Complete Vaccination Guide for Puppies

With a new puppy comes new responsibility. And while most new dog owners are aware of the need to set up a feeding and walking schedule, as well as vet appointments, many don’t realize one of the most important things you must do to help keep your puppy healthy—vaccinating on schedule.

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Vaccines have been proven to work by preventing diseases, many of which can be deadly. In the United States, before vaccines were developed, distemper was often fatal to young dogs, while other diseases could cause lifelong problems.

Today, thanks to vaccines, most puppy diseases are rarely fatal, and those that are can often be managed with treatment.

Not everyone has a knack for the veterinary sciences. So, suppose you’re looking to make sure your puppy is fully immunized. In that case, you may be overwhelmed by the alphabet soup of vaccination acronyms and other information needed to protect your new family member properly.

Fear not! As you read this article, you’ll be able to quickly and easily learn about the basics of puppy vaccinations and how to decide when your pup has had all the shots she needs.

Puppy Vaccinations are Important

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Vaccinating a puppy is an important part of owning a dog. Vaccinations, after all, are what can keep a puppy from contracting deadly diseases like parvovirus, distemper, and rabies.

Vaccinations are important for adult dogs since they can help prevent the spread of disease to other dogs. When it comes to vaccinating your puppy, there are several important things you need to know to ensure that your puppy receives the complete vaccination process.

The vaccination for dogs is important for every pet owner as it makes you feel secure that if your dog ever gets ill, there is a high chance that he will survive.

The first vaccinations are usually performed when the dog is a few weeks old. Many vaccinations must be performed based on the dog’s age and where you live in the country.

You must follow the vaccination schedule closely because your pet may become ill and even die if you miss a vaccination.

What Are The Important Shots That My Puppy Needs To Get?

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For many dog owners, taking their puppy to the vet for a full vaccination can be an overwhelming experience. Vets may give you a booklet, but what if you have questions?

What is the best way to plan for the future when your puppy has to receive multiple injections? Some people get the shots spaced out over time, while others opt to have them done all at once. Which shots do puppies need?

Puppies need to get protective shots to help keep them safe from harmful diseases and viruses. These vaccines will keep your puppy safe from rabies, distemper, parvo, and other dangerous diseases that can make your puppy sick and even kill them. Get your puppy the shots they need from trusted veterinarians.

Knowing More About Dog Diseases

Take a look at those adorable puppy eyes. Are they not enough to melt your heart? But, are you aware that these eyes can also be a medium for carrying some harmful pathogens?

Dogs, as are humans, are also susceptible to numerous diseases. And, the chances of an attack by dog diseases increase if the dog is not vaccinated. 

There are indeed various vaccinations for various dog diseases. Everyone knows that these kinds of things can be quite confusing, especially the most important and optional ones. Before categorizing which of them are of importance, let’s have an overview of the common dog diseases:

  • Canine distemper – This is a viral disease that affects dogs that belong to ruffled viruses in the genus Morbillivirus. It is a highly contagious disease and is transmitted via nasal or oral secretions, urine, feces, or other contacts with infected animals. The virus can remain viable in the environment for up to 18 months.
  • Rabies – The average dog is immune to rabies. However, many dogs are not vaccinated, so the risk of getting rabies is still present. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans. Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. If you know that you have been exposed to rabies, your healthcare provider will give you a series of shots to help prevent the disease.
  • Canine Hepatitis – This refers to a group of viruses that cause inflammation in the liver. The viruses are transmitted through contact between dogs with urine, feces, and saliva. The disease spreads easily from dog to dog. The symptoms of canine hepatitis are similar to other dog illnesses, which makes it difficult to diagnose.
  • Parvovirus – Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily attacks the gastrointestinal tract. These viruses are also known as “canine parvovirus type-2” (CPV-2) and are members of the parvovirus family. The disease was first identified in Europe in 1978 and shortly after that in the United States. It was first recognized in puppies, but older dogs are also susceptible to infection.
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica – These are gram-negative, aerobic coccobacilli bacteria that are found in the respiratory tract of dogs and other mammals. These bacteria are the causative agent of kennel cough, a highly contagious upper respiratory infection that affects the trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
  • Lyme disease – This is a bacterial infection spread by ticks, and there are several types of Lyme disease that affect both dogs and humans. Because the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is a similar species to the bacteria that causes syphilis in humans, which are also spread by ticks, people sometimes refer to Lyme disease as canine syphilis.
  • Kennel cough – This is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Dogs can catch it by inhaling the virus-laden droplets expelled from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected animal. It’s frequently spread through a dog kennel or dog daycare center, hence the name—it’s mostly found in dogs housed in these types of facilities. Symptoms may include a dry, hacking cough, nasal discharge, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
  • Heartworm or Dirofilaria immitis – This is a parasitic disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Heartworm is a disease that affects your dog’s heart and lungs. It can only happen to dogs, not humans. The mosquito transmits it to a dog. If a female mosquito bites a dog infected with heartworm, it can become infected with heartworm. Once infected, the mosquito then transmits the disease to other dogs. The larvae can live up to 5 years in the dog’s heart and lungs. If left untreated, the larvae can grow into adult worms.
  • Canine Parainfluenza – is a viral infection that affects dogs and is a relative of the human cold. It is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs and can also infect unvaccinated pups exposed to sick canines. Symptoms of canine parainfluenza include sneezing, coughing, and a mild fever. The first signs of symptoms usually appear within ten days of exposure to an infected dog.          
  • Leptospirosis – is a disease that affects the kidneys, liver, heart, and other body tissues. It is caused by a bacterium called leptospira canicola. As the disease progresses, it can lead to fever, vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, jaundice, and even death. Although leptospirosis may affect any breed of dog, it is most commonly found in young dogs.
  • Coronavirus – is a contagious virus that can lead to mild to fatal infections in dogs. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms of Coronavirus include coughing, fever, headache, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and eye and nose discharges. Coronavirus is spread through the air, so your dog can become infected just by being near an infected dog or rolling around in the same grass or dirt where an infected dog has previously urinated.

