Just as with humans, regular vaccinations are a very important part of your pet's health care routine. Vaccines help prepare the body's immune system to fight foreign organisms, protecting against multiple life-threatening diseases and providing your pet the best chance at a long, healthy life.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Task Force, vaccines can be classified into three categories: core, non-core and not recommended. Core vaccines are those considered vital to all dogs; non-core are those determined based on outlying factors such as exposure risk, geographic location, etc.
Puppies and kittens should begin to receive vaccinations beginning at about 6-8 weeks, once the benefit of antibodies from its mother's milk is no longer in place.
Of course, as with any medical treatment there are some risks. That's why it's crucial to work with your veterinarian to determine the vaccination schedule for your pet based on breed, age, current health and lifestyle.