I am wondering if people here sometimes don't vaccinate their dogs.
Also, do you give internal flea prevention?
Our dog (a five-year-old lab-pit mix) was fully vaccinated as a puppy but as I started researching the topic more I started giving him fewer vaccines. Now the only one he receives is the rabies vaccination every three years as required by the county I live in. My vet automatically gave the rabies vax every year, but I requested he receive it every three years instead, which is the minimum he will do. I know you can have titers drawn (not all vets do them but if you call around you can probably find one who will) and make your decision based on their antibody status. It is a little more pricey but not too bad. I also do not give the dog any sort of flea treatments, internal or external. We have never seen a flea on him or anywhere in our house. If he did get fleas I would treat it naturally and only turn to the stronger medications as a last resort. One thing he does get is a monthly heartworm medication. Our dog is an indoor dog that spends a lot of time outside with us. He is never really outside by himself though, except for a few minutes to go potty, and then he wants to come right back inside to be with us. If he lived outside most of the time I might do things a little bit differently. We never board him - we are lucky enough to have family and friends who live in the area that are happy to watch him if we have to leave him for a weekend now and then, but we try to take him pretty much everywhere we go - but if you have to leave your dog at a kennel from time to time that would be a consideration too.
Edited to add that I did lose a puppy to parvo once. I was only 13 so I can't remember exactly how old she was, but we thought her previous owners had her vaccinated and they hadn't. I would do parvo and distemper for puppies, but probably not annually for their entire lives.
We stopped vaccinating our younger dog (currently almost 11) at 2 and our older dog (currently 14) at 5, when we got him. The younger one still gets a 3 year rabies shot, older one doesn't. If I got a puppy (unlikely) I would have to do some research but right now I'm leaning towards a (possibly modified) puppy series of vaccines, and maybe another set at a year old or so. If I got another older dog typically the rescue/shelter would have give them vaccines to bring them "up to date" so I would probably not do additional ones.
Re: flea medication, we only had a problem with fleas once when our dog picked them up from a newly-adopted playmate who came to our house. Since then we've reduced vaccines and other medication and switched to a raw diet and haven't had any other issues despite frequent visits to a dog park for several years and a couple of stays at a boarding kennel. I think this is largely geographical though, in some areas it may be a very good idea and if I tried going without and had repeated issues with fleas I would consider the medication.
Yes, and my kids too. ;-) I just bought the 7 in 1 shots from the farm supply store and gave my dogs their shots myself. I'm a nurse and this was easy to do for me, not to mention it was only $5.99 per dog. I still need to get their rabies shots at the clinic because it's a live virus and needs to be handled by a vet.
As puppies, yes, I get the recommended shots. Considering that I want my dog to be able to participate in dog sports, accompany me out and about, and walk in the woods with me I think vaccines are a must.
I don't believe that vaccines every year for everything is necessary, however, once full adulthood is reached. I have a vet who is cautious about vaccines, doesn't do rabies along with anything else on a visit, and is generally a great vet. He spoke in depth with me about how vaccine challenges are done, and what it really means for a one year vs three year vaccine.
While I think not giving some vaccines is choice, not giving rabies at least every 3 years is dangerous. Besides the risk of the disease, there's the risk of being immediatly put down due to unknown vaccine status in case of an accidental bite or scratch.