their first vet visit? I have no say in this . . . the breeders all do this in our area. And needless to say, then they HAVE to have their follow up shots shortly after we receive a puppy at 8-10 weeks.


      Miki! This is why WE, and only WE, have the Dog Expert Interview Series with Reviews!

      It is KNOWN among the top veterinarians (veterinarian immunologists!) why it is FOOLISH, HARMFUL, DANGEROUS to do what you quote MANY, not all, are doing. Listen, read, study. Then you know.


    This is a common schedule:

    [DELETED: Quoting text from other sites onto our site is strictly prohibited]


      Who cares what is "common"!!!! I don't. Follow the masses if you want. Your choice.
      Or learn from genuine experts. Your choice as well.
      I know what I choose! In NO aspect of life I could care what the masses do!


    Sorry to bombard - looking at everything (over & over) as to what to do when the new puppy comes. Did I cause the death of little Czar because I didn't speak up and loud enough as to not follow the Vet's course of action with the "normal" treatments?? With the vaccinations and the antibiotics could that have caused all his intestinal distress?? To have him die just short of his 13wks birthday - I am so sad and upset with myself . . .


      I can't say if you "caused the death of little Czar". But I am shocked to read here from you now what your vets did to such a young puppy - AFTER you got access to My New Puppy Diary - in which I have elaborately(!) explained what I did with my new puppy, and why, and what I NOT did, and why! Did you READ, WATCH, and LISTEN to anything there at all? Did you READ this Periodical at all? If you did, how can you have such questions in your mind, Miki?

      So, don't worry now, what's been done, has been done. Look forward to doing the best going forward, hm?


    I apologize for the quoting txt - I didn't know or obviously didn't pay close attention.

    I did read and I had conversations with the vet and the techs about all my concerns. Even argued a with - as if this pup was my child.

    (1) My one question was about the 6 week vet visit that happens out of my control. When I finally receive the puppy as my own do I tell them that I don't want anymore vaccinations until proper blood tests are done? Or does it hurt them to start and not finish on the schedule? (I am not recalling this if it has been addressed, I am sorry.) My mind is becoming a mush of a mess. Since I know that isn't law, I have a leg to stand on that he doesn't have to have them right away.

    There is one homeopathic vet that I am going to make an appointment to "interview" before the new puppy gets here. I hope I am on the right track with that.

    (2) After Czar was so sick and all the continued tests and them telling me that if we didn't treat he would continue to get worse I decided on the medication. I delayed the x-ray . . . because I didn't want it to harm his developing body thinking he would get better with me cooking his food and taking care of him. Finally after that not working out and refusing any more medicine from them I finally consented to the x-ray and that is when they found the intestinal abnormality and wanted to do the exploratory surgery. Something was wrong, but they couldn't tell exactly what it was.

    We waited another day to decide on the surgery - were we doing the right thing?, etc. After opening him up the intussusception was so bad that all of his small intestine would have to be removed and there were problems with his large intestine. Did the medicine from a few weeks before cause this?? Did I wait to long?? Should I have let them do all this earlier and would they have caught it all sooner and been able to save him?? Or was this something that I couldn't have helped at all?

    Tim, I am beating myself up a whole lot here. I just want to do the best I can now for the new puppy.

    I hate that most of these vaccination rules are self-inflicted, not really mandated at all. But, they mandate vaccinations to our children and babies after all with us having no choice in the matter - why would it be any less for our beloved pets.

    I hope that my journey, like yours can be educational for others. Thank you Tim for allowing us all to share our experiences, our stupidity and mistakes and our joys and progress with you and all who want to know more of the GSD breed.


      Yeah I notice that you're beating yourself up Miki, and I repeat: That doesn't help anyone, so don't do it! Forget what was or could have been, you can't change it. Instead be forward-looking, aim to do things better each time: Be 100% confident towards vets!!!

      I can't remember where but just recently I wrote that vets and you/us, we have completely different goals!! So why would I or you or any dog owner 1-2-1 do what a vet wants? Never!!!

