Vaccination Schedules

There are two main camps when it comes to dog vaccines: the traditional vaccine schedule and Dr. Dodd’s minimal vaccine protocol.


Traditional Vaccine Schedule

earlier start to puppy shots (6-8 weeks)

contains 3-5 vaccines

re-vaccination every year regardless of immunity

Dr. Dodd’s Minimal Vaccine Protocol

later start to puppy shots (9-10 weeks)

contains 2 vaccines

titer tests every 3 years to re-confirm immunity


We use a combination of these two schedules.

mid-range start to puppy shots (8-9 weeks)

first dose contains 5 vaccines

titer tests instead of automatic yearly re-vaccination

We recommend a combination of these two schedules listed above - giving the MINIMUM number of vaccines needed to guarantee immunity over a lifetime, while vaccinating against multiple known diseases early on so that your puppy can be a social butterfly with minimal risk.

Click here or on the picture above to open the full PDF.

Here are links to additional information on vaccines.

Considering "Non-Core" Vaccines

Leptospirosis is a non-core vaccine that has document adverse reactions. Scroll down for more Leptospirosis resources.

Bordetella (kennel cough)

  • Know Your Bordetella Vaccine

    • Shows that there are 9 different Bordetella vaccines, some of which also include other diseases. Explains the importance of finding out which vaccine your vet carries, in order to prevent double-vaccination for something else.

    • “I do not suggest parainfluenza, adenovirus-2, Bordetella, or even canine influenza, Lyme and leptospirosis vaccines, unless a local endemic or other high exposure risk circumstances exist. I certainly do not want a dog given all of these vaccines in one veterinary visit.”

      Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet/NutriScan

  • Q&A with Dr. Dodds: Kennel Cough Complex Vaccines

Canine Influenza (flu)

Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to the Canine Influenza vaccine. Discusses the original flu strain and the new Asian isolate strain, symptoms, diagnostic testing, and the lack of testing to evaluate whether a single dose will produce an immune response.


  • Coronavirus Vaccine for Dogs

    • Explains the 2 strains of coronavirus.

    • Discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment for CCV (canine enteric coronavirus).

    • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) position - “Neither the MLV vaccine nor the killed CRCoV vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce disease caused by a combination of CRCoV and CPV-2. Only CPV-2 vaccines have been shown to protect dogs against a dual-virus challenge.“

    • World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) position - “Not Recommended. CCV infections are usually subclinical or cause mild clinical signs. Prevalence of confirmed CCV disease does not justify use of currently-available vaccines. There is no evidence that existing vaccines would protect against pathogenic variants of CCV. Variant strains of this virus have been reported to cause severe systemic disease in adult dogs and puppies in various parts of the world, but it is unclear whether the available vaccines would protect against these variants. The identification of coronavirus with a test kit does not necessarily mean it is the cause of disease.”

  • Canine Non-Core Vaccines

    Summary of non-core vaccines, with a small section regarding the Coronavirus vaccine.

Lyme Disease

Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to Lyme disease. Explains low risk and “hot spot” areas, the percentage of dogs who will develop the disease, and the research available to evaluate the immune response to the vaccine, when given.

  • Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs

    Looks at the many types of ticks, their locations, and the diseases each one carries. Also explains that most tick-borne bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, and that the bacteria are not closely enough related to Lyme for the vaccine to offer cross-protection from these bacteria. Lists the symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, and offers insight from two respected experts.

  • Dr. Schultz on Lyme Vaccine

    “I believe it is irresponsible to suggest that all dogs in low-risk exposure states should be vaccinated. Veterinarians should know, based on diagnoses in their clinic and other clinics in the area (town), how common the disease would be and they should base their judgment to vaccinate on risk, not on a statement that all dogs in a particular low-risk area need Lyme vaccine!”

Rattlesnake Vaccine

  • Canine Non-Core Vaccines

    Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to the Rattlesnake vaccine. Explains which species of rattlesnake are & are not included in the vaccine, the schedule for vaccinating, and rattlesnake avoidance training as an alternative.

  • Yes or No to Snake Vaccines?

Titer Testing

What is a Titer Test?

