Free Catalog Weekly Giveaway Ask Cindy Subscribe
Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Q&A on Vaccinations

Q&A on Vaccinations

Q&A on Vaccinations

Have a question you can't find the answer to?
Check out our Leerburg Questions and Answers
with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.

leerburg pup

Here at Leerburg Kennels we don't give yearly vaccinations to our dogs and puppies. We recommend other dog owners follow our lead. In fact we will not sell a puppy unless the new owner agrees to two things:

  1. I bought one of your Leerburg dogs back in 1997. We recently vaccinated it for Lymes. She had a reaction to the shot that killed her. Its important that people know that this is a terrible vaccination.

  2. What is your vaccination schedule for your pups?

  3. What's you opinion...our breeder always follows the latest recommendations from UC Davis & the American Animal Hospitals Assoc, etc. when recommending vaccinations. 

  4. I have been limiting vaccines ever sense I found your site. Recently one of my pups got parvo. I'm very careful with keeping things clean, I don't understand how he got it. Any ideas?

  5. My dog died recently and right before he had had a vaccination that had a 10 follow up booster. Do you think these shots had anything to do with his death?

  6. I had two pups and one passed away from parvo. Now I'm going to get the one left vaccinated. Should I be concerned about him getting sick?

  7. Our dog is old and due for his rabies shot, but he is a fear biter and we're afraid he'll get hurt trying to give him his shot. What are your thoughts?

  8. How do you get away with not having to give Rabies vaccine?  Is it not mandated in your area?

  9. How do you avoid giving the rabies shot when it mandated by law? My Boston Terrier female is a Therapy Dog (TDI) and her new pup will be shown conformation and hope to do agility. For some of these events, proof of rabies vaccine is required.

  10. What proof do you have that you no longer need to vaccinate your pets for diseases? Do you have a vet that can back that up?

  11. I am getting a pup which I will be using as a working cadaver dog, but I have been doing lots of research on whether I should get any vaccines for him. I just had a few questions for you.

  12. Should I NEVER get my next dog vaccinated - even when it is a puppy? How do I make sure the breeder does not vaccinate it before I buy it? What are your thoughts on heart worm prevention?

  13. I heard you don't vaccinate your puppies and dogs at all. Is that true? Is it ALL vaccines or do you give SOME vaccine/s?

  14. In regards to not getting shots for puppies, does that mean you recommend that puppies don’t get any of their vaccines? If so, can that be detrimental?  What about the 1 year rabies vaccine?

  15. Am I not supposed to get any vaccinations at all or are there some I am supposed to get my dog?

  16. I know that you state that you no longer vaccinate your dogs. Does this include rabies shots also?

  17. I am wondering if I should listen to my vet, and if the test shows his immune system is weak I should vaccinate again?

  18. Comment on the Rabies vaccine and titer tests.

  19. Our dog had a reaction to the rattlesnake vaccine, which according to our vet is unusual. What do you think?

  20. What dewormer do you use on your puppies and at what age do you start? I was also told that my pups have a genetic defect because they had a bad reaction to vaccinations.

  21. When I take my dog to the kennel they require that he be up to date on all vaccinations. Is there any way around that?

  22. My doberman bitch just had her vaccinations and is in heat. How soon can she be bred after receiving her vaccinations?

  23. Comment from one of our customers about the rabies vaccine and rear end paralysis.

  24. My 12 week old puppy is scheduled for his next round of shots today, and I don't want to take him! He just had vaccinations 3 weeks ago but I'm scared if I don't take him that I'll cause him harm. What should I do?

  25. My puppy has hair loss that sta rted after her vaccines. I think her immune system must have been compromised. What can I give her to build up her immune system?

  26. A friend has a 6 year old dog that just started having severe seizures, is there a chance these are vaccine related? Her vet does vaccines every year. Any info you can pass along would be appreciated.


Hi Ed,

We got Rosie from you as a puppy in '97 from one of the Chelsea/Otis litters. She was the best dog ever. Unfortunately we gave her the Lymes Disease Vaccine and it triggered Auto Immune Disease in her. Despite our attempts to save her, the recovery drugs got her. I just wanted to make you aware in case there might be a problem with this vaccine. I think people should know this can happen. We miss her very much. Thank you for sending us a great dog.


I NEVER RECOMMEND Lymes vaccination. I get way way way to many people emailing me with terrible stories like this. I have written an article on Vaccinosis on my web site. The best and safest way to deal with vaccinations is to not do them.

Rather feed your dog an all-natural diet and help the dog build it's natural immune system and then lets that immune system deal with protecting our dogs.

To Top

QUESTION on Vaccinations:

Hi Ed,

Hopefully you won't think this is too dumb a question we have just gotten a 3 month old German Shepherd Dog. The vets here say he needs his rabies shot at 4 months. The breeder says to wait until 6 months of age. I don't want any horrible reactions to this vaccination, but we're not sure what to do... about the other vaccinations. You say "two shots for puppies" and nothing else for the rest of their lives? What shots exactly do you recommend? We just ordered the obedience training video. I'm so happy we came across your site.

Thank You,


We would only give a rabies vaccination after the pup was finished teething and NOT BEFORE THAT.

We NEVER give yearly vaccination. They serve one function and that’s to enrich Vets.

Good luck with your new dog. Learn to use the site search function on my web site.


