Vaccinating your cat or dog is one of the most important steps of being a responsible pet owner. Puppies and kittens need vaccinations to protect them from serious diseases, just like children do. Adult dogs and cats need annual boosters to keep them healthy as well.

Vaccines help prepare your pets immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system, but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a pet is ever exposed to the real disease, their immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce its severity.

The main vaccinations that every dog should receive are canine Parvovirus, Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, and Rabies. Puppies need a series of at least four shots to completely protect them from Parvo and other potentially fatal diseases

The core vaccinations for felines are Panleukopenia (feline distemper), Feline Calici Virus, Feline Herpes Virus type I (Rhinotracheitis), and Rabies.

If only one part of the series is administered, your pet will still be vulnerable. Puppies shouldn’t be taken for walks or to parks and other public areas until they are fully vaccinated.

If you board your pet or take your pet to the groomers or dog parks, you’ll need to get the Bordetella vaccination to protect them from kennel cough