A Guide to Puppy Vaccinations

Puppy vaccinations are essential to the future well being of your dog. Without them, your dog is at risk for many serious and life-threatening diseases. Whether your dog spends time regularly with other dogs, or your dog is somewhat isolated, vaccinations are important to their overall health. Exposure to the outside elements can put your dog at risk of contracting various different diseases. Therefore, starting off with a basic set of puppy vaccinations can give them a better start in life. 

What Types of Vaccinations Should Your Puppy Have?

There are several vaccinations available to treat a variety of diseases. A set of basic shots, also known as a DHLPPC booster, is given to protect against the most common and most serious of all diseases. Basic puppy vaccinations include:  

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus
  • Para influenza
  • Corona virus

Lyme disease is more predominate in areas with a high tick population. If you live in a heavily wooded area or one that is known to have a high population of ticks, a vaccination to protect your dog from Lyme disease is important. Also, if your dog spends significant amounts of time around other animals, you may want to consider a vaccination against Bordetella. Bordetella is more commonly known as kennel cough and spreads very rapidly between dogs. Rabies is a vaccination that your puppy will be required to get. The Rabies vaccination will not be given with the booster because your puppy is likely not yet old enough. However, once your puppy is old enough, state laws regulate that he receive a Rabies shot every year. In order to ensure maximum protection for your dog, the DHLPPC booster should be repeated every year, also.

When Should Puppy Vaccinations Be Given?

A veterinarian will not vaccinate a puppy under the age of 6 weeks. Once your puppy reaches that age, the DHLPPC booster will be given. The booster will be repeated twice and given at 3 to 4 week intervals. However, your puppy cannot receive the Rabies vaccination until around 12 weeks of age. The Lyme and Bordetella vaccinations should be given at no sooner than 14 weeks.

What Do Puppy Vaccinations Do?

The natural immunities from a mother's milk are only thought to last for the first 20 weeks of life. After that, a puppy is unprotected from the dangers of disease. A vaccine of either a live virus or killed virus is used to trigger a response from the immune system. The immune system then releases antibodies to fight against the virus. When the antibodies are released, the immune system learns how to respond and destroy future viruses of that type.

Because of the response from the immune system, a vaccination should never be given to a puppy that is sick with a fever or illness. When the immune system is already working to fight off one strain of illness, it is likely that the vaccination will not be effective.

What Are the Side Effects of Puppy Vaccinations?

Although side effects are rare, they are not impossible. Naturally, there may be some soreness at the injection site or your puppy may even run a mild fever. This is not anything to panic about because it is completely normal. However, you should always watch for signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, as these can be life-threatening conditions.

In most cases, side effects are minor and serious side effects are rare. Providing your puppy with a basic set of shots helps give them a healthy start in life. By continuing to have your dog vaccinated every year, you are helping to protect them against the most serious strains of diseases.