Rabies Vaccine Cost for Dogs: Here’s the Exact Price!


As responsible dog owners, preserving the well-being and happiness of our cherished dogs is our top priority. An integral aspect of this dedication includes consistently keeping their vital vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine, up to date.

But how much does the rabies vaccine cost for dogs? The answer may surprise you, as it can vary widely depending on several factors.

In this article, we’ll look at the exact vaccination costs by area and what can influence those costs.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals, including us. It’s typically transmitted through the bite or scratch of infected wild animals.

Common carriers include stray dogs, raccoons, bats, and skunks.

Once the virus enters a human or dog’s system, it attacks the brain and causes inflammation, resulting in muscle weakness, headache, fever, and seizures.

If left untreated, rabies can be fatal in humans and animals alike.

Fortunately, the rabies vaccine can prevent this viral disease, which is highly effective in protecting pets and people from this deadly virus.

Who Are the Rabies Carriers, and How Do Dogs Get It?

Rabies can be carried by mammals, including dogs, cats, bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, with dogs being the most common carriers of the virus.

In fact, they’re responsible for the majority of human rabies cases worldwide.

Dogs can get rabies through the bite or scratch of an infected animal that transfers the virus-containing saliva into their body.

This can occur during fights with other pets, encounters with wild animals, or through contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. Once the virus enters the dog’s body, it travels to the brain, where it replicates and causes inflammation.

The dog may not show any symptoms during the incubation period, lasting from a few weeks to several months.

However, as the virus progresses, the dog can develop symptoms of rabies, such as behavioral changes, fever, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.

Eventually, the dog will develop neurological symptoms, such as seizures, paralysis, and aggression, leading to death in almost all cases. If you notice any of these common symptoms in your dog, call your veterinarian immediately.

Dog Vaccinations Cost: How Much Does Rabies Shot for Dogs Cost?

The American Kennel Club reports that a first rabies vaccine for puppies costs between $15 and $20. Additionally, for a three-year rabies vaccination, you can anticipate a price range of $35 to $80.

Canines acquired from animal shelters probably already received the rabies vaccine, unless they’re weeks old; every vet needs proof that the dog is at least 12 weeks old before getting any dog vaccinated. The same goes for cats!

Overall, it’s best that pet parents verify their dog’s vaccination history to make sure they’re current and follow their veterinarian’s recommendations.

Looking at the average cost of rabies vaccination by region within the US, we see the following:

  • Southern USA: West Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Georgia: $15 to $20
  • Western USA: Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii: $18 to $25
  • Midwest & Northeastern USA: Ohio, Kansas, South Dakota, New York, Maryland, and other states: $15 to $25

How to Diagnose and Treat Rabies in Dogs?

Diagnosing and treating rabies in dogs requires prompt action and the involvement of a veterinarian. Here’s a list of steps involved in diagnosing and treating rabies in dogs:


The veterinarian will first evaluate the dog’s symptoms and medical history to determine if they’re at risk of having rabies.

A physical examination and a blood test can be performed to detect the presence of the virus. Sometimes, a brain biopsy can be required to confirm the diagnosis.


If a dog is diagnosed with rabies, there’s no cure, and treatment aims to manage the symptoms and prevent them from spreading to humans or other animals.

The pet will be hospitalized and placed in quarantine to prevent contact with humans and other dogs and cats. Medications like sedatives and painkillers can be given to manage the dog’s symptoms.


Sadly, if a pet is diagnosed with rabies, it will need to be euthanized as the disease is fatal, and there is no cure. This is also necessary to prevent the spread of the disease to other pets and humans.

How to Prevent Rabies in Dogs?

Prevention is the best defense against rabies, so here’s how to prevent rabies in dogs:

Dog Vaccinations

The best way to prevent rabies in dogs is to vaccinate them with rabies vaccines and follow your puppy’s vaccination schedule.

Dogs should receive their first rabies vaccine between 12 and 16 weeks of age, with boosters every 1 to 3 years, depending on the vaccine type and local regulations.

Keep your dog’s vaccination status up to date, and ensure they get their rabies vaccinations per vaccination schedule even if they’re indoor pets.