The most common diseases that attack dogs, including distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and rabies, can be easily prevented by reducing the chances of contracting the infection. The best way to do this is by vaccinating your dog against these ailments.

The Core vs. Non-Core Vaccinations

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Our pets live long and healthy lives with the help of vaccinations. The first round of shots, called core vaccinations, should be administered to your dog after he reaches six weeks of age.

This is the best time to start administering them because the puppy’s immune system is still developing and most likely will not be exposed to the viruses that the vaccines will prevent.

As we have mentioned earlier, there are various vaccinations for various diseases. Confusing? Yes, many pet owners, not just you, got confused and didn’t know which are the important ones that their puppies should be getting.

Sometimes, this confusion led to hindering the puppy’s chance to get it. Why? Sometimes it is the misconception that one vaccination is good enough.

Well, it is still better to be safe than be sorry for your puppy. Let’s categorize the vaccines that are of high importance and that are optional.

The seven core vaccines are distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, leptospirosis, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Other optional vaccines are canine influenza, Bordetella, and Lyme disease.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

In the first few weeks of a puppy’s life, they are more susceptible to illness. Puppies can only produce immunities after they have been in contact with viruses or bacteria.

The most common diseases that affect puppies are Parvovirus, Distemper, or Canine Coronavirus. The solution for this is to set up a vaccination schedule.

Depending on what part of the USA you live in, you might want to get your puppy vaccinated against Canine Parvovirus (CPV or Parvo), Adenovirus, and Parainfluenza (CPI or Parainflu).

These viruses are highly contagious and can cause severe gastrointestinal issues if your puppy contracts the virus.

The vaccines are approved for puppies as young as six weeks old, so if you plan on getting a puppy from a pet store, call the store to see if they will give your puppy the vaccines at that age. They will probably suggest waiting until your puppy is at least eight weeks old.

Puppy vaccination schedules have changed over the years, mostly from the development of new vaccines. While vets once recommended yearly vaccinations, the standard has shifted to three vaccinations for parvovirus, distemper, and hepatitis, and two for rabies, given at specific times in a puppy’s first year of life.

The good news is that most of the time, these vaccines last their entire lifetime, but as you’ll soon learn, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before starting or changing your dog’s vaccination schedule.

Are Puppy Vaccinations Costly?

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If you’re an American puppy owner, don’t ever be surprised if the topic of puppy vaccinations comes up during a conversation with your veterinarian. For one, it’s one of the most common pet health issues in the U.S. But there’s a chance you’ll be shocked to learn that the topic isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

And while veterinarians are well-versed in the pros and cons, an equal number of honest, reputable sources are available that provide a more unbiased viewpoint on the topic of puppy vaccinations.

While many pet health plans cover the cost of vaccination, some do not. Even if your dog’s vaccinations are covered, you are still paying a lot of money out of pocket.

While the cost of a puppy vaccination is more the older your dog is, the cost of giving your dog a yearly vaccination is still substantial. You are looking at anywhere between $8 and $20 per visit.

What’s Next?

After the puppy completed the vaccination, what’s next? It is good to know that the puppy starts to show resistance after the vaccination.

It only needs to be administered once a year, but you must learn the importance of these visits and how the rest of the family can help the puppy and the family members. The family can help the puppy achieve the best possible health by helping to prevent illnesses.

All of these can be done by properly caring for the puppy by giving it the right food, feeding it the right doses of medicine, and giving it plenty of love and affection.

Once your puppy has received the first round of shots, you will need to administer booster shots and titers to maintain immunity against various diseases.

Titer involves testing your puppy’s blood to determine whether he has an immune response to a particular disease.

If your puppy has an immune response that was likely induced by a previous vaccination, it is a sign that he still has immunity. Booster shots are administered to boost the immune response to a particular disease.

If you want to learn more about vaccines and their role in dog health, head over to dedicated websites for dog health or talk to your vet.

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