If you have a new puppy, then you will want to make sure that you take proper care of them. They can definitely be a huge responsibility, because they require special care and attention. One of the first things that you need to do when you bring your pup home is make sure that they have their immunizations. By following a puppy vaccination schedule, you can help to keep your pup healthy throughout their entire lifespan.
The Importance of Vaccinating Your Pup
Sure, you probably have heard it a million times, but immunizations cannot be taken for granted. The core vaccines that your pet receives are going to help to protect them against diseases that may be fatal for them. Why wait and have to treat your pet for these conditions when you can prevent them with safe, effective immunizations?
When to Get Started
Your puppy should get their first set of shots around 6 to 8 weeks of age. If you have adopted a pet, or bought one from a breeder, they may have already given them their first set of shots. Just remember, if these immunizations are given too early, they may not be effective. You may need to get their medical records so that you can discuss your options with your veterinarian. If they haven’t had any shots at all, then you don’t want to wait. Get them in to see your vet for a check-up and their first round of shots.
What Affects the Puppy Vaccination Schedule?
There are several factors that can affect your puppy’s vaccination schedule. First of all, you need to consider their age. Age has a lot to do with it, because puppies have antibodies that are passed down from their mother. If there are high levels of antibodies, then immunizations will not be effective. This is why you need to wait until they are at least six weeks old, some even prefer to wait for the eight week mark. Just don’t push it out too far, because this will require you to do a series of boosters just to ensure that they are protected.
Next, you should be aware of the regulations that have been set forth for the rabies vaccination. This is a vaccine that is regulated on the state level, rather than the federal level. Some states require pups to get a rabies vaccine once per year, while others may let you wait three years between immunizations. No matter what you do, make sure that you keep a record of your pup’s rabies vaccinations. This is something that is required by law in most states.
Finally, your veterinarian may want to tweak the average puppy vaccination schedule for your puppy. Geographical location, whether your pet lives indoors or outdoors, and whether there are other pets in the home can all play a part in their recommendations for vaccinations.
What Vaccines Does Your Pup Need
One question that we are often asked is what vaccines are important for pups. There are many different vaccines that are given to pups, but there are a few that are essential. Talk to your vet about possible vaccines that your pet may need, but always make sure that your pup is vaccinated for the following:
Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if there are other immunizations that may be important for your pet to receive.
A Typical Puppy Vaccination Schedule
When your pup is first born, they will likely need to get regular vaccines for the first 3-4 months of their life, at 2 to 4 week intervals. Most veterinarians give shots based on the following schedule:
|6 – 8 Weeks
|Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus (a.k.a DHPP)
|10 – 12 Weeks
|Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Para Influenza, Parvovirus (a.k.a DHLPP)
|12 – 16 Weeks
|Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Para Influenza, Parvovirus (a.k.a DHLPP), Rabies
|Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Para Influenza, Parvovirus (a.k.a DHLPP), Rabies (1 or 3 years, as required by your state’s law
|Bordetella, Coronavirus, Lyme Disease, Rattlesnake Vaccine
Just remember, you don’t have to stick strictly to this schedule. You just don’t want to fall behind. If your dog has fallen behind, then you will want to take them in and get them caught up. It may require a follow up booster, just to ensure proper protection from viruses and other illnesses.
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An Overview of Recommended Core Vaccines
Canine Distemper – Distemper is a contagious and fatal infection that affects puppies, and causes gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and possible encephalitis seizures. Distemper vaccines are first given around 6 weeks of age, but it is often given as a part of the DHPP or DHLPP, which includes other important immunizations.
Hepatitis – Hepatitis is another contagious and fatal infection that leads to liver failure and cornea lesions. This vaccine is also included in the DHPP and DHLPP.
Parainfluenza – Parainfluenza is a viral infection that causes upper respiratory infection. It is passed along much like our version of the flu. This is another virus that is covered in the DHPP and DHLPP.
Parvovirus – Parvovirus is a very dangerous viral infection that affects the digestive tract. It leads to foul smelling diarrhea, upset stomach and vomiting. It can be life threatening as well. This is the last P in the DHPP and DHLPP vaccines.
Rabies – It is generally required by law for your pup to be vaccinated against rabies. Rabies can be life threatening, and can cause severe aggression in dogs. It is important to have your pup vaccinated for it when they turn a year old.
Finally, we need to look at the risks that are associated with vaccinating your dog. Truthfully, there are far more risks when you don’t vaccinate, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be aware of the risks of vaccinating. Generally, pups may have fever or pain at the sight of the injection, or they may have swelling, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, or other serious side effects. Just keep an eye out for your pup for a day or so after the vaccines. Most pets don’t have adverse reactions, and it isn’t something that should keep you from following the recommended puppy vaccination schedule.