Flu (Influenza) Vaccination for Dogs

By Dr.B / last year

Influenza Vaccination for Dogs

For non-vaccinated dogs:  The vaccination is an initial series of two (2) vaccines. The second vaccine is administered two to four weeks after the first.  A single yearly booster vaccination is then given annually (just like human flu shots).

There are several vaccinations on the market, but, – hands down — you want the bivalent vaccine. That product protects against both the H3N2 and H3N8 strains, the others just one.    🙁

The vaccination is administered subcutaneously and is generally painless and in my experience has minimal complications and/or side effects.

The vaccination does not prevent the disease 100%, but it does reduce the morbidity and mortality significantly.  Just like the human flu vaccine.

There currently is no vaccination for cats.  Fortunately, cats, though susceptible,  appear to be at a much lower risk than dogs. — Score one for our feline population and us owners.

  • Renee says:

    Wow, I had no Idea flu was complicated, Thank you.
    Do you recommend vaccination if he always lives at home and only goes on walks

    • Dr.B says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Renee I really appreciate it.
      Partly that answer depends on what part of the world and or area you live in, but in the states, flu is here to stay and is going to surface pretty much anytime it wants. Summer is the most likely time when the dogs are out and about and in higher concentrations. But, that said Right now they’re outbreaks in Northern California and Arizona and it’s spring.
      If you ever consider any boarding or daycare you want the vaccine for sure.
      But your risk is lower since your indoor kid is only out on walks but you still have some exposure out on walks. Many people look at their young healthy dog and think oh I can wait on the vaccine until we actually need to do something like board. The problem is the vaccine takes at least 2 weeks to get on board and if you have a urgent emergency situation and you have to do something tomorrow you’re still going to have a lot of risk.
      The bottom line is vaccinations are for prevention and risk management and you should consider that.
      But no matter what,,, you want to make sure that your pet is current with Bordetella vaccinations because most flu patients will get Bordetella at the same time because they’re transmitted the same way. Two simultaneous infections equals one very serious illness. That would be a terrible situation since both are preventable. Thanks for your great question.


  • >