Can a Dog Get Two Rabbies Shots in One Year? Safety & Health Facts

Hi, I recently found out I am going to Japan for a year. I currently live in Florida, and I have to take my Boston...

cropped image of man holding beagle while veterinarian doing injection by syringe to it
Injections, intranasal drops and even oral vaccines can protect against the most common infectious organisms. ©Mario Forcherio / EyeEm | Getty Images
Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Dogster Team


I recently found out I am going to Japan for a year. I currently live in Florida, and I have to take my Boston Terrier with me. He is 10 months old now and will have to start getting his rabies shots in accordance to the laws to bring him into Japan.

Of course, he has already had his first rabies vaccine at four months of age. I am worried about getting him these next 2 unnecessary rabies shots, but Japan requires he get one rabies vaccine followed by another within 30 days of the first. All of this has to be done 180 days before we go.

I really hate to do it to him and don’t want to hurt him, but I can’t really see a way around it. What could happen to him and is this a really bad idea? I have been reading such conflicting things online and my vet tells me it is fine. Please help.

Thank you so much!

Miami, FL

Rabies is a big deal. Untreated rabies is 100% fatal in dogs, cats, and humans. Most human rabies cases worldwide occur as the result of dog bites.

Some places have the luxury of being completely free of rabies. Australia, Japan, Hawaii, and Great Britain are all rabies free and they want to stay that way. These places therefore have stringent vaccination, testing and quarantine requirements for the entry of dogs and cats.

Amber, your dog will need extra rabies vaccines if you want to take him to Japan. You will not be able to get around it. The only alternative is to leave him home, and I doubt that would be in his best interest.

The good news is that your dog probably will not suffer adverse effects from receiving an additional vaccine (he is almost due for a booster, so only the second shot truly will be extra). Adverse reactions to rabies vaccines do occur but mercifully they are rare. The overwhelming majority of dogs that receive extra rabies vaccines have no adverse reactions whatsoever.

I don’t recommend over vaccinating dogs. However, I suspect that the risks of an extra rabies vaccine are worth the benefits of having your dog with you in Japan. Have fun on your adventure!

Featured Image Credit: Mario Forcherio / EyeEm | Getty Images

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