What Covid-19 Has Taught Us About Dog Vaccines

November 18, 2020

dog in savannah - vaccinesPet Camp requires all dog campers to be up to date on 4 vaccines:

  • Rabies
  • DHPP (sometimes referred to as distemper)
  • Bordetella (for canine cough)
  • CIV (dog flu)

We think requiring dogs to be current on these vaccines is essential for their health and safety as well as the health and safety of the dogs they interact with BOTH at Pet Camp and elsewhere in San Francisco. There are other pet care facilities and some shelters/rescue groups that don’t follow our stringent vaccine protocols and specifically exclude CIV (dog flu) from their required vaccines. We’ve always thought this was wrong and think the world’s experience with the novel coronavirus and Covid-19 supports our view. Here’s why.

Why you should vaccinate your dog against dog flu (CIV)?

dog training in meadow - vaccinesWhen there is a naïve population of dogs or people (that is, a group that has not been exposed to a virus previously or recently) that becomes exposed to a virus, there is no natural immunity and the virus spreads both rapidly AND has a high morbidity rate (dogs or people get sick) and sometimes a high mortality rate (dogs or people die). This is exactly what humans are now facing with the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, though thankfully the mortality rate is not what it was, AND what dogs have faced in the past with CIV.

Thankfully, there is a vaccine for CIV. Yes, the vaccine is not perfect (no vaccine is) BUT it is clear that when the majority of the dog population is vaccinated against CIV and a dog happens to get sick, the illness is not as severe AND the spread of the illness to other dogs is lessened. Seems that these are pretty good reasons to vaccinate an urban dog against CIV and pretty much the argument the world is making as to why we need a Covid-19 vaccine.

What’s the counter argument? 

dog in meadow - vaccinesFirst, some argue that since the vaccine is not fully effective, why bother? See our response above that the argument that no vaccine is perfect is not an excuse not to administer a vaccine. Second, they argue that CIV is not always around; it comes and goes so next time it comes around, dogs can get vaccinated then. Our response to that? How about Covid-19? The longer dogs remain unexposed and unvaccinated against CIV, the more and more naïve the population becomes, SO when CIV comes back (and it will), guess what? That’s right, you’ve got the potential for a doggie pandemic!

So, help us and the other pet care facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area that require dogs to be fully vaccinated by both vaccinating your dog AND asking the pet care facilities and rescue/shelter organizations that are not fully vaccinating dogs to change their practices to protect all of San Francisco’s dog population.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy.


Pet Camp is proud to be the San Francisco Bay Area’s most award winning pet care facility.  For over 20 years Pet Camp has been providing the best pet care in San Francisco.  If you are San Francisco pet parent with questions about overnight care for your dog or cat, doggie day care, pet transportation, dog training or pet transportation, give us a call. New campers get 50% off their 1st 3 days.

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