Hi again, Cindy,

Speaking of vaccinations, what's you opinion...our breeder always follows the latest recommendations from UC Davis & the American Animal Hospitals Assoc, etc. when she recommends vaccinations.  At age 1 we did the puppy shot booster DA2PP, and then every 3 yrs., which is where we are now, we should do it again.  And since we take our dogs with us everywhere, she suggests Bordetella every 6 mos.  and Leptospirosis every 6 mos. since we live in the country with horses, cows, etc.  Do you agree?


We don’t believe in vaccinations at all.  Our dogs go everywhere with us also, and many of mine have never had a vaccination at all.  I would rather fight a disease I know, than battle with the inevitable damage the vaccine will cause.  This is not a choice I made overnight or take lightly.   

We won’t sell our dogs to people who insist on vaccinations, we feel so strongly about this.

Good health doesn’t come in the form of an injection; it’s from a strong immune system, clean air, exercise and appropriate raw food.

I would recommend these 2 books,  Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats

For more information on natural health care and homeopathic treatment of your dogs (and cats), I highly recommend Homeopathic Care for Cats & Dogs  and Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

If you haven’t read the vaccinosis article I sent you last evening, I would recommend it.  It will explain our thoughts on this.

It’s a personal choice, on how to care for your dogs.  We have made our decisions based on years of breeding dogs, and my involvement in the veterinary field (for many years).  

There are risks involved with everything in life, I have chosen to go the most natural route I can with our dogs and I believe our dogs’ health and happiness has much improved as we are into our 2nd and 3rd generations of raw fed, vaccine free dogs.


Last year I found your site and ordered several of the books you recommend.  I also ordered your catalog including extras and give out with each puppy I sell.  I try to inform all about the vaccine problems and tell them to order the books regarding this.  This is my problem:  This morning I woke up to a very sick puppy.  Was fine yesterday, the puppy is a maltese chihuahua, they were born Oct. 20th of this year.  Their weights are under 2 lbs and still nursing a little.  I had had an appointment to have their first shots last week but called to change it to next week so they would be a little older.  My vet (he is the only vet I have spoke with in the Orlando area that reduces the amount of each vaccine - to each puppies body weight).  I rushed the puppy to their office, they did a parvo test and it showed positive.  I asked them to please give it fluids when I first got there, I knew it was dehydrated.  For what ever reason they didn't.  When they brought out the puppy I asked about the fluids and that's when I found out they did not do the fluids.  I asked for all the supplies that I had 4 other puppies at home and I would do it.  I asked for AD food, (While the vet was out of the room I read his book that he had opened to parvo.)  The book mentioned to feed with a very mild food, hydrate and give antibiotics.  So I asked for all three of these.  I left with a $144.00 bill and all they really did was the parvo test.  The puppy died 15 minutes after I left the vet's office.  Now that I am home, another puppy looks ill and just vomited.  The mother has had her vaccinations.  I am looking into my mass of paperwork to see when her last shot was but I know she's had her shots.  She is almost 3 yrs old.  I have many dogs in my home.  We have done rescue for years.  Most of the dogs are over 7, we get them when all the "fun" is gone and the real work begins.  I need to know how I can save these babies and what risk do my other dogs have?  We have about 5 dogs under 5 yrs old.  I do not let the Moms go outside.  Use a ton of wee wee pads.  I keep a very clean home so it's not due to filthy or bad conditions.  We have a pool so that's one of the reasons they don't go out and also have several cats that go out back and do not want the dogs to get to the cat poop.  Any light you can shed on this I would greatly appreciate!  I am at a loss because I have read so much about the vaccine problems, esp. with the smaller dogs.  I do not know anyone that has had parvo problems so how in the world would these puppies get it?  In my paperwork I send with each puppy I tell the new owners not to go to doggy parks,  to carry them into the vet's office, not let them play on the vet's floor,  do not take them into the dog stores.  The parents and grand parents of these puppies are in my home  so there is no parvo in their past and I have not brought in any rescues in the past 2 yrs.  Please help me understand this insanity.  I thank you in advance for any insight you can share with me.  I did ask the vet on a past visit to show me how to tube feed.  Haa that was a joke!  I have tube fed large parrots in the past so I have a little idea of the concept.  He just brushed off the request.



Fluids are the single most important factor in saving a puppy with parvo.  I wouldn’t be too concerned about any of your adult dogs, but I would watch the remaining pups closely.  Parvo can be brought in from a variety of sources, on shoes, car tires, etc… there is no way to guarantee a puppy won’t be exposed to it unless you never leave your house.  You can bring it in on clothing, etc. 

I wouldn’t force or tube feed parvo puppies, because their intestines are so inflamed they bleed.  I have successfully gotten a litter of pups through parvo and some of them ate nothing for 4 or 5 days.  I just used fluids, injectable antibiotics and lots of TLC.   You need to stop the vomiting and diarrhea before food can be offered and then it’s tiny amounts every couple of hours.

I would do a google search on Parvaid, and order some of that immediately.  It can be used for puppies that HAVE parvo and puppies that have been exposed.


Hi Cindy,

I am so distraught over 1 thing though and was hoping you could help me with it. Max was totally healthy 2 months ago. We brought him to the vet for a vaccine that he was over due for. At that time they highly suggested another vaccine that needed to be followed up with a booster in 10 days. Max seemed fine after that visit but then we went back for the booster. He went steadily down hill after that booster. He 1st started drinking water continually. He couldn't get enough. Then he became very lethargic and weak. He lost 16 pounds in a 2 week period and could hardly get up anymore. The vet ran a bunch of blood tests, testing him for diabetes etc. and couldn't find anything wrong. I told him I thought it was the vaccination. He said that it couldn't be; that they had never had any problems with the vaccine before. Now reading your minimal vaccine policy, I am even more convinced. We as a family do not believe in vaccines for ourselves. I often questioned why we gave them to our dog. It is tearing me up thinking that maybe I did this to Max. Do you think it is a possibility?

