Most states require that dogs get the rabies vaccine. In 2023, the average cost of a rabies shot for dogs ranges from roughly $40 to $75, and your pet will need a series of three initial shots, as well as annual boosters.
The cost depends on several factors, such as which round it is (they’ll need more than one), and where you get it done.
Let’s get into the specifics of this crucial part of your pup’s vaccination schedule.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- What is rabies?
- How does the rabies vaccine work?
- How much does a rabies shot for dogs cost?
- How often do dogs need rabies shots?
- Does pet insurance cover the costs of rabies vaccines?
- What are the potential side effects of rabies shots?
What is rabies?
Rabies is a fatal and aggressive viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, most commonly wild animals—like raccoons and skunks.
This virus can be transferred through a small bite from an infected animal. It may take up to 12 weeks before a dog shows any signs of being infected. Doctors can only treat rabies before these symptoms occur.
After experiencing symptoms, a rabid pup can become belligerent or paralyzed before passing away in as little as two days. Thankfully, rabies is preventable through vaccines.
How does the rabies vaccine work?
Just like other dog vaccinations, the rabies vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce a protective response. This defense guards your dog if they’re ever exposed to the virus.
Besides rabies, essential (or “core”) vaccines typically include DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza). Non-core vaccines, given based on the risk factors of the dog—like their lifestyle—could include Leptospirosis, Bordetella (kennel cough), Lyme vaccine, and Canine influenza.
How much does a rabies shot for dogs cost?
On average the cost of a rabies shot can range roughly $40 to $75 per dose, low-cost vaccination clinics or animal shelters may offer it at a reduced price, especially when included in a package with other essential pet vaccinations.
Keep in mind that your dog will need multiple rounds of shots, plus boosters.
The cost of the rabies vaccine can vary based on factors, such as:
- Where you take your dog for their shots
- Whether it’s administered at a veterinary clinic or a low-cost vaccination clinic
- If it’s part of a vaccination package
- Which round of vaccines it is—for example the three-year vaccine is often more expensive than the one-year vaccine
How often do dogs need rabies shots?
There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all-paws puppy vaccination schedule. Make these decisions together with your vet.
Lemonade’s favorite vet expert, Dr. Stephanie Liff, recommends that pups receive their first rabies vaccine at or after 12 weeks of age, then annually for adventurous dogs who spend a lot of time in higher risk areas—like the woods—or every 3 years for other dogs.
But this will also depend on the laws in your state, and the specific risk factors of your pooch.
Does pet insurance cover the costs of rabies vaccines?
Yes, pet insurance usually can include wellness coverage for vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine, when they’re administered or supervised by a licensed vet. But the specifics will depend on the coverages you chose when signing up, as well as the deductibles and co-insurance you selected.
When you include the Puppy/Kitten Preventative Care Package on your Lemonade Pet policy, for example, your pup will be eligible for coverage on six vaccines—which could include rabies shots—for up to $150 per year.
This package could also help cover the costs associated with microchip implantation, spay/neuter procedures, heartworm prevention (like a heartworm test), and so much more.
Lemonade’s basic Preventative Care Package also includes three vaccinations—for up to $75 each year—which could help cover the costs of booster shots that your dog needs during their adult life as part of your pup’s rabies prevention plan.
What are the potential side effects of rabies shots?
While side effects post-rabies shot aren’t super common, some dogs might experience specific symptoms after their vaccination, including:
- A mild fever
- Reduced appetite
In rare cases, they may have an allergic reaction that requires immediate veterinary attention. Keep in mind that the benefits of protecting your dog from rabies and other infectious diseases like—parvo and distemper—far outweigh the potential risk of side effects.
Before we go…
Investing in pet insurance early in your pup’s life can help provide your fur fam with extensive coverage—from core vaccines, to unforeseen accidents and illnesses as they grow up into adult dogs.
Did you know that at Lemonade Pet you can cover your pooch with dog insurance from the time they’re two months old?
Click below to get your quote started today.
A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.