      And as said, the TOP veterinarians in the world (more than in the Dog Expert Interview Series with Reviews) are saying EXACTLY what I am saying, and of course they explain reasons/background/much more. Or rather, I am saying here EXACTLY what they are saying! 99.5% of the world's veterinarians should lose their licence, they are doing nothing but routine "work". No brain behind it whatsoever.

      Or in our Expert's word: "Foolish!" to accept what they want you to accept for your dog, and then pay them on top of that! I have enough(!) of repeating myself. All that needs to be said has been said in the Interviews and Reviews. What we learn in life is our own choice (once we're adults).

      Edit: Oh, and: "I hate that most of these vaccination rules" - there are NO RULES! The ONLY vaccination legally required is Rabies, and as the top veterinarian immunologists(!) have confirmed: Even that vaccination shouldn't be done that way! Vaccinations are done the way they are done because IT IS BIG BUSINESS!!!

      A lot of people make BIG money from that nonsense. But you need to ask yourself: Am I making money from that?

      No! You are paying them that big money.
      Clear now? Good.


    The "vet" (term used loosely) that we took our now 12 week old GSD to told us that neither she nor any other vet in our area will see our dog because we will not let them pump whatever they want into him.

    He went at 8 weeks and they wanted to do a cocktail, a heartworm treatment (even though he didn't have them) a deforming (even though he was up to date with them and tested negative), and nasal distemper I believe. They were irate when we left and said we cannot comeback until we agree to their treatment.

    The crazy thing is that we have went through the same thing with our children and some of their shots. While we vaccinate for those that can happen, I will not shoot mercury into my kids through a flu vaccine, nor will I do 'boosters'. The last time they tried to prick their finger for lead poisoning!

    This world has gone crazy for immunizations.... hints why we homeschool and fight for the rights of individuals to determine their own well-being.

    Thanks Tim for another great article. I agreed so much I stood up while reading it! (instead of the shock and needing to sit down....)


    Thanks for a very thorough overview of vaccinations. Interesting reading!


    Thanks a lot for this amazing article Tim. Really caught my attention.


    Interesting reading we keep up with our dogs shots all the time. Thanks for the information


    I have believed in these findings for the last couple of years.I have read some information on this topic but nothing like this highly informative periodical.I am guilty of reading Tims informative topics and not leaving a comment,for this I apologize.
    Thanks for your highly informative articles and hard work.


    This information is invaluable! I have bookmarked this page for future reference. Now I regret having subjected my puppy to those "vaccine cocktails" you mentioned. I was ignorant, but I will know better moving forward. It's interesting because I was just researching something similar, specifically regarding heartworm prevention meds and discovered similar findings that the monthly frequency recommended is over-exaggerated considering the documented heartworm cycle. Vaccination is a much more critical issue, and I was surprised to learn that the Rabies vaccination should only be administered once. Wow!!!
    I guess the only question now is: Will my vet be willing to provide written documentation proving that my GSD is fully vaccinated even after having refused the annual booster (she received her first rabies shot a couple of weeks ago)? I guess I'll find out soon enough. If not, I'll just have to find myself a new vet.

    Thanks again, Tim!


      Robert, Rabies is the (only) special one, depending on local laws a vet may not be allowed to forgo the "booster" after THREE ys (in some nations) or after SEVEN ys (in other nations). I don't know of any nation where a yearly "booster" is still legally required, because it's proven that that is entirely foolish.

      For ALL other vaccinations I will, as said, NEVER get a "booster" unless a preceding titer shows NO reaction at all to the tested antigen of the virus in question. Also remember here that dogs do acquire immunity naturally as long as they are generally healthy. This is true even for the (only) deadly canine viruses Parvo and Distemper. How etc etc etc is all explained in the Dog Expert Interview Series with Reviews.


    I gonna stick to titers from now on , you convinced me. Great periodical , thank you!!


    plZz sir send german dog vaccination shadul

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