Every dog lover knows the feeling of having a new puppy in the house: a complicated feeling, puppies need attention, love, and safety. The fact is, while fun to play with, train, and have in the house, puppies can be complicated and hard to take care of. Everything in their life is dictated by their owner, you, from where they sleep to how they will be safe each day.
Perhaps one of the more important safety decisions will be the shots you have to give them. Of course, going to a vet is always the best option to ensure you are getting the best care for your new dog or puppy. However, it can help to understand what the vet will be talking about ahead of time.
Today, we've gone into what vaccinations that your new puppy will need as well as what bacteria and viruses will be prevented by these shots. After that, we've talked about why getting your puppy vaccinated is not vital just because of the previous list but to keep safe him, you, and those around you. Finally, we've created a list that you can use to understand what to expect in your puppy's first year as well as to use to talk to a vet about your specific needs.
What vaccines do puppies need?
You might have heard that your new puppy needs all kinds of shots to be safe. It's true, they are just like kids, they need to be protected from viruses and diseases from a young age. The main difference, however, is what shots they will need. In this list, we've given you an overview of each major problem that a shot can help with. Of course, don't forget to talk to your vet as they will know more based on your location, situation and specific puppy.
- Bordetella Bronchiseptica: This shot prevents a highly contagious bacteria that causes severe fits of coughing, vomiting, and, in rare cases, death. You might have heard of kennel cough, this is the prime culprit and easily preventable with both shots and nasal sprays. Don't forget to never let your dog share water with a stranger's dog as a bonus for protection.
- Canine Distemper: Spreadable through air by the sneeze or cough of an infected animal, this contagious disease is caused by a virus. Serious to your pet's health, distemper many of your dog's vital systems. With no cure, it can cause discharge, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, death, and more. As before, a shot is a great way to protect your pet. Also, don't' forget to keep your furry child from sharing toys, food, and water with strange pets!
- Canine Hepatitis: This is another non-curable but preventable disease among dogs. It's highly contagious and affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the eyes. Unrelated to human hepatitis, symptoms range from a slight fever to jaundice and pain around the liver. Most dogs can overcome the mild form of this disease; however, the severe form can kill even an otherwise healthy pet. Prevention is key.
- Canine Parainfluenza: One of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough and is easily prevented.
- Corona Virus: This virus usually affects dogs' gastrointestinal systems or respiratory systems. There is no drug that can kill it, but you can help prevent it through vaccination. Signs include including loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Heartworm: Perhaps the most well-known, this is issue can be taken care of with regular treatment in the form of a monthly pill. These worms lodge in the right side of the heart and can travel through the rest of the body sometimes invading the liver and kidneys. Growing upto 14 inches long, if clumped together, they can block and injure organs. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and tests are made vial bloodwork.
- Kennel Cough: Talked about before now, and known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from the inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by a few different reasons and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. In rare cases it can be deadly, though for the most part it is mild and easy to treat. It's spread between dogs kept close together, for example, in kennels.
- Leptospirosis: This disease is caused by bacteria, rather than a virus as many of the rest on this list. Worldwide in soil and water, this zoonotic disease can be spread from animals to people. Antibiotics are effective and best when used right away. Look for, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, infertility, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, kidney failure, and liver failure in both humans and pets that have this infection.
- Lyme Disease: Unlike their human friends, dogs don't get the famous "bull's-eye" rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often do. In fact, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease is a, tick-borne disease caused by a bacterium called a spirochete. An infected dog can be spotted by a sudden limping, swollen lymph nodes, an increase in temperature, and lack of appetite. If left untreated it can affect a number of things and can even lead to neurological disorders. A course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though since Lime Disease is uncurable, relapses can occur.
- Parvovirus: Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs. However, unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk and should be kept safe. This virus attacks the GI system to create loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Highly deadly, the dehydration resulting from this virus can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 72 hours. There is no cure, though keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms will help him keep going until his immune system beats the illness.
- Rabies: The most known issue of all the animal kingdom, rabies is a viral disease that any mammals can get. It invades the central nervous system and causes everything from headache and anxiety to hallucinations, fear of water, and death. Transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, treatment within hours of infection is essential to stave off death. This is a required vaccination by many states and countries.
Why Should You Vaccinate Your Puppy?
To many, it might be no question to vaccinate your new pet. However, there are more reasons that vaccination is vital for your new puppy. We've gotten the five best pro-vaccination reasons together in one short list.
- Widespread vaccination prevents infection: Just like in children, getting your pet vaccinated will ensure that those that can't get vaccinated stay safe. If you don't get our pet vaccinated, even though most others are, you still run much higher a risk of not only getting your pet infected, but others as well.
- Prevention of zoonotic disease: As mentioned for leptospirosis, there are some viruses and bacteria that can be transferred from pet to human. By getting your pet vaccinated, you not only help your pet stay safe, but you and your family as well. Think of another example, rabies.
- It's the law: In many cities, states, and countries, getting your pet vaccinated is the law. Sometimes only rabies is required while other places might require you to get more shots. Always check with local laws to make sure you aren't in danger of getting a ticket or you pet taken away.
- Vaccinations can help to prevent costly medical bills: Your new family member can get into a lot of trouble when playing with their friends. Just like a kid, they can catch a number of things from the ones they play with. Should you choose not to vaccinate, this could end in a trip to the pet ER for bloodwork, pills, and medical help.
- Vaccination will help ensure a long happy life: In the end, vaccination is just a smart thing to do. While not fool-proof, vaccination can help you pet live a longer and healthier life away from preventable disease and death. Getting any and all recommended vaccinations your vet prescribes can keep your pet away from things that could harm both him and you!
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
As you should know each dog is different just like each person. This means that there is not just one schedule for every dog you may encounter or have. Each dog will differ based on where you live both in the world and in the country as well as what your dog's individual risk factors are. Some dogs won't need every shot while others will. This is always something you should talk to your vet about during regular appointments.
When looking at cost, you can expect the average cost for the first year of vaccinations to be round $100, unless you go to a animal shelter where you can get a lower cost if not free. Your core vaccines (DHLPP) will be administered in a series of three shots while others will be on time or every few years. Remember, the cost of a puppy is greatest in its first year, the cost will go down as they age.
6 - 8 Weeks:
Recommended: Distemper, Measles, Parainfluenza
10 - 12 Weeks:
Recommended: DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
Optional: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12 - 14 Weeks:
14 - 16 Weeks:
Optional: Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis
12 - 16 Months:
Recommended: Rabies, DHPP
Optional: Coronavirus, Leptotspirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 - 2 Years:
Optional: Coronavirus, Leptotspirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 - 3 Years:
Required by Law: Rabies
In the first year of having a puppy you have a lot to do whether this is your first puppy or your fifth. From potty and crate training to shots, there are a lot of decisions, plans and talks that you will have to have with your family, vet and even a trainer. With all of that information it's no surprise that it can get complicated very quickly.
We hope that we've created a page that will help you decide what's best for your family and your pet. We also hope that with this guide, you will be better able to have an informed discussion with your vet about what will be best for your specific puppy. Never forget to consult a vet before deciding on treatment. Vet's have years of experience and know more about the local laws and your pet situation ensuring that they can give the best and most relevant advice.