When you bring home a new puppy, there will be many items on your to-do list. Introduce the puppy to your family, work on potty training, find the right puppy food, get puppy shots. It's the last item on this list that new puppy owners typically have the most questions about. What are these shots and what do they do? Does my puppy really need all these shots? These are valid questions, and with a little research, you'll find that puppy shots are very beneficial for both you and your pup.
So what are puppy shots? First of all, what most people call “puppy shots,” doctors call vaccinations or boosters. When puppy owners hear “vaccination” they typically think of the annual rabies shot their dogs get, but puppies actually need quite a few more vaccinations than that. Puppy vaccinations help dogs lead full and healthy lives. Vaccines protect your dog from infectious diseases that can spread quickly from dog to dog or be picked up while outside playing. The first round of shots your puppy will receive are called boosters.
Puppy Boosters Explained
Boosters are the first round of shots your puppy receives that help to boost his immune system. Typically, puppies get their first round of boosters between six and eight weeks of age. At this appointment, your puppy will receive his first distemper and measles vaccine.
Next, between 12-20 weeks of age, your puppy will need his first rabies shot. Rabies shots are like human flu shots in that they don't last forever. Your puppy will need a new rabies shot every year. Vets do this so that they can be assured that it can fight off rabies if your pet is ever attacked. In fact, it's state law in most parts of the country to have your pet's rabies shot updated every year. We recommend consulting with your vet to make sure your shot schedule is compliant with your state's regulations.
When your puppy is between 16-20 weeks old, he'll be ready to receive his DHPP vaccine. This one shot contains four vaccines that fight distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Some vets recommend dogs receive this vaccination again every few years, but others are ok with your pup only receiving this vaccination while they're young. Also while your puppy is young, your vet will most likely also recommend vaccinating against Lyme, leptospirosis, and coronavirus. These vaccines will typically be recommended based on the climate you and your pup live in. Your vet can help you decide whether or not partake of these vaccinations.
Typically, puppies wrap up their puppy shots, or boosters, around the 20-week mark. After this point, your puppy will require yearly rabies shots, but everything else is up to your discretion. We recommend talking to your vet to best determine what your dog's yearly or lifelong vaccination schedule will look like.
Keeping Disease Away
Each shot has been crafted to fight against a specific disease. Read more about what each shot does down below.
Bordetella: Bordetella is a bacteria that causes kennel cough. When dogs are young, they have weak immune systems, making them especially susceptible to this dangerous disease. While puppies who are boarded are more likely to contract kennel cough, your pup can pick up kennel cough anywhere. From the vet's office to a dog park, you'll want to protect your pup. The Bordetella vaccination, DHPP, greatly decreases your puppy's chances of contracting kennel cough. When left untreated, kennel cough can develop into a serious upper respiratory disease that can lead to lung collapse.
Distemper: Distemper is a viral disease that viciously attacks a dog's respiratory and nervous systems. This disease is highly contagious and can be extremely difficult to treat. This disease usually tends to be fatal in your dogs. Vets recommend that puppies be treated with the Distemper vaccine at an early age.
Hepatitis: Hepatitis is a viral disease that attacks a dog's liver and eyes. This disease can also lead to reproductive issues. Humans cannot contract Hepatitis from dogs.
Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that, like Hepatitis, attacks a dog's liver and kidneys. But unlike Hepatitis, Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans through dogs. Your puppy's DHPP vaccine is what keeps this troubling disease away.
Parainfluenza: Parainfluenza is a viral respiratory disease that is highly contagious that can spread from dog to dog. With the disease being so contagious, shelters and boarding facilities are particularly vulnerable to this disease.
Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a serious, highly contagious, and often fatal disease that is especially dangerous for puppies. The Parvovirus attacks and suppresses a dog's immune system, resulting in severe vomiting and diarrhea. DHPP is also responsible for fighting off this disease.
Rabies: Rabies is one of the most well-known vaccinations on this list. Almost everyone knows that pets need rabies vaccinations. This is another puppy disease that can be spread to pet's human counterparts. Rabies can be spread through wounds, via the saliva of a rabid animal. Most animals can contract rabies; including bats, cats, rabbits, skunks, coyotes and other small mammals. Rabies can be treated in humans when caught early enough, but it can be fatal in dogs. It's very important that your dog is up-to-date on his rabies vaccinations.
Keep Your Puppy Healthy With site
When you bring home a new puppy you're promising to love and care for it for all of its days; that includes seeing to their medical needs. Vaccinations may seem expensive at the time, but treating any of the diseases that these vaccinations present can be much, much, more. When it comes to your puppy's health, it's better to be proactive as opposed to reactive. One easy way to help cut down on the cost of vaccinations is through pet insurance. It's just like human insurance, but for your pet! With most plans covering the cost of vaccinations, routine care, and even food, you can keep your puppy healthy and your wallet happy.