Puppies are like newborn infants that require the utmost care and grooming practices. In their formative months, they develop, mentally and physically while interacting with the outside world. They rely on us for nourishment, socialization, shelter and physical care.
They are prone to infections, diseases and lifelong conditions that might cause early death. Therefore, it is important for dog owners, to vaccinate their puppies to prevent any such circumstances.
When you bring that soft, sweet, ball of fur in your house, it becomes your sole responsibility to look after it. The first thing you do is get in-depth knowledge of all the vaccinations your puppy requires at different stages of its life.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), puppies between the age of 6 and 16 weeks should be vaccinated every two to four weeks. Here is a detailed article on how, when and why you should vaccinate your pet.
WHY SHOULD I GET MY PET VACCINATED?
Contrary to the popular beliefs, a majority of new pet owners still believe that it isn’t necessary for them to get their puppies vaccinated. A study conducted by veterinarians at the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, in association with the Dane County Humane Society suggested the low vaccination rate in advanced countries like the US.
The samples that they collected from various animal shelters showed that only 50% of the dogs were vaccinated to canine distemper and parvovirus.
Unvaccinated dogs spread disease when they defecate in the open. They cause a threat to other seemingly isolated pets and are themselves at risk when they visit dog parks and other animal social clubs. Diseases like parvovirus remain active in the environment and infect any animal that hasn’t been immunized.
There are some fatal diseases that are a threat to every dog breed, irrespective of the below-listed factors.
It is a fatal, incurable disease caused by a deadly virus that affects dogs, raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. It causes the respiratory and nervous system to fail, leads to coughing, vomiting diarrhea, seizures and often death. It is a contagious disease that is airborne and is transmitted through food, water, and other shared equipment as well.
Again, an extremely contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system leading to loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, weight loss, etc.
Parainfluenza causes kennel cough, a non-life-threatening disease that causes permanent coughing in dogs.
Synonymous to dogs, rabies is a virus that ravages the central nervous system of animals and humans. It causes the brain to inflame, resulting in headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, paralysis, and death.
A single shot known as a 5-Way Combination Vaccine or a 5 in 1 Vaccine is used for Canine Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza while rabies is always handled separately.
WHEN TO VACCINATE YOUR PUPPY?
The “puppy shot series” is a list of vaccinations scheduled for every puppy depending upon several factors.
The puppy shot series starts from 6 to 8 weeks of its birth with vaccines given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks of age.
You should discuss the time frame of vaccination with the vet and make sure you follow it.
Be prepared and know in advance of all the vaccines your dog will require. The duration and type of vaccines depend upon several factors and needn’t necessarily be the same for every puppy. Some of these factors are:
- The puppy’s breed.
- The puppy’s age.
- The total number of puppies that were in the litter.
- The mother’s immunity and health status during birth.
- The cleanliness and set up of the environment they were raised in
- Other vaccines that the puppy might have already had from the breeder, shelter when they had it.
- The part of the country they’re in and have come from
- The type of “lifestyle” the puppy is going to have (i.e., will they go to doggie daycare, the groomer, will they hike or go fishing with you, etc.)
6-8 WEEKS OF AGE
1.DA2P (“Parvo” or “Distemper shot”)
This is a core combination shot that protects against Distemper, Adenovirus (Canine Infectious Hepatitis), and Parvovirus.
2. Bordetella is also known as “Kennel Cough”
This is a non-core vaccine. The initial vaccine can be given at this age if necessary, depending on the type of vaccine used.
3. Canine Influenza Virus or Dog Flu
This is a non-core vaccine. There are two different canine flu vaccines available, each protecting against a different strain of dog flu. If needed, a dog can receive this vaccine starting at 6 or 8 weeks of age.
9-12 WEEKS OF AGE
This is round two of the DA2P vaccine against Distemper, Adenovirus (Canine Infectious Hepatitis), and “Parvo.”
2.Bordetella “Kennel Cough”—non-core
Round two of Bordetella vaccine.
3.Canine Influenza Virus (a.k.a. “Dog Flu”)—non-core
12-16 WEEKS OF AGE
By now the puppy’s immune system has become more efficient. It no longer relies on its maternal immune system to protect itself from diseases. The boosters during this stage are important for retaining their immunity.
- DA2P – core
- Bordetella —non-core
- Rabies—core: Can receive once over 13 weeks old. State and local regulations determine the age by which all dogs must be rabies vaccinated.
The initial vaccine in a 2-part series in the first year.
The initial vaccine in a 2-part series in the first year.
15-17 WEEKS OF AGE
The final “Distemper” combo shot in the puppy shots series should be given around this time. This may be given as a DA2PP, which is the same thing but it also protects against Parainfluenza.
After 19 weeks, your puppy ‘s immunity has developed rapidly. It is protected against all the major viruses and diseases. You can now take it to dog parks, doggy care, sidewalks etc. All the vaccines and shots for the first year can cost you around $75-$150, depending upon where you live. This shall not burn a hole in your pocket, but it will surely secure a life.
Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescued Flemish Giant Rabbit and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and an educationist, with more than 6 years experience in the field of content writing.