What Is the Cost of Dog & Puppy Vaccinations in the UK? (Updated in 2023)
A new pet is a considerable financial commitment. You’ve got a range of things to think about like food, toys, and healthcare, which are all important in keeping them safe, happy, and healthy. One of the most important expenses, however, is vaccinations, and what you might not be aware of is that there isn’t a standard cost for vaccinations. This cost will vary depending on where you live and what veterinary practice you’re with.
This can be a daunting realization, especially if this is your first experience being a pet parent. When you don’t know what to expect it’s difficult to plan. So, we’ve found out everything you might possibly need to know when it comes to puppy and dog vaccinations in the UK, to help you prepare for your exciting journey into pet parenthood.
The Importance of Dog and Puppy Vaccinations
There isn’t a legal requirement to vaccinate your dog in the UK, however, it is recommended by vets in order to keep your dog safe and healthy. The exception to this is the rabies vaccine, which is legally required if your dog is traveling in and out of the UK.
Regular vaccinations ensure your puppy grows into a healthy dog free of infectious diseases. It also prevents them from passing anything onto other animals or even you, as they might be a carrier of transmissible diseases. The diseases these vaccinations protect your dog against are:
- Canine distemper
- Canine parvovirus
- Kennel cough
If you are planning on traveling, your dog will be required to be vaccinated if they are coming with you. They will also often be refused in boarding kennels if their vaccinations aren’t up to date.
What Might Stop Someone Vaccinating Their Dog or Puppy?
In 2021, 23% of dogs (2.2 million) weren’t vaccinated with regular boosters and it might have you questioning why. If vaccinations are so important for their health, why would so many owners not vaccinate their pets? There are serval reasons, and one of the biggest ones is the recent lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners mentioned being unable to get appointments for their dogs or being put on a long waiting list, while some clinics weren’t doing vaccinations at all.
Sometimes life just gets in the way and owners didn’t have time to take their dogs to the vet, or they became an expense they just can’t afford anymore. Other owners were fearful of vaccines and believed that they were unsafe. It’s important to note if you are fearful of this, that all vaccinations have undergone strict safety testing before they are given to your pet. But, if you are ever unsure, speak to your vet about your concerns.
Annual Booster or Restart Cost?
You should expect to pay for a course of primary vaccines if your dog misses their annual vaccination, to catch them back up again. There is a blood test your vet can do, which will show what illnesses your dog has immunity to, called the titer test. Even with a titer test, your dog could still be refused entry into a boarding kennel. They generally require a full vaccination history, so even with this test, you will need to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
There is also the extra cost to consider. People might opt for a titer test in the hopes it’s cheaper than paying for another set of primary vaccinations, but sometimes the cost of a titer test is actually more expensive.
How Much Do Dog and Puppy Vaccinations Cost?
Prices vary when it comes to vaccinations depending on where you live and your dog’s age. Sometimes, expensive areas will offer more expensive prices for vet care, but we’ll go into more detail about this later.
On average, the cost of a primary puppy care vaccination package (which includes both sets of injections) would cost you £68, but kennel cough was generally not offered as part of this package. If it was included, the price would be £78. While most clinics charged extra for kennel cough (as it isn’t considered a core disease) some offered a discount if it was given at the same time as another vaccine.
Your dog will require some annual boosters—the booster for leptospirosis, for example, should be given annually. On the other hand, there will be vaccinations that will be required every 1–3 years, depending on the level of risk.
The average cost for an annual booster is £47, without kennel cough. With the kennel cough booster included, the price is £64.
|Low Price||Average Price||High Price|
|Primary Vaccinations with Kennel Cough||£44||£78||£122|
|Just Kennel Cough (No Primary Vaccinations)||£18||£34||£71|
|Booster Vaccination with Kennel Cough||£42||£64||£116|
|Just Kennel Cough (No Other Boosters)||£15||£32||£66|
Most and Least Expensive Counties for Annual Dog Booster Vaccinations
Interestingly, the cost of vaccinating your dog didn’t necessarily rise in the way you might anticipate. If you live in London, you might be worrying that it will cost you more than anywhere else, because London is notorious for its high cost of living. But, London was not the most expensive place, while Scotland and Wales ended up having some of the most expensive areas to vaccinate your puppy or dog, despite having a lower cost of living.
But the winner and the most expensive place to get an annual booster vaccination was Berkshire, where the average cost was £64.09, while Derbyshire was the cheapest, with an average of £29.67. The point is, it’s in your interest to shop around. If the cost is too steep at your local vet, have a look around and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
How Often Should I Get My Dog or Puppy Vaccinated?
Puppies will typically get vaccinated at 8–10 weeks old, although they can be vaccinated at 4–6 weeks old. The second dose is usually given 2–4 weeks after the first, with a booster being given at 6 or 12 months of age.
You will expect to go back to the vet every year for follow-up vaccinations, but, as we have already mentioned, not all vaccinations will be required annually. How many injections your dog gets will also depend on the health of your dog, and whether there has been an outbreak of something in particular in your area that your dog needs protection from.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog and Puppy Vaccinations?
Pet insurance doesn’t tend to cover vaccinations as they are considered to be routine care. So, this is a cost you are going to need to factor into your budget when you take on a new dog. However, it’s important to know, your dog’s vaccination status does affect your pet insurance costs. A fully vaccinated dog will often mean lower premiums.
This, of course, makes sense when you think about it from the insurance provider’s perspective. If your dog becomes sick from a disease that the vaccinations protect against, they can refuse to pay out. This means the large vet bills will be your responsibility.
What Do You Do if You Can’t Afford the Cost of Vaccinations?
There are options for families that meet certain means-tested criteria. Low-cost dog vaccinations are available through the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and PDSA charities. While they aren’t always free, they aren’t as expensive as it will be to pay without them. The Blue Cross in Victoria, for example, charges £15 for the first two vaccinations and £18 for the follow-up annual boosters.
Charities will require you to live in a certain catchment area and receive certain benefits, like income support, pension credit, or housing benefit. Each charity’s requirements are different, so it’s best to check their individual websites to see what would work for you.
Getting your dog vaccinated could not only save their life, but it will also save you a lot of money down the road if they were to get sick. So, while it might seem like an expense now, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what you might have to pay to save their life.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a cost that is typically covered by insurance, so it’s something you will need to consider before bringing a new pet into your home.
Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock