Recently, it has been suggested that dogs receive flu shots to protect them (and the other pups they encounter) from CIV (Canine Influenza Virus).  Is this vaccination necessary or is someone trying to make a quick buck?  This week, Wisconsin Pet Care will debunk the myths associated with this topic, as well as provide the information you need to make the best decision for your pet.


Plainly put: The flu vaccination is NOT at all necessary to protect the health and wellness of your dog.


There are “core” vaccinations that are important for your dog to receive.  In fact, a yearly rabies vaccination is required, by law, in most states.  However, over-vaccination has been a large concern for many pet health advocates – who maintain that dogs are born with an immune system to naturally protect them from viruses.  And while there hasn’t been a widespread canine flu epidemic in many years, the medical community believes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  However, the correct cliche in this instance would be: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it…the immune system, that is.


How do you know if your dog may have the flu? Cough, runny nose, fever and lethargy are all common symptoms of CIV (and while these are similar to human symptoms, CIV is not a virus that humans can contract).  The flu will last about a week and your dog will be contagious the entire time (so keep him away from other dogs as much as possible).  Under ordinary circumstances, your dog’s body is fully-capable of eradicating this virus.


What are some things you can do to keep your dog in tip-top shape?


*Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition!  It is the basis for overall health and wellness.


*Stress less.  A dog’s health is greatly impacted by his environment.  If he is stressed, his immunity becomes compromised.  Vaccinations cause their own metabolic stress, which makes the whole idea counter-intuitive; the added stress actually decreases immunity (leaving your pup susceptible to viruses and other illness).


*Exercise more.  Not only will getting outdoors for a walk give both of you a chance to get some fresh air, exercise actually helps ease stress and anxiety (in both dogs and humans).


*Clean environment.  Indoor air quality is not only wreaking havoc on your health, but it also affects your pets.  Consider purchasing an air purifier, refraining from spraying air fresheners and limiting use of flea and tick chemical prevention.

What are your thoughts on the increase of available vaccinations for your pet?