Thanks for your time.


Max & I about 3 years ago

Max about 4 months ago, before he got sick

Cindy's Response:

Please Diane, Do not blame yourself.  We are all taught to take what medical professionals say as ‘’good for us” and this includes vets.  It usually takes some kind of tragedy for us to start asking questions and then we find out that we have been deceived .  I don’t believe most vets intentionally mislead us, but they don’t question things like they should and they are always quick to do a lot to our pets when they are in the office to make that almighty dollar.  I know this because I worked for a vet for many years.  They don’t want to risk that you won’t bring the dog or cat back, so they do as many things as possible to get that income.

Why any vet would vaccinate an older dog and then do it again in TEN days is absolutely criminal. I would make sure you do lots of research on vaccinosis before you get a new pup. I would not let this particular vet anywhere near my animals again and I would tell him why.

There is no reason for a 10 year old dog to be given any vaccines at all, in our opinion.

Would you mind sharing with me what vaccinations Max was given?  


Diane's Response:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about this. I just called the veterinary clinic and got the name of the vaccines. On Jan. 8th Max had a Distemper Vaccination and a Leptospirosis. He seemed Ok, nothing unusual that I noticed after that. On Jan. 29th I took him in for the booster on it. I noticed that Max didn't seem himself after the booster. By the second week of February he was getting sicker & sicker, was drinking tons of water, quit eating food unless hand fed and just laid all day. I took him in again, they did blood work and found nothing. Max lost all his muscle tone and 16 pounds of weight in the last 2 weeks of his life. All he wanted to do was lay in the snow and lick it. They did more blood work and put him on antibiotics which still didn't help. On Friday Mar. 7th they suggested that he be given a shot of steroids to maybe give him a boost in his appetite. I was desperate because Max was dying so I took him in. The very next day I took him back for his final shot. I couldn't bare to let him suffer anymore. At least he is at peace now, but I sure am not. I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss him and how bad I feel for what he had to go through. This will never happen to me again. If the law makes us get our pet a rabies shot, well I guess I have no choice, but no animal of mine will ever be vaccinated for anything else again.


PS If you have ever heard of anything else about this vaccine, please let me know. Thanks for your time.

Cindy's Last Comment:

I would suspect the Leptospirosis vaccine.  That vaccine can wreak havoc with the immune system.  I am so sorry your boy had to go through that but you will always have him in your heart.

If you haven’t already read this, you might want to but get some Kleenex

If you do a google search on dog over vaccination and on Leptospirosis side effects you will find a lot of information.

When you get a new pup, let me know if I can help you out in any way.

Take care,


I have an 11 week old Chihuahua that just lost his sister to Parvo.  I purchased the pups together from a breeder so they would have each other when I am not around. Unfortunately one of the puppies passed away from Parvo. Of course I am concerned about the other puppy and getting Parvo. I am keeping a close watch on him and getting his vaccinations in a few days.  My training issue is this:  Both pups were great about not using the crate for peeing and pooping when they were together. Now that I only have one pup, he is peeing and pooping in his crate. Can this behavior be stress related?

Thanks in advance... it's been an emotional week.



Before I address the training issue, I would caution you about getting a puppy vaccinated after it’s already been exposed to parvo.  Being exposed to a disease and not becoming ill, is in effect a vaccination.  Giving a vaccine to a puppy whose immune system is dealing with a recent parvo exposure may be deadly.  If your pup never becomes sick, he will likely be immune to parvo as he has received “nature’s vaccine” which is the best way to build immunity.  Read our vaccinosis article.

Your pup may be suffering from a bit of separation anxiety, so I would offer him firm leadership and structure.  

Ed recently finished a project we been working on for years titled COMMON SENSE SOULTION TO HOUSE TRAINING PROBLEMS. This is a 165 page eBook that that is based on how we house train pups in our home. It is also based on 10 years of emails on house training problems from people like yourself.

In my opinion this eBook is the best collection of information on how to house train a dog that’s ever been put together.

I have reviewed your email and this eBook along with my DVD titled YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS to 8 MONTHS will guide you through the issues you will face in solving your problems.



Dear Cindy,

We have a 14 yr old Jack Russell mix who is a fear-biter. He is due for a rabies shot but we are thinking of omitting it for fear of harming him. Three years ago we gave him tranquillizers that he fought off, everyone in the vet office wore cat gloves and tried to pin him with a shield. He was given a sedative that didn't work until we brought him home when his eyes rolled back and his limbs went stiff. We thought he was dying. Back to the vet where he was given his shot finally. He is old now, mostly sleeps, has a bad back/hip and we are afraid he will be injured if this ordeal plays itself again. Some states allow 5 years between rabies shots but our state (MA) says 3. My daughter wants to say he died but we will not be able to get medication for him should he need it. Any thoughts on this. We have a fenced-in yard and he is always near us when out at night. A vet couldn't come here as he would hide and I can not just pick him up as he would bite me as well. We love him and he has a sweet side. We were his 3rd home and he definitely had issues when we adopted him.



