Aging Pets Need Special Care

Vaccinating Your Puppy: 3 Pertinent Questions Answered

If you have recently acquired a new puppy, you are probably aware of the responsibilities you have accepted. You'll want to provide a healthy diet, socialization, and a comfortable, safe home for your new canine companion. Equally important will be providing veterinary care for your furry friend, and this includes having your pup vaccinated to protect him or her against harmful disease. If this is your first time caring for a puppy, you may have questions and concerns about vaccinations. While you should discuss your concerns with your veterinarian, it may help to educate yourself beforehand. Here are frequently asked questions, along with the answers you may be seeking.

1. Why Is It Necessary to Have a Puppy Vaccinated?

Your dog may be exposed to many canine diseases that can be potentially life threatening or cause serious complications. Vaccinations for distemper, canine parvovirus, rabies, and canine hepatitis are the most essential, with optional vaccinations being those for Lyme disease and canine influenza, to name a few.

Obviously, core vaccinations are important as they protect your pet from contracting a canine disease that may have a risk of serious complications. Not only would disease put your pet's health at jeopardy, but also it could cost you an exorbitant amount of money in veterinary bills. Also, consider the fact that some canine diseases are actually transmittable to humans. This means by choosing not to have your puppy vaccinated, you can be placing yourself and your family's health at risk as well.

2. Are the Vaccination Guidelines the Same for All Dogs?

In a word, no. While the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has put forth a set of guidelines intended to offer veterinarians some direction, one factor should be noted: The recommended frequency of vaccinations are not the same for all dogs. This means a veterinarian will construct an immunization structure that is suited to the unique needs of your dog.

For one thing, the vet will take into account your puppy's age. As a general rule, a puppy should not receive vaccinations for distemper before several weeks of age. Conversely, your dog may not receive a rabies inoculation until it is older. The dog may then need booster shots periodically, at a time frame your vet may decide.

There are other aspects your veterinarian will consider as well. Will your puppy come in contact with other pets? If you plan on boarding your pup at a dog kennel periodically, your vet may recommend more frequent inoculations. The same may apply to pet owners who travel with their dogs frequently. In addition, your vet will consider your puppy's breed and overall health status when constructing a vaccination program.

3. Will the Puppy Be at Risk for Complications Because of a Vaccine?

As with any medical procedure for your pet, side effects may occur after receiving a vaccination. However, these side effects are generally mild and may include some tenderness or swelling around the injection site. It should be noted, however, that in some rare instances, a dog may experience a more serious complication, such as an allergic reaction. Any pet that shows signs of an allergic reaction, such as extreme swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, should be seen by a veterinarian at once.

If you have concerns about health risks due to puppy vaccinations, discuss this with your vet. Also, inform the vet if your puppy has experienced side effects to other vaccinations in the past. Your vet will decide if the benefits of the vaccination outweigh the possibility of side effects. In most cases, the risk will be greater not to have your pup vaccinated, although the vet is most qualified to make that decision. For more information, visit a website such as