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What Vaccination Does Your Puppy Need?

When you bring ta puppy into your home, you immediately realize that your new puppy relies on you for, well, everything. It is your responsibility to provide all of your new puppy's needs on a daily basis. It can be a little scary — your puppy requires the best puppy food, plenty of attention, puppy training, puppy-friendly toys, puppy socialization, a comfortable and safe sleeping environment, and regular veterinary care. This involves scheduling puppy immunizations throughout your puppy's first year. 

What Shots Do Puppies Need?
Going to the doctor many months apart for a round of puppy immunizations—and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog's life—may appear inconvenient, but the diseases that vaccinations protect our puppies and dogs from are severe, possibly fatal, and, thankfully, usually preventable. 


We learn about so many different dog vaccinations for so many different ailments that it can be difficult to determine which vaccines puppies require and which puppy immunizations are vital yet optional. Here's a list of ailments that puppy immunizations can help your pet prevent. 

Bordetella bronchiseptica 
This extremely infectious bacterium causes severe coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in some cases, seizures and death. It is the main cause of kennel cough. Vaccines are offered in both injectable and nasal spray form. 

If you intend to board your puppy in the future, attend group training lessons, or use dog daycare services, evidence of immunization will typically be requested. 

Canine Distemper 
Distemper is a severe and widespread disease caused by a virus that targets the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous systems of dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals. It spreads via airborne exposure (sneezing or coughing) from an affected animal. The virus can also be spread through shared food and water bowls and equipment. It produces discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, twitching, paralysis, and, in many cases, death. This condition was previously referred to as "hard pad" because it caused the footpad to thicken and harden. 

There is no cure for distemper. Treatment comprises of supportive care and measures to prevent subsequent infections, as well as the control of vomiting, seizures, and other symptoms. If the animal survives the symptoms, the dog's immune system may be able to fight it off. Infected dogs can shed the pathogen for several months. 

Canine Hepatitis 
Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the dog's liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. This liver illness is caused by a virus unrelated to the human type of hepatitis. Symptoms range from a low-grade fever and mucous membrane congestion to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and liver pain. Many dogs may overcome the moderate form of the sickness, but the severe type can be fatal. There is no cure, but doctors can manage the symptoms. 

Canine ParaInfluenza 
This is one of several viruses that can cause kennel cough. 

Canine coronavirus 
The canine coronavirus is not the same as the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. COVID-19 is not regarded to pose a health risk to dogs, and there is no indication that it makes them sick. Canine coronavirus primarily affects dogs' gastrointestinal systems, although it can also cause respiratory infections. The most common GI symptoms are lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable while also alleviating nausea, but no medicine can kill coronaviruses. 

Heartworm 
When your puppy is 12 to 16 weeks old, consult your veterinarian about starting a heartworm preventive medicine. Although there is no vaccination for heartworm in dogs, it can be prevented with routinely provided heartworm treatment prescribed by your veterinarian. 

The name is self-explanatory: these worms live in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (which transport blood to the lungs), but they can also migrate throughout the body and occasionally enter the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow up to 14 inches long and, when clumped together, block and harm organs. 

A fresh heartworm infection usually produces no symptoms, but dogs in the later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite, or have difficulties breathing. Infected dogs may fatigue after light exercise. Unlike the majority of the illnesses listed here, which are spread through urine, feces, and other bodily fluids, heartworms are transferred by mosquitos. As a result, instead of a fecal exam, a blood test is used to make the diagnosis. 

Kennel Cough. 
Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is caused by an inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other illnesses, including Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and it frequently involves many infections at the same time. The condition is usually mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; nevertheless, it can occasionally be severe enough to cause retching and choking, as well as a loss of appetite. In rare situations, it can be fatal. It is easily transmitted between dogs housed close together, which is why it spreads swiftly in kennels. Antibiotics are normally unnecessary, especially in severe, persistent conditions. Your veterinarian may recommend a dog-safe cough suppressant to assist your dog (and you) rest, as well as some dog-safe throat soothers to help a dog feel more comfortable. 

Leptospirosis 
Unlike the other diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may not exhibit any symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found everywhere in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted from animal to human. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, lack of appetite, extreme weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle soreness, infertility, and renal failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics work, and the sooner they're given, the better. 

Lyme Disease 
Unlike the well-known "bull's-eye" rash that people infected with Lyme disease frequently see, dogs do not exhibit this symptom. Lyme disease (also known as borreliosis) is an infectious disease transmitted by ticks and caused by a spirochete bacteria. Infected dogs frequently limp, their lymph nodes enlarge, their fever rises, and they stop eating after contracting the disease through ticks. If not addressed, the condition can damage his heart, kidneys, and joints, as well as cause neurological issues. If discovered immediately, a course of antibiotics is extremely beneficial, although relapses can occur months or even years later. 

