Dog, Are dogs sore after rabies shot? 

All dog trainers in Virginia encourage pet owners to have their dogs vaccinated. Unfortunately, vaccines fall on debatable grounds. Not a lot of people are fans of vaccines because of the risks involved. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Is it safe to have your dog vaccinated? Can vaccines protect your dog against life-threatening diseases? What exactly happens when your dog gets vaccinated and when should you worry?

Let’s start off with an allergic or adverse reaction. According to the USDA, an adverse reaction is defined as an unintended or undesirable side effect after receiving the vaccine. These side effects will compromise your dog’s health. One example of it is an allergic reaction. Sometimes, allergic reactions can escalate into something more serious that may take your dog’s life. There are also cases wherein the vaccine failed to strengthen your dog’s immune response. As a result, your dog will not be protected against diseases.

The following are some of the common reactions to vaccines and here’s what you can expect:

Zero Side Effects

Ideally, vaccines are only released to the public once they have been carefully studied and have been approved by the government. It’s safe to say vaccines do not pose any danger to your pup’s health. Generally, your dog will go back to its normal self after getting vaccinated. You will not notice anything different and your dog will behave like it normally does. Any abnormal changes in your dog’s behavior should be reported to your veterinarian right away. It’s also common for your dog to feel tired or sore after receiving the vaccine. Don’t worry, these effects are only temporary and should subside the next day.

Mild Side Effects

The most common side effects after receiving a vaccine are discomfort, slight swelling, and a decrease in your dog’s physical activity. The explanation behind these side effects is because the immune system of your dog is attempting to fight off the antigen that was incorporated in the vaccine. One example is the killed rabies virus. If this is the antigen introduced to your dog, your dog’s immune response will be activated. Its body will create antibodies to fight off the killed rabies virus. If your dog gets exposed to that same virus in the future, your dog will be immune to it and the virus will not kill your dog.

It’s also normal for your dog to experience swelling, tiredness, and soreness. These reactions will subside within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. If the vaccine was given intranasally, a mild cold may develop and your dog may sneeze. Again, these side effects are only temporary and you should not worry because in just a couple of days they will subside.

When Should You Start Worrying?

Not all dogs react the same way. Unfortunately, some develop serious allergic reactions. These are the reactions you need to look out for. Although they are uncommon, it’s still important that you are familiar with these allergic reactions so you can notify your veterinarian right away. Examples of adverse reactions that require immediate medical attention include persistent vomiting, persistent diarrhea, collapse (fainting or falling over), swelling in your dog’s eyes, face, and muzzle or if they look puffy or when your dog’s lips and face look enlarged. Some dogs develop rashes, these are itchy, red, and raised bumps under the fur usually manifesting on your dog’s chest, abdomen and trunk. In severe cases, your dog may experience difficulty breathing like when their breath noises are loud or when they look like they are struggling to breathe, or when your dog turns blue.


If your dog experiences severe cases of allergic reactions within minutes or after a few hours from the time it received the vaccine, make sure you notify your vet ASAP. If the symptoms manifest for a long period between the time the vaccine was given then it’s probably not because of the vaccine.

Author: Nick White

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.