You probably are used to taking your dog to the vet's office for his annual vaccinations, but you may wonder if he really needs them. Like all medicines, vaccines can have negative side effects, which have the potential to make your dog sick. Some pet owners have begun to debate whether the risks of vaccinating their dogs outweigh the hazards that a vaccine can pose if the dog has a negative reaction to the vaccine.
Vaccinations prevent diseases that could otherwise sicken or even kill your dog. A vaccinated dog is highly unlikely to catch a disease that he has been vaccinated against. He also will not be able to spread the disease if he does come into contact with an infected animal. Vaccines have reduced significantly the number of animals who die from diseases such as rabies. The rabies vaccination is legally required for dogs in most parts of the United States.
Vaccines, like all medicines, do have potential side effects. The most common problems associated with giving your dog a vaccine include pain, swelling and soreness at the site of the vaccination injection. Some dogs may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, which can cause moderate to severe side effects. Severe vaccination side effects can include the development of aggressive tumors and anemia, according to All Pets Veterinary Clinic.
The Debate Against Vaccinations
The primary argument against vaccinating dogs is the risk of a potentially fatal side effect. Some pet owners think the risk of their dog becoming sick from a vaccine is greater than the risk of the dog actually catching the disease the vaccine prevents. Furthermore, not all vaccinations are 100 percent effective, which means even if your vaccinate your pet, he may not be completely protected and can still get sick.
The Debate For Vaccines
Vaccines do prevent illness in most dogs with minimal side effects. It is true that a number of the diseases that vaccines are used to prevent have been nearly eradicated in domestic dogs due to regular vaccination practices; vaccine proponents worry that the diseases may come back if people stop vaccinating their pets. Individuals who fail to vaccinate their dogs also may be breaking the law in some areas of the country where specific vaccinations are required.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.