How Often Do Dogs Need Shots?

The number of shots a dog receives in its lifetime depends on the dog's age and exposure risks. At minimum, all dogs in the United States must receive rabies vaccinations for the duration of their lifespan. The rabies vaccination is available in one- or three-year shots, depending on state regulations.

Vaccines are categorized either as core or non-core. Core vaccines are strongly recommended. These include vaccinations for canine parvovirus, distemper and canine hepatitis, in addition to rabies.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog's exposure risk to certain illnesses. These vaccines are Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.