When you become a puppy parent it can be incredibly exciting and a tiny bit terrifying at the same time. There's this little animal with its own heart, brain, and personality that you are now in charge of. They look to you for just about everything. They need you for food, water, protection, and proper health care.

You have friends, work, and family. They have you. For some, becoming a pet parent is pretty simple and a relatively easy process. For others, it takes planning, patience, and most importantly...training.

Feeding them good quality dog food, and making sure they drink enough water are incredibly important. There's also making sure you keep them safe with the proper vaccinations. There are some vaccines that you are legally obligated to get for your puppy in the state of Iowa and rabies is one of them.

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Did you know it's illegal to own a dog at a certain age that does not have a rabies vaccine in Iowa?


When Does Your Dog Need a Rabies Vaccine

My wife and I are the owners of this little girl named Winona. We call her Nona for short and she came into our lives this past October. Our little puppy isn't exactly little anymore and she's growing up way too fast! If you notice on Winona's collar, there's her pink name tag, and then a green tag. She just turned 4 months old which means she was ready for her rabies shot.

That rabies shot tag is something she will wear forever while living in Iowa.

According to Animal Law, in the state of Iowa

Every owner of a dog shall obtain a rabies vaccination for such animal. It shall be unlawful for any person to own or have a dog in the person's possession, 6 months of age or over, which has not been vaccinated against rabies.

After talking to Winona's vet, she was old enough and big enough to get her rabies shot at 4 months old. We didn't want to wait until the last minute to get it, so we went ahead and got her shot as soon as we could. If your dog is over 6 months old, you'll want to get them their rabies shot ASAP. It not only helps protect them against possible wild animals but it also helps keep other humans safe if your dog happens to attack someone.

Hopefully, that never happens but it's important to remember it is your job to help keep other people safe around your pet.

Animal Law also mentions that

"The veterinarian shall issue a tag with the certificate of vaccination, and such tag shall at all times be attached to the collar of the dog."

Even if you have the certificate on hand, leaving the tag on your dog's collar can help let other people know that your dog has been vaccinated for rabies. So it's better to just put it on the collar and leave it there until you get an updated shot and can replace it with the new one.

Some states have different standards from Iowa. For example, Kentucky. In Kentucky, a dog must be vaccinated by 4 months old. Maine wants owners to vaccinate their dogs within 30 days after the dog turns 3 months old. Nebraska also requires vaccinations by the 3rd month. In Wisconsin, dogs are required a rabies vaccine no later than 5 months.

It's a little bit crazy to me that some states have zero rabies shot requirements. According to Animal Law, Montana has no laws or regulations regarding rabies shots. Some of these states recommend getting your dog a rabies shot but it's not necessarily required.

If you're a pet parent I hope you and your dog have a happy and healthy holiday season!

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