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Where can I get vaccines for my dog?

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to vaccinate your dog at home? Our Pittsboro vets advise against it, and will explain why it's important to have a veterinarian vaccinate your pup. 

Can I vaccinate my dog at home?

As a responsible dog owner, you know it's important to have your dog vaccinated. If you've ever wondered whether you can effectively complete this task at home (without a veterinarian) instead of going to a veterinary clinic, you likely wouldn't be alone. 

Though you may be able to find at-home vaccines to give your dog, there are a few issues to consider. These include:

  • Where you would purchase the at-home vaccines and whether you could trust that they were produced and stored safely
  • Whether you have the medical training and knowledge in veterinary care to safely vaccinate your pet
  • Knowing which specific shots your dog will need and the correct dosage needed to protect them against deadly infectious diseases
  • Which shots you should avoid because your dog may not require them or may have an allergic reaction 
  • Whether you can safely administer the shots yourself

Over-the-counter pet vaccinations, including those designed for dogs, have the potential to cause infection or urticarial reaction in pets within hours of being administered.

Anaphylactic shock is the most common and most serious type of reaction and can be fatal for dogs if they don’t receive immediate treatment. Signs of anaphylactic shock in dogs include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Reduced breathing rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Coma

A professional veterinarian will have medications on hand to help reverse adverse reactions to any vaccine. This is why our vets recommend having a veterinarian vaccinate your dog, or having the shots administered at a vaccination clinic staffed by qualified veterinarians. 

What about visiting a dog vaccination clinic?

Prior to receiving any vaccinations, your dog or puppy should have a complete physical exam done by a veterinarian. It's beneficial to schedule your dog's vaccination appointment at the same veterinary clinic they come to for their physical exams, as you can be sure the veterinary team at your vet's office will have your dog's medical history and records on hand. 

This information will be valuable to your vet, who can then assess your dog's medical status, history, lifestyle, and other factors to determine which vaccines and dosages they should receive. 

Are there any vaccines my dog must be given?

Most states and local jurisdictions have legislated that dogs must have the rabies vaccination administered by or under the supervision of a veterinarian. Additionally, it’s not legal to administer vaccines to pets that belong to someone else or to be paid to administer vaccinations if you are not a qualified veterinarian.

Where can I get vaccines for my dog?

While numerous retailers sell vaccines for pets, our veterinarians don’t recommend trusting vaccines purchased for at-home use. Some vaccines you can purchase to administer at home include the following shots:

  • Adenovirus (Type 1 and Type 2)
  • Distemper
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvovirus

Some optional vaccinations, such as the Bordetella vaccine, can also be purchased by dog owners to administer at home. However, a vet should determine whether your pup needs these optional vaccines.

Pros & Cons of Giving Your Dog Vaccines at Home

If you’re considering the advantages and disadvantages of vaccinating your dog at home, here are some points to consider:

Pros of Home Vaccines

  • Can be administered without leaving the house, and without needing to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
  • Can seem cost-effective.
  • Shots can be administered at your convenience.

Cons of Home Vaccines

  • There is an increased risk of injury with at-home vaccines.
  • If you hit a vein with the syringe, this can cause embolisms, nerve damage or tissue sloughing.
  • Your dog may experience an increase in allergic reactions with home vaccinations. 
  • The origin of the vaccines isn’t verified or guaranteed, and you can't be sure if the vaccines have been stored, handled or transported safely. 
  • You do not receive training on how to safely vaccinate your dog at home, or a certified proof of vaccination certificate.
  • You may be unable to restrain your dog to administer the vaccine safely or properly.
  • Your dog may experience a severe reaction and require urgent care or immediate emergency medical attention.
  • These cheaper vaccination options may contain additives, which can cause cancer or immunological diseases that are costly to treat (and that may prove fatal).
  • Certain vaccines need to be administered by a vet, as legislated by local and state laws.
  • You may waste money on vaccines that expire before you use them.
  • You may require a prescription for needles and syringes for dog vaccines.


To best protect your dog and ensure their safety, all pet vaccinations should be administered by your primary veterinarian or at a veterinary vaccination clinic that also performs examinations. The risk to your dog’s health is not worth the amount of money you may initially save by vaccinating your dog at home.

Administering vaccines at home can potentially cause adverse reactions and accidents that may lead to serious injury and death of your pet. In addition, injuries or illnesses caused by vaccines of unknown origin and efficacy can be costly to treat, negating any short-term financial benefit. 

If you are concerned about the cost of vaccinations, contact your veterinarian. They can offer guidance as to which vaccines are most important for your dog to receive, and when, so you can effectively budget for your pooch's preventive veterinary care. 

Our vets are always happy to answer any questions you may have about vaccines, their effectiveness when administered by a qualified veterinary professional, and how they can protect your dog from several deadly diseases and illnesses. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog due for their routine vaccinations? Contact our Pittsboro veterinarians today to schedule an appointment.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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