I would never vaccinate an old dog for anything, especially a 14 year old dog. I would take my chances with the legal aspects of it, but that’s just me. :-)

With his issues and at his age, I can’t see any good reason to put him through it. Legally, I know you are supposed to do it, but as long as he doesn’t get into trouble and bite someone this should not be an issue. Here in Wisconsin, if a dog that hasn’t been vaccinated for rabies bites there is a mandatory quarantine. In some states, however, the dogs are euthanized. I would check the laws in your state and weigh the pros and cons.

Would your vet be willing to write a waiver for him due to his age? You may want to check that out too.




I have been sitting here reading your emails from people regarding vaccinations.  I have had many pets die in the past after living to be only 5 to 7 years old, and I truly believe they were over vaccinated. Anyway, here is my question, how do you get away with not having to give Rabies vaccine?  Is it not mandated in your area?  I have 2 GSD's and I feed them a raw diet and I do NOT plan to give them any more vaccinations but I KNOW the vet is gonna pressure me but my main thing is I will not let them make me give the annual boosters but I don’t know how I can get away with no rabies vaccination.  I do not give them any heartworm/flea stuff either.  I have a vet appointment today because I found a lump on my one GSD and need to have it looked at and the first thing out of her mouth when I called was "oh, she's due for everything" and I said "not today....I want to see what's wrong with her....I am not vaccinating my sick dog" (ok she doesn’t feel she isn't really "sick" but you know what I mean).  I know I am going to have to give in at some point and get the rabies vaccine but wondered if you give your dogs it or how you get away with not giving it.

Thanks, I LOVE your web site.... MUCH info! AND I have bought lots of stuff!



I believe Rabies is required by law in all states, and the best advice I can give about that is to make your own decisions about if you want to avoid the vaccine or do it as infrequently as possible.  This is one of those things where I will advise that you weigh the pros and cons for your situation.

Rabies is the ONLY vaccine required by law, so if a vet tries to bully you into getting those by saying they are required then I would walk out of that vets office and never come back. 

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.



Hello Ed and Cindy,

Thanks for sending the weekly newsletters. I have a 4 y/o German Shepherd and raise Boston Terriers, so I appreciate the information. I refer many dog owners to your site for guidance.

Regarding your views on vaccines, and not vaccinating your dogs. I was wondering how you avoid giving the rabies shot when it mandated by law (at least in Illinois). My Boston Terrier female is a Therapy Dog (TDI) and her new pup will be shown conformation and hope to do agility. For some of these events, proof of rabies vaccine is required.



I’ve never been asked for proof of vaccines at any of the events I’ve attended over the years.  I do know that TDI and Delta society requires them, which is why I won’t ever participate in any therapy dog activities even though I believe the program is very beneficial in many ways. 

Rabies is required by law in most states unless you have a waiver or exemption from a vet.  I can’t tell people to break the law or not vaccinate for rabies, but to work with their vet and do what’s best for their dogs.  For dogs with ANY health issue like thyroid disease, allergies, seizures, or cancer (to name a few) ALL vaccines should be avoided.  For a vet to vaccinate a dog with a health issue is criminal in my opinion.  Most pet owners do not know this and many vets won’t volunteer this info.

You might be interested in these books Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock To The System.



Hi Cindy,

I just switched my dogs to Honest Kitchen. I was searching around the internet to find more information about the diet, what to add, etc and came across the video on your website. It was a good video I just have one question what proof do you have that you no longer need to vaccinate your pets for diseases? Do you have a vet that can back that up? It up sets me b/c being in the veterinary profession, telling people they don't have to vaccinate b/c of diet is miss leading! I do understand that there are pets out there for reasons that can not be vaccinated b/c of reactions or serious health problems. But to say feeding a diet will protect them is not correct! If some didn't vaccinate their pet b/c of this video are you going to take the responsibility and pay for their pet's medical bill. I normally would never say anything about something I saw on the internet, but people now a days believe everything they see on the internet. I have seen to many pet's of all ages die b/c of parvo, or kennel cough that has turned into pneumonia b/c their breeder or they say on the internet that pet's don’t need vaccines. I really think that you should consider altering the video or but some kind of disclaimer on it that people should talk to their vet before not vaccinating anymore.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.



Do you have proof that my dogs need vaccinations? I might suggest you do a Google search on Dr. Schultz of the University of WI, Madison. He’s a veterinary immunologist. His work is changing vaccine protocols among vets that choose to educate themselves.  No where do we say that customers don’t need to vaccinate due to diet, you are misunderstanding. Everyone that writes to me is told to do their own research and make their own choices. 

I suggest that people should learn about all the options and make the choice that works best for them and their situation. This includes questioning their vet, especially a vet that recommends yearly vaccines. Personally, we don’t vaccinate anymore. You won’t ever convince me that good health comes in the form of an injection. I worked as a vet tech in a traditional vet practice for many years, and saw the effects of vaccines and overuse of antibiotics and drugs and commercial diets. In my experience a strong immune system, appropriate diet, clean air and water, regular exercise and avoiding chemicals and toxins are the key to good health. There is no magic bullet to a healthy dog but I would rather fight a disease that I know than inject a vaccine into my animals and then try to treat the damage from that vaccine. I am willing to take the risk, and I know how to treat and care for critically sick animals. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, because years ago I was a vaccine advocate too. I’ve been on both sides of the argument and since I switched my dogs to a raw diet and cut out the drugs and vaccines they rarely get sick. They don’t get hot spots, they don’t get ear infections.  No more thyroid issues, allergies or dentals needed. We take dogs to the vet for progesterone tests, hip X-rays or injuries… not for the nagging chronic issues that many people feel are normal parts of owning dogs. We don’t get yearly vaccines for our whole life, yet people have their pets vaccinated year after year without question.  Think about it.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. There is a lot of discussion on this topic.



