How Much Does a Rabies Shot Cost for a Dog?

Written by: Staff

Adopting a new dog or a puppy means lots of shots and checkups in the first few years.  One of the most common shots given is the rabies shot.

Rabies is a severe virus that can affect the dog’s brain and central nervous system.  Transmitted from other carriers, such as a fox and skunk, through saliva and blood, this virus can take a month to develop, but once it does, it can progress rapidly.

How much does a rabies shot cost for a dog?

The shot itself can cost $10 to $20.  Many local clinics will administer the shot and nothing else, but if they charge an office examination fee, this can be an additional $45 to $85.  The cost will depend on the vet’s office, the shot (one year or three) or if other shots are being administered.  This shot can often be combined with other vaccinations. says you should expect to pay $15 to $20 for the core vaccinations, and the average cost, when all the vaccinations are combined, will cost $75 to $100.

Shelters can often be less than $20.  For example, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona charges $13 for its rabies vaccine.

Rabies shot for a dog overview

There are two types of rabies vaccines:  the one year and three year option.  The one year shot is designed for a dog receiving its first round of vaccinations.  A three-year shot will be for all subsequent vaccinations, and some vets may charge more for this vaccination.

The shot will be administered and paperwork will be sent home to you telling you a little bit about the side effects that you may see with the shot.

This shot will be administered when the puppy is 12 to 24 weeks old, and afterward, every one to three years, depending on the local law and vet recommendation.

If the vet thinks your dog has rabies, they will perform an antibody test which will be sent to a laboratory for a diagnosis.

What are the extra costs?

If the dog is taken into a local vet’s office, an office charge may be applied.

If the vet sees additional health problems, they may want to perform additional tests.

Tips to know:

Every state has a law that requires dogs get a rabies shot at least every three years.  This is a law that is mandatory and each state will greatly vary.  If unsure of your local state law, be sure to consult with the local authorities to get more information.

Rabies shots can be guaranteed from one to three years.  Be sure to ask your vet how long this particular vaccine is going to last.

Possible side effects that can happen after the shot has been administered includes vomiting, swelling in the facial area, circulatory shock or the loss of consciousness.  If any of these side effects are found to be happening, always call your vet to discuss the problem because some canlife-threateningning. Since many problems may happen up to an hour later after the shot, you may want to stick around the area if you don’t feel comfortable taking your pet home.

To play it safe, be sure to keep your own log of your dog’s shots.  Note the brand name of the shot, where it was administered, who gave it as well as where the shot was given (the area.)  While vet offices will keep this information, it doesn’t hurt to store it yourself for personal reference for future problems.

There are two forms of rabies:  paralytic and furious.  Furious rabies can be characterized by extreme behavior changes such as attacking.  Paralytic rabies can often be characterized by a loss of coordination, followed by paralysis.

If you feel your dog does have rabies, put them in a cage immediately to quarantine it from other animals and/or people in the area.  If you’re unable to do so and feel your dog can do harm, you will want to call animal control.

How can I save money?

Depending on the state you live in, there are many clinics that will give the shot and nothing else, saving you the office visit fee.

Check with your local Humane Society as they offer low-cost packages for vaccinations.

Check with the breeder.  There could be a good chance the dog already is up to date with its shots.

Local Tractor Supply stores have dog vaccinations available for about $10.

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