Avoid Contact With Wild Animals

Dogs can contract rabies from biting or scratching infected wild animals, such as raccoons, bats, and skunks. Therefore, it’s important to keep your puppy away from potentially harmful situations.

Supervise Interactions With Other Unvaccinated Dogs and Cats

Dogs can also get rabies from the bite of infected animals. Supervise your dog’s interactions with other puppies and cats, and ensure they’re up to date on their rabies vaccination.

Secure Garbage and Compost Bins

Garbage and compost bins attract wild animals like raccoons, skunks, and foxes. So, keep your trash cans securely closed and properly dispose of food scraps and other attractants. And keep your dog away from your trash.

Report Suspected Rabies Cases

If you see a wild animal acting strangely, such as being aggressive or uncoordinated, avoid contact and report the animal to the local animal control authorities.

Also, seek veterinary attention immediately if your puppy has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal and has an open wound.

Extra tip: Get pet insurance just in case. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment and medical expenses when your pet gets injured or become sick. Note that pet insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations, including the one against contracting rabies.

Additionally, if you’re on a budget, search for low-cost clinics because the cost of vaccines varies depending on the location and other factors. So, compare the prices of vaccines and opt for the one that fits your budget.

By following these preventive measures, you can help keep your furry friend protected from rabies.

What Other Shots Does My Dog Need?

In addition to the rabies vaccine, there’s a list of other important dog vaccinations. We would suggest getting the following core vaccinations first:

Distemper Vaccine

This vaccine protects dogs against a highly contagious virus that can cause severe respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological problems.

Parvovirus Vaccine

This core vaccine protects against another highly contagious virus that can result in severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration and can be fatal for young puppies.

Adenovirus Vaccine

This vaccine protects against a virus that can cause respiratory infections, liver disease, and other health problems in dogs.

Leptospirosis Vaccine

The leptospirosis vaccine protects against a bacterial infection that can cause kidney and liver failure and other health problems in dogs and humans.

Bordetella Vaccine

This vaccine protects against a bacterial infection known as “kennel cough,” which can cause a persistent cough, sneezing, and nasal discharge.

Canine Influenza Vaccine

This vaccine protects against a highly contagious virus that can cause fever, cough, and other respiratory problems in dogs.

The specific vaccinations your dog needs will depend on their age, lifestyle, and health. So, consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your furry friend.

How Many Rabies Vaccines Does a Dog Need?

Dogs typically need at least one rabies vaccine as a puppy, usually between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Depending on the vaccine type and local regulations, booster shots can be required every 1 to 3 years.

Is There a Difference Between 1-Year and 3-Year Rabies Vaccine?

There’s a difference between a one-year shot and a three-year shot. The one-year vaccine protects against rabies for one year, while the three-year shot protects for three years. The three-year vaccine is often recommended for adult dogs with a stable vaccination history.

Is Dog Rabies Vaccine 100%?

No vaccine is 100% effective. However, the rabies vaccine for dogs is highly effective and provides long-lasting protection against the virus. Still, dogs can still contract rabies, even if they’re vaccinated.

How Long Is Rabies Vaccine Good for Dogs?

The duration of protection of a rabies vaccine depends on the vaccine type and local regulations. The rabies vaccine is generally effective for at least one year, but some can protect for up to three years.

However, if your dog gets a three-year rabies shot, you will still need to visit the vet office for booster shoots in the future.

What if Your Dog is Late on Rabies Shot?

If your puppy is late on their first shot, vaccinate them as soon as possible. Depending on how late the shot is, your vet can recommend repeatedly starting the vaccination series to ensure your dog is fully protected.

Some states may have specific laws and regulations regarding late vaccinations, so check with your local authorities or vet.

Dog Vaccinations Cost: Final Thoughts

The cost of rabies vaccines for dogs can vary depending on factors, such as location, vet, and extra services. However, the vaccine cost is small compared to the average cost of treating rabies. Moreover, you can find low-cost vet clinics near you and save money.

Finally, note that keeping your pet up to date on their vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine, isn’t only a legal requirement in many areas but also a vital part of responsible pet ownership.

So, stay informed on the cost of the rabies vaccine and other key pet care expenses, and get your dog vaccinated according to the recommended puppy vaccination schedule by experts.

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