Hi Cindy,

I am getting a German Shepherd pup which I will be using as a working cadaver dog and possibly do some bite work with him as soon as he ages up some, but I have been doing lots of research on whether I should get any vaccines for him and I'm leaning toward not because of all the issues that can arise from them. I found your web site and it was full of good information on the subject, and I just had a few questions for you, if you have some time. This dog will be exposed to other dogs/puppies early on and I have a little concern for the chance of him getting something like parvo, do you think I need to be, is it worth the risk of getting the vaccine at all? Also, what do you do or use for tick prevention?  Since part of his job will be in very wooded areas where ticks will be aplenty I was curious as to your stance on that matter. And what about Heartworm? It's hard to find a good opinion on these things and it seems you have done this for a while and I really would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the matter. Thanks again so much.



As with anything like this you need to weight the risks and benefits to whatever decision you make. I can't tell you whether or not you should or shouldn't vaccinate.

There is always a risk of pups coming down with parvo, vaccinated or not. I choose not to vaccinate my own dogs, because I'm confident that I can care for them as competently (or more so) than a vet should they become ill.

Common sense plays a role too, not taking a pup to places like Pet Supermarkets, vets offices, dog parks or other areas where large number of questionably healthy dogs congregate is a part of it.

We have a number of good books on the topic, if you go to this link and scroll down to nutrition and health you will find them.

The same goes for heartworm prevention and tick prevention. Research the risk in your part of the country. We have a low incidence of heartworm here but lots of ticks.

I choose natural preventatives whenever possible and don't just blindly follow advice given by vets and pharmaceutical companies.

If you search on heartworm and ticks on our website, you'll find a lot of information. The search function is in the left hand top corner.

I hope this helps.



Hi Ed,

My name is Michelle and I want to thank you for providing your knowledge to help people be better dog owners and to have happier dogs. I respect you highly and love how you "tell it like it is" without sugar coating anything. 

I ordered one of your video tapes 12 years ago when I got my first German Shepherd to train him. Sadly, I had to have him put down last week. He was the best dog I ever had - with the help of your training methods.  I'm still grieving and am not ready for another one yet but when I am ready, I want to make sure I have everything right.

I have been reading your articles online (haven't gotten to all of them yet) but I still have some questions.

First, I know vaccinations are not good. I stopped vaccinating my dogs 4 years ago.  Should I NEVER get my next dog vaccinated - even when it is a puppy?  If this is the case, how do I make sure the breeder does not vaccinate it before I buy it?  And also, I'm thinking that by Illinois law all dogs have to have their rabies shot.  Which I don't give a damn if it's the law or not (like I said my dogs haven't had them for the last 4 years), I just wanted to know what your thoughts were on that.

While I was growing up we never vaccinated our dogs but one of our dogs did get heartworms.  What are your thoughts on heartworm prevention?
My last concern is on neutering. I only got my Shepherd neutered because I didn't want him going through the fence to try and mount a dog 3 miles down the road. Would like to know your thoughts on that also. If it is o.k. to get my next Shepherd neutered, what is the best age to do it?
Thanks for your time in reading this. You have a lot more info than you did 12 years ago!!  I just ordered some of your DVDs and I'm looking forward to studying them. Hope to hear from you soon.


When we sold pups we would not sell them unless they promised not to vaccinate. All you can do is find a breeder who tells you the wont.

Heartworm is not in the same category and a virus that is used in a vaccination. Two totally different things.

If you want a working dog don’t neuter until 2 to 2 ½ .Neutering eliminates the chance of prostrate cancer on old dogs – they actually live longer. So if you don’t vaccinate, feed a raw all-natural diet and neuter you are doing as good as you can for your dog.

Ed Frawley


Hi Cindy! How are you? My questions are: 1) I heard you don't vaccinate your puppies and dogs at all  at Leerburg. Is that true? 2) Is it ALL vaccines or do you give SOME vaccine/s? I think we have some REQUIRED vaccines here at Houston,Tx 3) Do you recommend the heartworm PILL that is recommended monthly by vets or not? I just bought a lot of videos from you guys because I am purchasing a working GSD, and will be buying more in the future. Have a great day!

Thanks a lot,


We do not vaccinate our dogs or puppies here, and we won’t sell puppies to people who insist on vaccinating.  

The only vaccine required anywhere in the US is rabies, any vet that tells you otherwise is not being truthful.  Since we do not advocate breaking the law, we can’t really advise people to NOT give the rabies vaccine but you can control when you give it to your dog.  I would never give the vaccine to a stressed dog (like at around 4-6 months old when teething, a dog that is at the vet for illness or surgery or any medical condition like a skin/ear infection).

Heartworm medication is something that should be given if you live in a high risk area. 

I would suggest a couple of books for you; Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock to the System

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. We cover vaccines, vaccinosis and heartworm, flea & tick control on the website and forum.




It is remarkable what you are doing with marker training and your horse. Unbelievable. I really never saw the advantage or reason for marker training or touching something but through your videos and articles, I learned that my biggest limitation is my own mind and understanding!

In regards to not getting shots for puppies, does that mean you recommend that puppies don’t get any of their vaccines (usually there are around 5 shots they get)? If so, can that be detrimental?  What about the 1 year rabies vaccine? 

We will be picking up our white boxer puppy next Friday. We can’t hardly wait!  Your videos have been extremely helpful for our whole family. I know that we are going to be better owners (people purchase these and think they are going to learn how to have better dogs and the truth of the matter is that you have really taught us how to be better owners)!

