Vaccinations protect your puppy against diseases and help it to grow up strong and healthy. Read on to find out everything you need to know about vaccinating your pup.
Typically, puppies should be vaccinated between eight and ten weeks old. Sometimes vaccines are given earlier than this to puppies as young as six weeks old.
They’ll then need their second dose around two to four weeks later.
Your pooch will then need an annual vaccine booster every year of their life.
The vaccinations your puppy’s given will help to protect it against some of the most dangerous infectious diseases.
Puppies aged six weeks to six months are particularly vulnerable to this highly infectious disease. It attacks the intestines and can cause the puppy to go downhill quickly
This very contagious viral disease is particularly severe in puppies. It affects the nervous system, as well as several organs and can be fatal
This disease is caught from infected dogs or somewhere where an infected dog has been. There are two strains of the virus, one causes a respiratory infection and the other an infection of the liver. Deaths can occur but most dogs recover
Spread by infected dogs, vermin, and cows, this unpleasant disease can also be caught from infected water. It causes serious illness by damaging vital organs and can leave lasting damage. In severe cases, it can cause death
This is an airborne respiratory infection. It’s not usually serious but younger puppies can be very unwell if they catch it, so vaccination is important
Once you get your puppy you need to register it with a local vet practice, and they’ll advise you on the vaccinations it needs.
The first course of vaccinations will need to be done by a vet. They’ll also need to give your puppy a health check before they can administer them.
The second course of vaccinations can either be done by a qualified veterinary nurse or a vet.
When you bring your puppy in for its vaccinations, your vet will weigh the puppy and give it a full health check to make sure it’s well enough to have the injections.
This usually involves:
The vaccines your puppy needs are usually combined into one injection. This is given into a fold of skin at the back of the puppy’s neck. If you opt for the kennel cough vaccination, it will be administered by nasal spray.
Many vet practices will give you a vaccination record card which you should bring along to every vaccination appointment.
It’s worth keeping this up to date as some puppy training classes and boarding kennels will ask to see the vaccination card before they’ll accept your dog.
Make sure you keep your puppy on your lap in the waiting room to avoid them mixing with other dogs or touching something another dog has.
Your puppy may not react or even seem to notice when they’re being given a vaccination, and most don’t experience any side effects afterwards.
However, because the vaccination stimulates the immune system it can sometimes trigger a mild fever in your pup.
This might make them a bit more lethargic, but this doesn’t usually last for more than 24 hours. There might also be a slight swelling at the injection site.
Serious side effects are very rare, but if you have any concerns about your puppy after a vaccination always contact your vet.
The cost will vary depending on the vaccinations your puppy’s given and your vet practice. But you can expect to pay between £50 and £80 each for the first and second set.
After their vaccinations your dog will need to have an annual booster - this can cost around £40-£70.
Remember that getting your puppy vaccinated will cost far less than treating the diseases and will save your puppy from being in pain and discomfort, or worse.
No, your pet insurance won’t cover any vaccinations. Plus, if you don’t get your puppy vaccinated, any claims you make if your pup becomes ill may be rejected.
On the other hand, getting your puppy fully vaccinated might help lower your insurance premiums and, most importantly, save your dog from becoming very unwell.
Different vaccines last for different lengths of time. Some provide your puppy with long-lasting immunity, but others will need to be vaccinated annually.
Generally, the leptospirosis vaccine is effective for about a year. Distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis vaccines last for around three years.
If you’re not sure when the next vaccination is due, check with your vet.
However, if more than 12 months pass between annual boosters, your dog may have to start their primary course of vaccinations again.
If you rehome or adopt a puppy from a rescue centre, they’ll usually have been given their vaccinations before they come to you. The cost of this is typically covered as part of the adoption fee.
However, some puppies are adopted before they’ve had their second set of vaccinations, so it’s always best to check and ask for any vaccination documentation, like a record card.
Once you’ve got your rescue puppy home, you’ll still need to register them with a vet to take care of their ongoing vaccinations.
Vets generally recommend that you don’t take your puppy for a walk until around two weeks after it’s had its second set of vaccinations.
Before then, it’s best to keep them occupied by playing in your home and any private outside space you have.
Until your puppy’s fully vaccinated, you shouldn’t let it socialise with other dogs or take it to parks where your pup might pick up diseases from infected dogs, animals, grass and water.
And you should avoid places near rivers and farms for a while longer, until around one month after your puppy’s final vaccination.