Vaccinating your dog

Vaccinating your dog is one the most important things you can do for their health and wellbeing. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to know what vaccinations your dog needs and how often they are required.  

Vaccinations are critical for all dogs, but particularly those who spend lots of time outdoors or in communal areas where they are likely to be interacting with other animals, such as at a dog park or on a farm.  

Types of dog vaccinations  

There are two main vaccinations available for dogs that protect against a variety of diseases.  

c3 vaccine  

The c3 vaccine for dogs should be administered yearly by your local veterinarian. It protects against Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis and Canine Parvovirus.  

These are life-threatening diseases that can cause your dog to become seriously unwell and may lead to death. Treatment of these diseases is very costly and still may be unsuccessful due to severity of this disease.  

Your dog may pick up these infectious diseases by interacting with other dogs or simply by sniffing or walking in areas where infected dogs have been. Parvovirus is an extremely tough virus that can survive for months in an environment. It is even possible for you to pick-up the virus on your shoes and transport the infection back home. 

KC vaccine 

The KC vaccine should be administered yearly by your local veterinarian. It protects against Canine Cough (aka. Kennel Cough).  

This is a respiratory infection easily spread between dogs, not just in kennel environments. Most kennel or group housing facilities require your dog to be vaccinated against kennel cough. The KC vaccine aims at decreasing the severity and likelihood of contracting this disease. 

The age dogs need to be vaccinated   

It is essential that puppies are vaccinated at key points in their first few months of life. Prior to these vaccinations, your puppy’s time spent outdoors should be limited to protect them from accidentally picking up a disease while unprotected.  


  • 6-8 weeks old = C3 vaccine and KC vaccine 
  • 10-12 weeks old = C3 vaccine and KC vaccine 
  • 14-16 weeks old = C3 vaccine and KC vaccine (depending on the vaccine type used) 

Adult dogs never vaccinated 

  • Initially = C3 vaccine and KC vaccine 
  • 4 weeks later = C3 vaccine and KC vaccine (depending on the vaccine type used) 

Titre testing   

A blood test can be performed to determine if your pet has a degree of lasting immunity from previous vaccinations known as a ‘titre test’. Unfortunately this blood test cannot determine how long this immunity will continue to last and would need to be repeated throughout your pet’s life to ensure adequate protection against these diseases 

You can book your pet in for an annual health check or to receive their vaccination at an RSPCA Victoria vet clinic.   

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