People who choose not to get their children vaccinated often claim they are unnecessary, or even responsible for autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that this is not true.

Recently, though, some people have been using those same justifications tonot vaccinate their pets, too.

Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) surveyed more than than 4,600 pet owners and found that in 2018, about 25% of dogs — 2.2 million of them — had not had their necessary vaccinations when they were young. That’s roughly on par with rates from the year prior, which had jumped significantly. The most common reason people gave for not vaccinating their dog — accounting for 20% of responses — was that “it’s not necessary.”

Medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday that science stands in the way of those allegations: "Dogs don't get autism."

"Dogs may have many problems, like anxiety and separation anxiety, I'm not saying they don't have mental health issues, but as far as science knows, they don’t suffer from autism,” he said.

But there are other medical dangers for our furry friends — just think how many times you've had to scold Fido to get something out of his mouth.

“They do get all kinds of nasty diseases that can kill them," said Caplan. "You have to get your pets vaccinated. You're going to kill your dog.”

Art Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair, and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. He’s also the co-host of the Everyday Ethics podcast. During his interview with Boston Public Radio, he also discussed Maine's potential to approve medical assisted suicide, and other medical headlines.