How much does a rabies vaccine cost for dogs?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a rabies vaccine cost for dogs?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a rabies vaccine cost for dogs?

$15 – $30 average cost for puppy in first year
$25 – $60 average cost for adult dog every 1 to 3 years

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$15 – $30 average cost for puppy in first year

$25 – $60 average cost for adult dog every 1 to 3 years


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
Edited by
Jennifer Carlson
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Average cost of rabies vaccine for dogs

A rabies shot costs $15 to $30 for puppies in their first year and $25 to $60 every 1 to 3 years afterward for adult dogs. Rabies is a deadly virus, and exposure is nearly always fatal for unvaccinated pets. The best way to protect your dog from rabies is to keep their vaccinations up to date.

Rabies vaccine cost for dogs
Dog age Average cost Rabies vaccination frequency
Puppy $15 – $30 First rabies vaccine at age 12 –16 weeks;
second vaccine one year later
Adult dog $25 – $60 Every 1 to 3 years

  • According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), all dogs should receive vaccinations for rabies.

  • Most states have laws requiring all dogs to get regular rabies vaccinations.

  • Costs may be lower if your dog receives the rabies vaccine along with other core vaccines. Dog vaccinations cost $75 to $400+ in the first year and $35 to $365+ per year afterward.

How often do dogs need rabies shots?

Dogs should receive their first rabies shot as puppies when they’re about 12 to 16 weeks old. Because the vaccine loses its effectiveness over time as the antibodies wane, dogs need an additional rabies shot one year later and again every 1 to 3 years after that to remain immune.

State laws dictate how often your adult dog needs to receive the rabies vaccine. However, even though some states only require vaccination every 3 years, vets often recommend annual vaccination for dogs who spend time in high-risk areas like the woods.

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What is rabies?

Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the brain and nervous system in mammals, including pets, livestock, wildlife, and humans. The virus is transmitted through contact with an infected animal's saliva—usually through a bite—and is almost always fatal in unvaccinated dogs.

In most cases, dogs begin to show signs of infection within 10 to 14 days of exposure, but it can take up to 12 weeks depending on how the exposure occurred. Symptoms of rabies include:

  • Behavioral changes like uncharacteristic aggression or fearfulness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Difficulty eating, drinking, or swallowing

  • Excessive drooling

  • Staggering, falling over, or loss of balance

  • Partial or complete paralysis

  • Biting or licking the wound site where exposure to the virus occurred

A veterinarian preparing to give a rabies vaccine shot to a puppy
A veterinarian preparing to give a rabies vaccine shot to a puppy

FAQs about rabies shots for dogs

What are the potential side effects of rabies shots in dogs?

The rabies vaccine may cause mild side effects in dogs, but these typically go away within a day or two. Possible side effects include:

  • Soreness or swelling at the injection site

  • Reduced appetite

  • Tiredness for 24 to 36 hours after vaccination

  • Slight fever

Rare reactions to the vaccine include vomiting, diarrhea, hives, or swelling in the face, eyes, or muzzle. If you notice any of these rare side effects, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.

Can a dog get rabies if vaccinated?

While the rabies vaccine doesn't guarantee 100% protection against infection, vaccinated dogs rarely become infected.

Does pet insurance cover the cost of rabies vaccines?

Some pet insurance plans cover vaccinations for rabies, canine distemper, and other diseases. However, coverage varies by company and plan, and many companies only include vaccination as part of a wellness add-on policy. Standard pet insurance costs $35 to $75 per month.

Where to get rabies shots for dogs

You can get your dog vaccinated for rabies at a veterinarian's office, in-store clinics at pet stores like PetSmart or Petco, or public rabies vaccine clinics offered by your city, county, or local animal welfare organization. Some private companies offer mobile vet clinics or pop-up vaccination clinics.

Low-cost rabies shots for dogs

Non-profit organizations like the Humane Society and SPCA offer low-cost rabies shots for dogs and cats. Fees range from $5 to $25, depending on your location. These groups typically hold rabies vaccination clinics on specific dates, which vary by organization and location. Check with your local shelter for details.

Other locations that sometimes offer free and low-cost dog vaccinations include veterinary medicine colleges, city- and county-run animal shelters, and local animal advocacy groups.


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