What Shots Are Required for a Dog to Be in Public, & What Proof Is Necessary?

by Cindy Quarters
    Shots benefit your dog's health.

    Shots benefit your dog's health.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    Vaccinations are for your dog’s protection; they protect against diseases such as distemper, parvovirus and influenza. But no law says a dog must have these vaccinations. A rabies shot is different. Your dog can pass this disease to humans if he gets it, so laws requiring rabies shots are common.


    According to the Centers for Disease Control, all but 12 states require your dog to have a rabies shot between the ages of 4 months and 7 months old, whether he goes out in public or not. Municipalities that license dogs typically require proof of a rabies vaccination before you can get a license. If your dog bites someone, you will need a current rabies certificate as proof of vaccination no matter where you live.

    Other Diseases

    While no legal requirement exists for pets to be vaccinated for any diseases beyond rabies, it is in your pet’s best interest that he gets these shots, especially if he goes out in public. The shots protect him, since vaccinated dogs are unlikely to contract or spread these diseases. If you want to board your dog, you may be required to prove he’s had his basic vaccinations by showing a certificate of vaccination from your veterinarian.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. She writes travel, pet, gardening and technical articles, with work published in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette, as well as online. Quarters earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Washington State University and a master's degree in management information systems from West Coast University.

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