Many thanks,


Hi Gus, thanks for the kind words! I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to write.

I don’t feel it’s my place to tell others what to do when it comes to vaccines for their dogs.  I do, however,  suggest that every dog owner learn about the pros and cons of vaccines and make their choices from a stance of education, not just blindly following what “someone” tells them is right (whether that is a vet or me or anyone else) We don’t give our dogs any vaccines here, even when they are puppies. This is a choice we have made based on past experiences and countless hours of research.  Rabies is required by law in all states, but I put off getting this vaccine as long as possible.  You might be interested in these books Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock To The System

I give these books to our puppy customers so they can become more educated on how vaccines work and the risks involved.  Five sets of shots for a puppy is a ridiculous amount of vaccines and is extremely outdated science as well.   I personally believe that many of today’s dogs health issues are linked to poor diet and over vaccination.  I didn’t come to my current beliefs overnight, it’s been a process that’s taken quite a long time and a lot of thought. I am an advocate for the dog, but I believe to be an effective advocate I need to encourage people to ask questions and think for themselves. 

You can also use the search function on the left side of the website to find out more about vaccines.  I highly recommend the books I mention above as well.

I hope this helps.



Hi, I have two bulldogs and they have received every vaccination they have ever needed. I bought a malinois a few months ago and have not given him vaccinations, the breeder did but not the last set for the puppies (12 weeks). I like the idea of them not getting them from your vaccinosis article, but I am not quite positive about the process. Am I not supposed to get any vaccinations at all or are there some I am supposed to get him. I also have given my dogs all the natural foods. My male bulldog has real bad allergies so I tried to give them nothing but meat, but could not afford it for very long. So inevitably I had to find a good kibble for them. But really I am just wondering about the vaccines..  what should he get done if anything??? Please help me.



You might be interested in these books Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock To The System.

I can’t tell you what vaccines to give, this is a personal decision based on your dogs, your beliefs and what works best for you.  We don’t vaccinate our dogs at all, not even as puppies but we are also well versed in how to handle an illness should it occur.  I like it when people do their research and weigh their options. They need to realize the risks and benefits of either choice.  

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.  Vaccines have been discussed  A LOT on our forum and we have an entire q&a section devoted to vaccinations.

I hope this helps.  



I’ve been reading a lot of information on your website and wondered if I could get you opinion on Vaccination. I know that you state that you no longer vaccinate your dogs. Does this include rabies shots also? I’m considering getting an Amstaff. While I will be a responsible owner, I still want to prepare myself for any mishaps. What is your opinion, should I opt for absolutely no shots at all, or do you have recommendation on what minimal vaccination is needed.



You might be interested in these books Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock To The System

A lot of people email me about vaccines and want me to tell them what to do.  I don’t feel that I’m doing them or their dogs a service by doing this.  I think the best advice I can give is to do your research, weigh the pros & cons and make the decisions about vaccinations based on what feels right for you and your dog and your situation.  I don’t feel that any of us should blindly follow vaccine advice, whether it’s given by a drug company, a doctor, a veterinarian, or me.  Education is the key.  I do not vaccinate my own dogs, but I base my decision on decades of raising dogs, years of working in the veterinary field and countless hours of research and experience.  What’s right for me may not be right for everyone.  Not vaccinating for rabies is against the law in all states, unless you have a waiver.  Laws from state to state vary on the penalty if a dog that has not been vaccinated for rabies should bite someone.  In Wisconsin, it’s quarantine.  In other states the dog may be euthanized. 

You can see why I can’t tell people what to do.  Everyone’s situation is different and the repercussions can be severe.  I encourage everyone to think for themselves on this topic.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.  Vaccines are a hot topic of discussion.

I hope this helps.



Hello Cindy,

I would also like to ask you another question about vaccinations.Here in UK most vets insist on it, so I have vaccinated Tyson as a pup for DhPPi. Now I don't want to vaccinate him again no more, but the vet said a have to. I found another vets practice which said they wont vaccinate him, if I don't want to. However the vet advised me to run a titer test, and depends on the results, he decides if to vaccinate.

I just wonder if I should listen to him,and if the test shows his immune system is weak I should vaccinate again? I would do anything not to vaccinate him, I already regret I even did the first time. He now just itch all the time, dry skin problem,ear infections... I believe its cause of that.

I fed him since I got him raw diet like you do, adding all supplements needed daily, so I don't see reason he need vaccination again at all. Please could you tell me what should I exactly do now?



Titers aren’t really worth the money, in my experience.  All they will show is that your dog has been recently challenged; they don’t truly measure “immunity.”

In other words, if your dog has NOT been recently vaccinated OR recently exposed to the disease you are testing titers on, then it may show that he is low.  This doesn’t mean he is unprotected but that is how many people interpret it.

I offer this very simplified analogy. Antibodies are like fire fighters, just because they aren’t hanging around your front door doesn’t meant they won’t show up to do their job when there is a fire. Antibodies show up when they are needed.

You might be interested in these books Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock To The System.

Lots of good information!



Hi Cindy,

I was just writing regarding the question in a newsletter I received regarding the rabies vaccine. I live in Jacksonville Fl and my vet has informed me that they now have the titer tests for vaccines. The cost is approximately $200 and it is good for the life of the dog if the titer is positive. Our animal control will accept the titer in place of the rabies vaccine. We also feed raw and our dogs never have fleas or ticks. I think the diet has a lot to do with the attraction of the pests. We did have fleas when we were feeding kibble years ago. We do use ivermectin for heartworm prevention due to the high rate of heartworm in our area (we are involved in GSD rescue and 99% of the rescue doges do come in positive and we do use the ivermectin along with doxycycline for treatment).