“A titer test is a simple blood test that measures a dog or cat’s antibodies to vaccine viruses (or other infectious agents). For instance, your dog may be more resistant to a virus whereas your neighbor’s dog may be more prone to it. Titers accurately assess protection to the so-called “core” diseases (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats), enabling veterinarians to judge whether a booster vaccination is necessary. All animals can have serum antibody titers measured instead of receiving vaccine boosters. The only exception is rabies re-vaccination. There is currently no state that routinely accepts a titer in lieu of the rabies vaccine, which is required by law.”

Dr. Jean Dodds

How to Order a Titer Test for Your Dog

Option 1 - Find a vet who will run a titer test

Some veterinary offices perform titer tests on a regular basis, either in-house or sending blood to an outside lab. If your primary veterinarian doesn’t offer this, you can use a holistic vet just for this purpose, and have the results shared with your primary vet.

Here is a list of vets who follow the Protect the Pets process. There are many other vets who can provide titer testing as well.

Option 2 - Protect the Pets

Dr. John Robb at Kansas State University offers titer testing by mail. (Here is the process.)

  1. Kansas State requests 2cc's of serum for testing. Have your vet draw 4 cc's of whole blood and spin it for 5-10 minutes in a serum separator tube.

  2. Leave the blood in the serum separator tube.

  3. Once you have the blood sample home, complete the contact form at the bottom of this page.

  4. Once payment has been made, Dr. Robb will be notified and submit your information.

  5. You will receive two emails: a pre-paid UPS label, and a submission form.

  6. Place the submission form and the sample in a bubble wrap envelope or box, apply the label to the package, and ship directly to the lab.

  7. No refrigeration is required.

  8. Drop your sample off in a UPS pick-up box or take it to the nearest UPS store for shipping.

  9. It will take approximately two weeks after shipping to get the results.

  10. The results will be forwarded to your email address.

  11. If there are any problems call or text Dr. Robb (203-731- 4251). Please, do not call the Lab directly. 

Option 3 - Hemopet

Dr. Jean Dodds runs the Hemopet Animal Blood Bank and Greyhound Rescue/Adoption Program.

She offers titer testing and several other blood tests for pets. The process is similar to Dr. Robb’s Protect the Pets above. Your veterinarian may be required to submit your form to Hemopet.

Click here for information, or click here to go directly to the test order form.

“Hemopet’s Hemolife Diagnostics is world renowned for its titer testing. What differentiates Hemopet is that the results of each sample are reviewed and reported by the Hemolife staff on our unique Cloud-Based computer technology Laboratory Information System (LIS). They are then personally reviewed and interpreted by Dr. Jean Dodds and two trained veterinary colleagues, Drs. Andrew Zuckerman and Gary Richter. Based on pet’s species, age and species, Hemopet will will provide you with suggestions if the pet should receive a booster shot.”

More Info…

  • FAQ’s About Titers and Vaccination Protocols by Dr. Jean Dodds

  • More on Vaccine Titer Testing

    “Some veterinarians have challenged the validity of using vaccine titer testing to assess the immunologic status of animals against the common, clinically important infectious diseases. With all due respect, this represents a misunderstanding of what has been called the “fallacy of titer testing”, because research has shown that once an animal’s titer stabilizes it is likely to remain constant for many years…” - Dr. Dodds

  • Avoid Unnecessary Vaccines with Titer Tests

    What is a titer? Are there any downsides to titer testing? (This is part 3 of a 4-part series on over-vaccination.)

  • Nosodes Instead of Vaccines?

    “Homeopathic nosodes are often touted as alternatives to conventional vaccines. In fact, I often suggest the homeopathic nosode remedies, Lyssin, along with Thuja, to help blunt the effects of potential and actual adverse vaccine reactions. However, I do not recommend nosodes to prevent or treat infectious diseases. They do not generate measurable humoral immunity…” - Dr. Dodds

The Lepto Vaccine

Unless your puppy is considered high risk for leptospirosis, we recommend against vaccinating for lepto.

Problems Associated with the Lepto Vaccine

  • “There’s still a fairly high percentage of dogs that do not respond to the 4-way vaccine. In addition, of all the bacterin vaccines, leptospirosis causes the most adverse reactions.”

    Dr. Ron Schultz, Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

Resources for High Risk Dogs who Need the Lepto Vaccine

Vaccine Reaction Resources

Click here or on the picture above to open the full PDF.