Vets often get asked by pet parents if they really need to get dog vaccines for their pets. The resounding answer from veterinarians is YES, they do. Despite hearing this, many pet parents still have questions, mainly about the risks involved. Sometimes, we get too much information over the internet which leads to confusion and more questions. As an effort to help make lives easier for pet parents (we have been through this, too!), we have provided a comprehensive list on the most important things you need to know about dog vaccination.
- Newborn puppies get antibodies from their mothers. Yes, puppies receive immunity-boosting antibodies through their mother’s milk. However, these antibodies normally last only for the first few weeks. So vaccinations are an essential part of your pet’s health care regime for life.
- Getting a Dog Vaccine will help fight future infections. Vaccines are primarily designed to trigger protective immune responses in pets. When pets come in contact with these disease-causing agents, the dog’s immune system produces antibodies to fight against the specific illness. However, if our pet does come down with a disease it has already been vaccinated for, the illness is often much less severe. If the pet is non-vaccinated, treatments are usually very expensive aside from the diseases being fatal.
- Not all pets should get all the dog vaccines on the list. Your pet’s breed, lifestyle, and environment typically determines what vaccines are optimal. Veterinarians often need to know specific things about your pet to determine the perfect vaccination plan.
- Vital and recommended vaccines are called Core Vaccines. These vaccines are given to every pet based on a universal risk of exposure, the severity of the disease, and the risk of transmission to other dogs, as well as other animal species including human beings.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends the following as Core Vaccines:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Distemper
- Non-Core vaccines are given to pets at risk for contracting a specific disease. Non-core dog vaccines include:
- Canine Influenza (dog flu)
- Lyme vaccine
These are often lifestyle vaccines reserved for individual pets with unique needs. Vets will consider your pet’s risk of exposure to a variety of preventable diseases to customize a vaccine program for optimal protection throughout your pet’s life.
- The rabies vaccine is a must — it’s the law. Rabies is a serious and fatal disease that can spread from infected animals to humans. It can be passed on to people by contact with the saliva of an infected pet. This is why vets are bound by law to give our fur babies a rabies vaccine as early as 12 weeks in order to protect you, as well as your pet.
- Puppies should start vaccines as soon as you get them, or about 6-8 weeks from birth. After that, a series of vaccinations are scheduled by your vet usually three to four weeks apart for most puppies. Take note that an incomplete series of dog vaccines may lead to incomplete protections making puppies vulnerable to infections. This is why it is important to stay current in your puppies vaccination schedule.
- Serious vaccine reactions are very uncommon. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the potential for its side effects. The fact is most pets respond well to vaccines. The most common adverse responses are similar to what you might experience yourself after a vaccine, which are mild and short-lived. This may include fever, sluggishness, and reduced appetite. Pets may also experience temporary pain or subtle swelling at the site of the vaccination. If you suspect a more severe reaction to dog vaccines, such as facial swelling, vomiting or lethargy, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Don’t administer dog vaccines by yourself. Some vaccines are widely available from sources other than your vet. There are certain risks in taking such responsibility. If vaccines are improperly stored, handled, or administered, it may not protect your pets against illness. The vets are well-trained professionals paid to do this correctly.
- Don’t hesitate to address your concerns with your veterinarian. Caring for your pet is a team effort between you and your vet. The vets will recommend dog vaccines based on what they know about your pet. This is why communicating with your vet is important in giving the best possible care for your fur baby.
It is essential to discuss a vaccination program with your vet. A vaccination schedule should be established during your pet’s first visit. It is also critical that the vaccination schedule is adhered to without deviation. To help us manage the vaccination of our furbabies, Yepipet offers a tech solution to this problem.
By using the Yepipet app, vaccination management becomes way easier. The app will help you monitor your pet’s health. You can also add medications, store medical information, access resources about dog vaccines, and common health problems for your pet’s breed. Download the app now.