Local animal control centers can advise residents whether or not the titers are accepted.


Dear Cindy,

Just read your latest comments on vaccinations for dogs. I live in Arizona and Rattle Snake vaccinations are almost a requirement. However, no one told me about the possibilities of some of the possible side effects. My German Shepherd pup (will not be 2 until June 15th.) had his series of two shots under his front leg toward the side in the fatty area. Within a couple weeks I noticed a large lump and took him into the vet. (I must say I have one of the finest vet's I have ever had) Took him back 10 days later and the lump had more than doubled. Surgery the next day. Scar tissue and fluid that required several stitches and a drain plus a bill of almost $400.00.  Of course that was great fun. If I had known about the possible side effects  in advance I would have been more prepared.  We are extremely careful i.e.; keeping the grass mowed and all of the trees trimmed. Of course living in Az. there is always the possibility of Rattle Snakes of all kinds. The only one that this shot does not protect against is the "Green Mohave" and there is no known serum for that one. It always causes death.

What does one do? In spite of all of the problems with the vaccination I would  probably do it again as these side effects do not usually affect most dogs. I only wish I had been told of the possibility of some of the side effects beforehand and am really surprised I wasn't. But, what happened to my pup is apparently very unusual. I do most unquestionably believe in the Titer test and have that done when their shots are due. As with children I think we can over-do on the shots.

Thanks again for all of you great information.



I’ve received numerous emails over the years about the rattlesnake vaccines. I’ve received emails from dog owners whose dogs have died or had severe reactions that result in chronic disease for the dog. I tell everyone they need to make their own decisions on things like this but the vaccine sounds horrible! I would not give this to my own dogs, even if rattlesnakes were a big threat in my area.

Here is a link to one of many discussions on our forum about rattlesnake vaccines.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. Search on rattlesnake and you’ll come up with a lot of info.



Mr.  Frawley,

What dewormer do you use on your puppies and at what age do you start? I have a litter of Goldens and my vet told me not to deworm my puppies until they are 6 weeks old and come in for their vaccinations.

I am not planning on vaccinating my puppies after a horrible experience and reading your articles. All my puppies survived but it is not something I am willing to go through again. 

P.S. I was told that my puppies must have a genetic problem or they would not have reacted to their vaccinations and that I should not breed the same dame and stud again.



Our protocol for our puppies is posted on this web page.

Whoever told you that your pups had a genetic problem because they had a reaction to vaccines is grossly misinformed.  If it was a vet, I hope you no longer do business with this person. 

I hope this helps.



I noticed that on your website it says that the Honest Kitchen brands verve, force and embark are not made with intense heat… does that not hold true for the keen brand that Honest Kitchen offers?

I’ve also been reading up on the harmful effects of vaccinations and I’m seeing it’s not good for my dog… but this is my problem…  When I take him to the kennel they require that he be up to date on all vaccinations.  I have not seen any kennel that does not require that, at least anywhere within 100 miles.  If I have to go out of town and have him boarded, he’ll have to have the vaccinations beforehand.  Is there any way around that? 



All of the Honest Kitchen foods are made at the same low temperature, the Keen is just a newer formula that didn’t exist when we made the web page.

I won’t vaccinate my own dogs simply to board them, I find a dog sitter and either they stay in my home or I take my dogs to their place. 

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. It will find posts, articles and Q&As that deal with your search terms. There is extensive info on vaccinations and Honest Kitchen on our website.


Mr. Frawley,
My doberman bitch just had her vaccinations and is in heat. How soon can she be bred after receiving her vaccinations? I know most vets frown on giving pregnant bitches vaccinations, so I didn't know how soon was too soon to breed her. I appreciate your time and look forward to your response. 
Thank you,


This is a question for a competent vet.  We don’t vaccinate our dogs and even if we did, there would never be a case where we would give vaccinations to a bitch in season.   Vaccines should not be given when the dog is compromised in any way, and being in season can be an incredibly stressful time for a dog, both mentally and physically.

Here are the books I recommend to further educate yourself on vaccines, Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs and Cats.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum. Vaccines are a hot topic of discussion on our website.



I rescued/adopted my first dog, Shiloh, a beautiful, 8 year-old 90# Black Labrador a year ago this month. On July 17th of this year, Shiloh's L3-L4 vertebrae herniated, exploding material up and down his spinal column and leaving Shiloh's rear end paralyzed. His neurological signs were pretty much zip and we were not given much hope for a return of function. But after very expensive and exquisite surgery by an excellent neurosurgeon, the material from T13 to L4  was cleaned out, and two weeks later, Shiloh was released to come home, (220 miles away), to begin his journey to recovery. After weathering guiardia, coccidosis, enterococcus and enterobacterum bladder infections in addition to his paralysis,  I am pleased to report that on Thanksgiving Day, Shiloh took his first independent steps without the assistance of his walk about.

I came across the following two articles on-line and want to alert other dog owners to this serious matter. Shiloh had his rabies vaccination booster on July 2, just 2 short weeks before his paralysis began.



Dear Mr. Frawley,


I have a beautiful 12 week old purebred black German Shepherd puppy named Kincade. Against my better judgment I had him vaccinated at 9 weeks for Parvo and Distemper. I am in the process of moving, but presently live in an apartment and was terribly afraid he would pick up something since I cannot control the environment. He has had no reactions thus far and I feel very blessed and am praying he is fine.

