Administering a Dog Vaccine Shot

Although it's best to have your vet administer a vaccine shot to your dog, you may be able to vaccinate your pet on your own by following a few guidelines. While some vaccines are intranasal, others are shots that have to be administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly. It's important to bear in mind a few guidelines when administering these vaccines, to reduce the risks of side effects or adverse reactions.

Choosing the Right Vaccine

Before administering any vaccine to your dog, you need to first understand the types of vaccines that are available. Most vaccines are either modified live vaccines or killed vaccines. Modified live vaccines are more potent and pets receiving such vaccines require fewer booster shots. These vaccines are safer for use in healthy dogs. Killed vaccines contain a killed version of any particular virus and are safer for use in dogs suffering from immune suppressive diseases.

Dogs that are injected with killed vaccines are also known to develop vaccine associated sarcomas, due to the adjuvants that are present in these vaccines.

Administering a Vaccine

In order to administer a vaccine in an appropriate manner, you need to understand the difference between subcutaneous vaccines and intramuscular vaccines. Subcutaneous vaccines are injected under the pet's skin on the shoulder, while intramuscular vaccines are injected into the pet's muscle.

Since each vaccine has certain administration protocols you need to carefully read the instructions listed on the package before administering the shot to your pet. Avoid reusing the needle or the syringe after injecting the pet. Each vaccine has to be safely administered with a sterile needle and syringe.

Dos and Don'ts

Most pets should be vaccinated as early as 6 to 9 weeks of age, and all puppies should be given the same dose irrespective of their weight. The pet shouldn't be vaccinated if he's ill or suffering from parasite infections. It's also best to avoid vaccinating dogs that are pregnant.

After administering the vaccine to your pet you need to carefully monitor him for signs of any adverse reactions. Since overdose is harmful, consider purchasing single dose vaccines that have the exact amount that you need to administer.

Vaccinating Your Dog:

  • If you're using a single dose vial, insert the syringe into the vial and extract all the solution that it contains.
  • If the vaccine comes along with a second vial that contains a powdered component of the vaccine, inject the contents of the syringe into the second vial, remove the needle and give the vial a good shake.
  • If the vaccine doesn't consist of a second vial, remove any excess air present in the syringe by injecting it once again into the vial. Once this step is completed you will be prepared to administer the vaccine.
  • If the vaccine consists of the second vial, shake the contents of the second vial for five seconds. Insert the needle back into the vial to extract all the solution that's present. Remove any excess air present in the syringe and proceed with the administration of the vaccine.

If you can't administer the vaccine on your own, consider asking a friend for some help. If you're administering it for the first time you could ask a trained vet specialist to supervise you.