Getting your puppy vaccinated is a vital part of responsible pet ownership. A young puppy’s infant immune system is especially prone to illness and disease, so getting your puppy on a vaccination regimen is crucial to having a healthy, happy pet.
What vaccines does your puppy need?
A good veterinarian will be able to tell you which vaccines are appropriate for your puppy, and at what ages. Core vaccines that every puppy should receive include:
- Rabies virus
- Distemper virus
Non-core vaccines are dependent on where you live and what your puppy’s lifestyle will be. Some common non-core vaccines include:
- Bordetella (kennel cough)
- Lyme disease vaccine.
When does your puppy need vaccines?
Typically, puppies need to be vaccinated every 2-3 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. If you have a very small puppy, your vet may recommend that the vaccines are administered over a course of several days.
Are vaccinations safe?
There is debate in the veterinary community about the frequencyin which vaccines are administered, but the general consensus is that vaccines, especially puppy vaccines, are vital for your puppy’s well-being and for the safety and well-being of the community.
In rare cases, dogs can have adverse reactions to vaccines, called vaccinosis. Some reactions are mild, while others can be potentially life-threatening. If your dog has a reaction to a vaccine, your veterinarian will be able to go over the best way to keep your dog immunized without subjecting him to unnecessary additional vaccines.
You should always monitor your dog for any health or behavior changes immediately following the administration of any vaccine. Prompt intervention can help more serious symptoms from developing.
Can I socialize my puppy before he has all his vaccines?
While you should not bring your puppy to areas heavily traveled by other dogs (such as pet stores, dog parks, etc) until he is fully immunized, it is also important to not keep your puppy isolated from interaction with others. In doing so, you will miss his critical 'fear periods' where it is extremely important he have positive experiences.
- Find a qualified trainer who holds puppy classes. These classes will be specially designed to be fun and safe for your puppy.
- Make playdates in your home or yard with other dogs who you know are immunized and are not carrying any contagious diseases.
- Invite friends and family over to help socialize your puppy. Make sure they wash their hands before touching him.
- Take your puppy for rides in the car so that he can experience the larger world around him, making sure that the car is a pleasant experience for him.
Talk to your veterinarian about the best vaccine regimen for your dog.
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