Giving Dog Vaccination

A trip to the veterinarian can be very stressful for your dog, so some owners opt to give dog vaccinations at home, which involves less cost and less stress. However, you must take precautions.


If you have never given a vaccination, ask your veterinarian or vet tech to give you a demonstration. If your dog has ever had a reaction to a vaccination, don't vaccinate at home. You don't have the medication on hand to treat a reaction, which may result in serious health problems or even death for your dog. Avoid giving combination shots, which are most likely to cause a reaction.

For two to three hours after giving your dog his vaccination, be sure to observe his behavior. If you notice vomiting, lethargy, hives or labored breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately. Have all the information about the vaccination, where you obtained it and when and where it was given handy when you call.

Follow all instruction associated with the vaccine. Sometimes, improper handling can render the vaccination ineffective. Read the vaccine to make sure it needs to be administered subcutaneously. Some need to be injected into the muscle, which is best done by a veterinarian.

Rabies vaccinations administered at home are not valid for cities and states that require rabies vaccines, so consult your veterinarian before administering rabies vaccines at home.

Administering the Vaccine

Many vaccinations come in two vials, one containing the liquid and one containing the powder. Using caution not to contaminate the needle by touching it, insert the syringe into the container with the liquid, which is usually done by sticking the needle through the lid. Withdraw all the liquid.

Insert the liquid into the vial with the powder mixture. If the vaccination is pre-mixed, you will be able to skip this step. Shake the mixture for a few seconds to ensure proper mixing. Then, withdraw all of the liquid from the vial again.

Make sure there are no air bubbles in the syringe.

Pinch the loose skin in between your dog's shoulder blades between your fingers and thumb, which will create a triangle. Insert the needle into the the lower portion of the triange at a 45 degree angle, using caution not to push the needle straight through the skin and out to the other side. Push in the syringe to inject the entire vaccination.

Be sure to properly dispose of the needle at your local veterinarian or health clinic. You cannot just throw it in the garbage.

Keeping Your Dog Calm

Giving a vaccination may require two people, one who can hold onto your dog and keep him calm. Use a leash or collar to make sure your pet doesn't escape mid-vaccination, and muzzle your dog if you are concerned about being nipped. If you are nervous, your dog will also be nervous.

Reward your dog for standing calmly with praise, pets or treats. One option for distracting your dog is rubbing peanut butter or liver paste on the wall of your shower and allowing him to lick it during the vaccination process.

If you use caution, you can create an unstressful environment for your dog to receive his vaccinations.