How Often Do Dogs Need Rabies Shots in Florida?

August 09, 2021 in Uncategorized

Rabies is one of the most dangerous viral infections a dog can contract—and it's particularly dangerous because this illness can be passed on to humans. For this reason, rabies is one of the rabies vaccine is one of the few vaccines that is mandated for any dog in the state of Florida.

To stay in line with local law—and, more importantly, to limit exposure of the rabies virus among not only your dog, but other dogs and humans who cross its path—dog owners should be diligent in keeping up with the rabies vaccine and other required vaccines. If you're new to owning a dog or simply need a refresher on the schedule for vaccinating your dog against rabies, we've got the answers you're looking for—along with some guidance on where to go for the vaccine.

veterinarian prepares for rabies vaccine appointment in the clinic
The doctor prepares a dropper with a solution of medicine in the clinic. Close up. Blurred background.

When Do Puppies Get the Rabies Shot?

While your veterinarian should always be the one to set your dog's vaccination schedule, puppies typically receive their first rabies vaccination at or shortly after 16 weeks old. Before your dog is vaccinated against rabies, you may be restricted from bringing them to dog boarders or other businesses or properties where a rabies vaccination is required. You will also want to avoid contact with dogs and other animals that can carry the rabies virus.

Your puppy will receive rabies boosters periodically throughout its life, starting between 12 and 16 months of age. After that, rabies booster will be administered every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccination your dog receives.

Common Rabies Shot Side Effects in Dogs

Like many vaccines your dog may receive, side effects are possible as the dog's immune response is activated. These effects can include:

  • Mild fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy
  • Soreness and swelling at the injection site
  • Temporary loss of hair around the injection site

In most cases, these side effects should subside within a day or two of vaccination, and some dogs may not exhibit any side effects. If you notice extreme symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian.

What if My Dog is Overdue for a Rabies Shot?

When you establish care with a local vet, that office will likely keep you informed of upcoming vaccine and booster requirements for your dog. This may include mailings and/or emails to let you know which vaccines are due, and on what date. While this is an easy way to keep track of your dog's vaccine schedule, it's possible that you will lose track, and your dog will become overdue for a rabies shot.

Outstanding rabies vaccines and/or boosters may cause you to lose access to businesses and travel opportunities that require your dog be up to date on vaccines. Fortunately, even if your dog is overdue, you can easily remedy the situation by scheduling a rabies vaccine appointment with your vet or a facility that administers vaccines for pets. Once your dog receives its necessary shot, they will be up-to-date and can return to their regular activities.

How Often Do Dogs Need Rabies Shots in Florida?

As one of the core vaccines required by law, the state of Florida has rules governing when your dog needs to be vaccinated against the rabies virus. Like cats and other pets, dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies by the time they're four months of age.

While no one is going to come knocking on your door if you don't get the vaccine right away, you could be held liable if your dog contracts rabies and damages another pet, person, or property. Delaying the vaccine can also put your dog's life at risk, so prompt vaccination is strongly recommended.

Where Do Dogs Get the Rabies Shot?

If you're looking for rabies shots in Jacksonville, FL, the first place to start is with your local veterinarian. If you've established care with a local vet—or need to establish care for your puppy—your vet should be able to give your puppy the vaccines it needs to stay up-to-date and protected from not only rabies, but other potential infections.

If you don't know of a local vet or another business that offers rabies vaccinations, you can also type "places to get rabies shots for dogs near me" into an online search engine. This may pull up low-cost or even free rabies vaccine options for your dog, making it easy to get the vaccinations your dog needs on the timeline they need them.

If cost is an issue, you can also consult your local vet to see if any subsidized or affordable vaccine options are available in your area.

Once your dog has its rabies vaccine, you'll be one step closer to going out in the world with your dog without fear of a potentially life-threatening virus. Stay on top of your dog's vaccine schedule and get connected with a local vet to make sure you don't accidentally fall behind.