Consult your veterinarian about when your puppy will be old enough for tick preventatives. Once your puppy is old enough, keep him on tick prevention medication, topicals, or wearables to help avoid tick bites in the first place. 

Parvovirus 
Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months old are more likely to catch it. The virus targets the gastrointestinal tract, causing loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and, in severe cases, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can occur quickly and kill a dog within 48-72 hours, so urgent veterinary intervention is critical. There is no cure, but keeping the dog hydrated and treating the secondary symptoms can help him get through the sickness until his immune system recovers. 

Rabies 
Rabies is a viral disease that infects mammals' central nervous systems, resulting in headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most commonly spread through the bite of a mad animal. Treatment should begin within hours of infection; else, death is quite likely. Most states require regular rabies vaccines. Check with your veterinarian about the rabies vaccine regulations and requirements in your area. 

Consult your veterinarian for more information and help on mandatory and optional immunizations.

 

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

The first thing to know is that there is not just one puppy vaccination schedule for all dogs. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your dog’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some dogs do not need every vaccine. This decision is between you and your veterinarian. Always discuss puppy vaccinations at your regularly scheduled appointments.

That said, here is a generally accepted guideline of the puppy vaccination schedule for the first year.

Puppy’s AgeRecommended VaccinationsOptional Vaccinations
6 — 8 weeksDistemper, parvovirusBordetella
10 — 12 weeksDHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease per lifestyle as recommended by veterinarian
16 — 18 weeksDHPP, rabiesInfluenza, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis, Bordetella per lifestyle
12 — 16 monthsDHPP, rabiesCoronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 — 2 yearsDHPPInfluenza, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease per lifestyle
Every 1 — 3 yearsRabies (as required by law)none

How Much Do Puppy Vaccinations Cost?

How much puppy vaccinations will cost depends on several factors. Where you live is a big one: Veterinarians in crowded and expensive urban areas will generally charge more than a rural vet in a small town. You may be able to find low-cost clinics providing rabies vaccinations sponsored by your local municipal government. But no matter what the range in costs, some vaccines, such as the “core vaccines” and rabies, are necessary.

  • The average cost can average around $75—100. These will include the core vaccines, which are administered in a series of three: at 6-, 12-, and 16 weeks old.
  • The core vaccines include the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Your pup will also need a rabies vaccination, which is usually around $15—20. (Some clinics include the cost of the rabies vaccination.)
  • Often animal shelters charge less for vaccines — approximately $20 — or are even free. If you acquired your dog from a shelter, he would most likely have been vaccinated, up until the age when you got him.

The initial puppy vaccination costs during the first year are higher than during adulthood.

Vaccinations for Adult Dogs: Boosters and Titers

There is a difference of opinion about having your adult dog vaccinated every year. Some vets believe too many vaccinations in adult dogs pose health risks. But others disagree, saying that yearly vaccinations will prevent dangerous diseases such as distemper. Talk with your vet to determine what kind of vaccination protocol works for you and your dog.

Many dog owners opt for titer tests before they administer annual vaccinations. Titer tests measure a dog’s immunity levels, and this can determine which, if any, vaccinations are necessary. One key exception to this is rabies: a titer test is not an option when it comes to the rabies vaccine. This vaccination is required by law across the United States. Your vet can tell you the schedule for your particular state, with boosters often lasting three years.

And it’s all worth it. For your effort and care your puppy will lavish you with lifelong love in return. This critical first year of her life is a fun and exciting time for both of you. As she grows physically, the wonderful bond between you will grow, too.

How Often To Bathe the Pet?

Your dog's bathing frequency is determined by a variety of factors. Here's some guidelines: 

For short-haired breeds, bathe every 1-3 months. 
Medium-to-long coated breeds should be bathed every four to six weeks, as long as the coat is kept in good condition in between bathing.

Hairless breeds (such as the Chinese Crested and Xoloitzcuintli) require weekly bathing.

Corded breeds (such as the Puli) are not bathed as frequently. 

If your dog has certain health conditions, your groomer or veterinarian may suggest medicated shampoo. 

Regular grooming (ear cleaning, nail clipping, brushing, and combing) is critical for your pet's overall well-being.

Owner Comfort: Bathing might be beneficial for owners who have allergies.

All pets benefit from frequent coat brushing and conditioning, which are more important to their health than baths.

Remember that overbathing might remove too much oil from the skin, so strike a balance that suits your dog's needs and lifestyle.

How Often Should You Visit The Vet?

Even if an adult dog appears to be in good health, it is generally suggested that they visit the veterinarian once per year. During these annual checks, the veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination to look for signs of sickness, dental issues, weight changes, and behavioral abnormalities. Regular screenings allow for the early detection of any health risks. If you have a puppy, the number of visits may be higher initially. However, as they age, annual checkups are sufficient.

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