Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

What? My Dog Needs a Flu Shot?

I have an adorable four-year-old black miniature poodle. There are times I have to travel and need to take her to doggie day care. We actually have a really great place to board her for a day. But here is the problem. Now, the boarding places are requiring a canine flu shot in order to board.

OK, I know my 90-year-old dad needs a flu shot, but my dog?  I am reluctant. She just had a rabies shot and still has a big knot on her shoulder that hasn’t completely healed.

So I asked my vet. She said there is no canine flu outbreak in our area, but if I want to board my pet, many places are now requiring the shot.

According to the CDC, dog flu is “a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.” The virus was first observed in horses and has now spread to dogs. It is highly contagious and spreading rapidly in some parts of the country. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, and fever. A small percentage of dogs can develop severe disease, but very few dogs actually die from the virus.


The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends the vaccine if your dog is in frequent contact with other dogs. Dogs at risk are those that board, go to day care, shelters or travel. People who handle an infected dog can transmit the virus to another dog, but the virus does not transmit from dog to people.

The vaccine is given in a pair of shots weeks apart. Each shot is anywhere from $25.00 to $50.00 and there is no local drug store offering them for free or at a discount.

So to vaccinate or not? That is the question. The decision should probably take into account where you live (is there an outbreak) and how much your dog interacts with other dogs.

For me, I am forgoing the vaccine. Not convinced my dog needs it or that it is good to pump her full of a number of vaccines. This does mean, however, that I have to be created with my dog care!

What will you do?

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  • Linda Mintle

    Kent, From what I read and from the discussions with my vet, the flu shot is best when dogs are around other dogs like in your daycare and boarding. And there are areas of the country where the flu has had breakouts. My part of the country was not one of those areas which was part of my thinking to forego the shot. My dog also had a very bad reaction to the dental vaccine and that was stopped immediately. So I think most people have to weigh the risk with the benefit.

  • Kent Leung

    I was considering offering vaccine at my new dog daycare the Boston Dog Company. I understand that you chose not to utilize the flu shot for your dog. Do you believe many people would be interested in flu shots for their dogs. I just want to offer comprehensive pet care, but I have to consider if there is an existing demand. Please let me know your thoughts. If you want to know more about my services or my customer demographic please visit my website at http://www.BostonDog.Co or I am not sure if you know the answer, but your advice is appreciated. Thank you for any time and consideration.

    One of my main concerns is having a pet utilize the shot who has a serious anxiety to shots. Is the reward worth the risk of trauma for the dog?

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