#ChicagoCIVDay – Why I Vaccinate My Dogs

This snowy morning I want to share a quick PSA for any Windy City locals about the recent outbreak of dog flu in the Chicago area.

Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely your dog will ever suffer from canine influenza. Statistically speaking, even if your pup does catch the flu, it’s unlikely they’ll develop serious symptoms. That’s why if you have a social dog (who goes to dog parks, classes, boarding, etc) it’s important to consider vaccinating your pup against the flu viruses. Yup, you read that right. I’m advocating vaccinating against something that will likely never affect you.

Yes, I have friends who nearly lost their dog to the flu and had to painstakingly nurse her back to health. Yes, I have spoken to people whose dogs died from the last outbreak. But statistically speaking, neither of those things will happen to your pup. So why the recommendation? Because when you vaccinate your dog, you take away a vector for the disease to spread. And in doing so you take away another opportunity for a dog to be on the wrong side of those odds. The simple math is that the more quickly we stop the endemic, the more dogs and hearts we save.

Between the dog beach and training classes, Zero and Penny come into contact with dozens of dogs each week – not to mention all the dogs who pass through the same spaces they do throughout the day. For me it was a no brainer to get the bivalent vaccination from Merck Animal Health which covers both known strains of the virus (H3N8 and H3N2).

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago,, marking our territory, #ChicagoCIVDay

Don’t worry Zero, it covers both strains but it’s only one shot!

We swung by Blum Animal Hospital and our friendly vet techs  administered the shots quickly. Zero was incredibly brave.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago,, marking our territory, #ChicagoCIVDay

And by “brave,” I mean “oblivious.” He was so happy with his peanut butter he didn’t even notice the shot.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago,, marking our territory, #ChicagoCIVDay

Per the usual, Penny is happy to comply with any requests when there’s food involved.

We were in and out quickly, we’ll be back for an equally quick booster shot in a few weeks, and that’s it. I rest easier knowing my pups are covered, and I’m glad we can do our part to help prevent the flu from spreading.

If you have an active dog and are considering the vaccine, today’s the day. Merck Animal Health has partnered with 40+ vets across Chicago to offer discounted vaccines in response to the outbreak.  A snow day is the perfect opportunity to catch up on your to-do list, so give your vet a call to schedule an appointment and help prevent the spread of CIV. Afterwards, come join Penny, Zero and I up at Montrose Dog Beach for a celebratory playdate!



So far, the flu hasn’t migrated west, so thank you for advocating the vaccine. We have enough issues with leptospirosis and West Nile; especially this year with all the flooding, Lepto has raised its ugly head with mad intensity. Now some are predicting an increase in rattlesnakes this season. Luckily there’s a vaccine to help with that, but for added security, Neeka and Khoi have been attending avoidance clinics since they were little. Anything to keep our pups safe.

I’d be happy to. I’ll email you the link to the kennel where the trainer is based. It’s in Southern California and they travel all over the west coast doing weekend clinics.

It gets nasty when you have two dogs (or more) at home. Ours had it two years ago and it was hard. One gets it, then another, and then it can come back again to the first one who got sick. Better safe than sorry, get the vaccines.

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