Because many of the serious or fatal illnesses that affect dogs are contagious, you might think having an indoor door means he's already protected. After all, no outside living must mean he won't be needed protection in the form of vaccines, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case. Vaccines play an important role in the long-term health of your furry one.
Dangers for Indoor Dogs
Just because your dog spends most of his life indoors doesn't mean he won't be exposed to deadly diseases like parvovirus and distemper. For starters, you eventually will have to take your dog for walks, to the vet -- where he could catch something from other animals -- or to the kennel. Visits to the dog run or to the park also could expose them to viruses -- and without vaccination, he would be at a high risk of getting sick.
All dogs, indoors and outdoors, should at least receive canine core vaccines. These are a series of vaccines given to puppies to protect them against four main fatal diseases: canine distemper virus, rabies, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus. The first dose should be given when the puppies are between 6 and 8 weeks of age, as recommended by the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine University. The second doses should be given three to four weeks after that, and the final shots four weeks later. Dogs will not be fully protected until all three sets of vaccines have been administered.
Non-core vaccines are vaccines that are not always necessary. For example, some illnesses are only possible in certain areas of the country or certain types of weather. Indoor dogs might not need some or all of these vaccines, so it's important that you discuss it with your vet. Examples of non-core vaccines include canine influenza virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus.
Many experts believe pets are over-vaccinated. This could be true in some cases. For example, vaccines are harsh on the liver -- and the entire body -- so pets who are sick or have compromised immune systems probably shouldn't be vaccinated every year, according to The Animal Doctor. Plus, studies show that up to 95 percent of dogs remain protected against disease even several years after their last vaccine. This applies only to adult dogs, of course -- puppies should receive their three initial sets of vaccines.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.