Is Your Dog Too Old for A Rabies Shot?-Read to Know

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If your dog’s rabies vaccine is overdue, but you think that your dog is too old to have it again. Then what about you and your surrounding individual’s health?


We have penned down this precise yet informative guide to give you a better direction. After going through many overwhelming opposite views, we are sharing unbiased knowledge to let you decide whether your dog is too old for a rabies shot or not?


What Are the Necessary Factors to Consider Before Vaccinating Your Senior Dog?

Suppose you had several concerns whenever you came across the idea of vaccinating your old fluffy partner. So after spending several hours of research, we have short-listed some of the basic yet important points that you should consider before vaccinating your dog.

Dog too old for vaccination factors


1. Overall Health of Your Older Dog:

As your dog ages, its immune system might get weak, just like us. So, it would be best if you asked yourself these questions before taking your canine to the hospital for vaccination.

  • Will your dog be able to bear the rabies shot? 
  • Is he healthy enough to cope with its after-effects?
  • Has your canine been taking any other medication?
  • Does your senior dog have any other chronic disease? 
  • If so? Then ask your vet if the rabies vaccine will make it more progressive or not? 


2. Genetics of Your Canine Breed:

Not every senior dog’s immunity is weak. It mostly depends on its lifestyle, living setup, and genetics. You may find a 12 years old German shepherd more active than any other small breed dog.


3. Types of Vaccination:

Rabies is one of the core-vaccines; mandatory for a healthy dog. But it is better to consult your veteran before administering it to your senior dog. Also, you can check some of the authentic sites to know about the conventional recommendations for this vaccination. If you are new to pets, you must know about the two basic vaccinations for canines. i.e.


  1. Core vaccine-essential for good health
  2. Non-core vaccine-vary for each canine (depending on their lifestyle modifications.)


4. Booster Dose and Revaccination:

Every dog should have its first rabies shot at not less than 12 weeks, at the age of 3. A dog rabies vaccination completes after the 28 days of immunization along with its booster dose-Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

You should check your senior dog juvenile immunization history to know if it’s previously vaccinated or not. It will help you know about your canine’s immune strength and will help you to judge the present need for vaccination. Most experts suggest administering rabies shots annually. But also after consulting your local vet. He will advise you according to the current health status of your older dog. 


How Can Titer Test Help You Prevent Your Senior Dog From Rabies Vaccination?


Well, a serologic titer test is a blood test that will tell you about the antibodies count in your dog’s blood. You can use this test to know about the presence of rabies antibodies in your senior dog’s blood. Most vets suggest avoiding booster dose or revaccination if there are antibodies for rabies in your canine’s blood.


Takedown: Always go to the approved rabies serology laboratories for testing dogs to get authentic results.


Validity of Serological Titers:

You may get excited after knowing that your older buddy is healthy and does not need a vaccination dose. But you might not be able to keep this happiness for the long run. It is because:

Dog too old for a rabies shot

  1. Some other immunological factors also play a pivotal role in combating rabies. This serological testing alone cannot detect the efficacy of these factors. So you cannot only rely on this test. But it does play an important role in giving you an insight into your dog’s immunity.
  2. Another point to consider is that the titer test is not acceptable at all places. You will need the vaccination certificate for your canine’s smooth entry. Such as dog daycare centers and some public places like restaurants etc.


Is Your Dog Too Old for A Rabies Shot? – Veterinarian’s Opinion


You will find contrasting opinions regarding the rabies vaccination for your senior dog. Some of them will say that older dogs have weak immunity. So they need to be revaccinated. While others (mostly younger vets) suggest you consider your dog’s titer result and health. And let your vet decide if your dog needs it or not.

Vet Vaccinating Dog for Rabies


What Are The Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine In Older Dogs? 


Like every medicine, vaccines also have some downsides. But the risk of the severity of these side effects depends on the health of your canine, dosage form, quantity, and other variable factors that directly or indirectly affect your canine.


Common Side-Effects of Rabies Vaccines:


These side-effects may show up right after an hour or two of vaccination. These side effects last for 24-30 hours. Also, these bothersome effects are easy to treat. Your dog can cope with it in a day or two. Some of the common side-effects are:

  • Fever, chills, and headache
  • Laziness, drowsiness, and flu
  • Swelling at the injection site
  • Body ache, muscle cramps
  • Slight allergic reactions (can be adverse)

Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine

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Adverse Side-Effects of Rabies Vaccines: 

If these common side-effects persist for more than 36 hours, they become progressive. Adverse reactions are not easy to treat and become progressive with time. These side effects can be deadly for your dog if not treated properly.


  • Carcinomas-uncontrolled cell growth
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- joint disorders
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s disease-metabolic diseases
  • Dermatitis, alopecia-skin diseases
  • Uncontrolled urination
  • Aggressive behaviors

Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine

Takedown: A practicing veterinarian-Patricia Jordan, has mentioned all the critical aspects of the rabies vaccine affecting your dog in her article. She mentions the 65 ways the rabies vaccine can harm your dog with solid justifications.



Q: How Can You Care For Your Senior Dog after Vaccination?


Follow these following steps to avoid side-effects of the rabies vaccine for your dog.


  • Closely monitor your senior buddy right after the vaccination.
  • Follow your vet’s advice to avoid any unpleasant experience.
  • Avoid OTC medicine and seek professional advice.
  • If your senior pet is on any special medication, consult your vet before giving it those medicines.
  • If symptoms persist and get progressive, immediately take your dog to the hospital.
  • Your vet may suggest some antihistamines to monitor adverse post-vaccination effects.

an old dog suspected of rabies Dog



Bottom Line: What If You Over-Vaccinated Your Dog?


We understand that the law and enforcement encourage rabies vaccination for human safety and health. But animal life is also a major concern that should not be neglected. Mostly older dogs are sensitive to medications. What if your dog is healthy and you over-vaccinate your canine?

We suggest you do your research and consult your vet before taking any final decision. Let us know what your take on revaccinating your senior canine is?

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