So he is supposed to go in for his next round of shots TODAY! And I don't want to take him!  I don't understand why he needs the same shots 3 weeks later. It seems unsafe and redundant.  But because of where I live I am terribly afraid that if I don't vaccinate him I may harm him. I have read and read, but I need some advice.  I know you don't vaccinate your dogs at all and I completely understand and hope I can do the same, but I imagine you can control your dogs' environment very well considering your home and lifestyle, whereas I presently cannot. What should I do? He is scheduled for more shots at 16 weeks too of course. This is my very first puppy and I want him to be healthy and happy and well but I am lacking the expertise to know when he is sick or needs help... I am not adept at recognizing canine health problems. This also makes me fearful of not getting vaccines. I am staunchly protective of any person or animal in my care, it's just my nature, but somehow I found myself bowing to the vet's suggestions at his first visit and he got some shots I didn't want, like hepatitis and parainfluenza virus. I am afraid I will be ramrodded again.

Kincade is incredibly smart, learning quickly and exhibiting great prey drive (though he is a biting monster...any suggestions PLEASE??!), he is beautiful and regal with tremendous potential and I feel so lucky to have found him. He is and will always be on a RAW diet with added oils and supplements and I have read so many of your articles and just received your videos...trying to implement your techniques and follow your methods.  As you can see, I am devoted to raising my pup right and taking good care of him, but I am not sure what to do about these vaccinations. I just want to do right by him.  Please help!

Thank you so much!



Due to the volume of mail we receive, it's not always possible to answer the same day.  I apologize for the delay. 

Either way, it's best to do your research for the pros and cons of vaccination or NO vaccinations for you and your pup.  Merely following a vets advice OR following our advice doesn't educate you on how vaccines work and what is best for the overall health of your dog.

I'm not a big proponent of telling folks what to do, but would rather encourage you to sort out the scare tactics and misinformation from solid fact.  Vaccinations every 3 weeks is excessive and dangerous.  Regardless of whether you did or did not vaccinate your puppy again this week. Here are the books I recommend, Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs and Cats.

Do lots of reading and research, and make decisions that feel right for YOU and YOUR puppy.  We choose not to vaccinate based on years of experience with raising dogs, and years of experience working in the veterinary field. If one of my dogs has a medical problem, I am more than capable or recognizing that problem early and treating the dog for any illnesses myself (with vet supervision). I can give injections, draw blood, analyze fecal samples and give IV fluids.  Most dog owners can't do this. I will also say that I don't sequester my dogs in order to protect them from disease. My dogs go everywhere I do, and start attending training sessions and seminars very early.  I DO NOT take them to dog parks, vet offices, pet superstores. If I am at a dog event with a puppy, I make sure to keep them away from the communal bathroom areas designated for the dogs and I don't allow them to make physical contact with dogs from outside our family.

I would also mention that if you have a vet that is pressuring you into something, then I'd find a new vet.  Many vets seem to forget that they work for YOU, they are offering a service based business. If you don't get the service you like or are comfortable with, then find one that is a better fit for you and your pup.

Here's an article on puppy biting.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps, enjoy your puppy. Cindy


Hi Cindy,

I have purchased a packaged training video from your company and would only trust you folks for advice on hair loss. We have a 4 month old blue APBT that is well on her way in training. We follow everything your videos say to do and its WORKING out great!!! But, we have a problem with her patches of hair loss around the right eye, chest and front legs and sides. We have tried borax and now Nu Stock. It seemed to be working a little with the Nu Stock. The hair looks like it is growing back but no to sure. She just got through with all her vaccines and it seem to us that she didn't get these patches till she started her vaccines so maybe her immune system was compromised?  I would like to know the best way to build her immune system. Or a way to get rid of any d-mites if she has has them. Please Help!!! Oh she's not scratching like she's suffering or does not have any signs of being affected.


I’d recommend some supplements to boost her immune system. 

D’toxifier (good for vaccinosis)
Herbsmith Support Immunity
Vitamin E
Salmon oil

What are you feeding her?  I may be able to help you out with dietary changes that could improve her immune system as well.  Let me know!


P.S. Do not vaccinate her any more!


Hi Cindy,

I just love your newsletter and have found it enormously helpful. My beloved 12 year old Collie also panics during thunderstorms. I don't know what I would do without Rescue Remedy. I use it always when a storm is coming for fear that she could have a seizure or worse if I didn't use this. If for any reason, I have to go out and leave her by herself when a storm is imminent, I give her some Rescue Remedy and put her into her crate prior to going out though I do my best to ask one of our trusted 'doggie sitters" to be with her during the storm. They tell me that one of their "posterior massages" help a great deal as well!!

Now, I have one more question---I have a friend who has a beautiful, well-bread Springer Spaniel who is now 6 years old.  Just recently this dog began having severe seizures. They have taken the dog to the Vet who is doing all kinds of blood tests and has put the dog on Phenobarb. I'm wondering of any inoculations could have been the culprit. I know my friend uses a very traditional Vet who gives the standard shots yearly or at least every three years. I keep showing folks the literature about what a dangerous practice this is, but sometimes find that old habits die very slowly!

Thank you for any information you may have.



Yes, vaccinations can absolutely be the root of seizures in some dogs.

I’d recommend these books on vaccines,  Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock to the System.

You can also search our website for vaccine info, try our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

I have a new puppy. What do I need? Closed