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    When to Get Puppy Shots

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Becoming a new puppy parent, or even just starting the research about puppies, is an exciting time for any family. While you’re learning all the fun stuff, don’t forget to have a scheduled plan for your puppy’s vaccines. Vaccinating pets is essential to set your fur kid up for lifelong health.

    Canine vaccines are an important part of preventative medicine. These shots boost a dog’s natural immunity and can help prevent deadly diseases. Vaccinations generally involve a veterinary staff member administering shots. Some parts of the vaccines, such as deworming medication, can also be administered orally. Your veterinarian or rescue leaders will be the best guide for which shots and treatments your puppy will need.

    The importance of puppy and pet vaccination

    Puppies need vaccines to prevent a wide range of diseases., Puppy shots follow a recommended vaccine schedule that should be adhered to. This will ensure your new puppy stays safe and healthy. Vaccines also help protect other animals in your home.

    Even though puppies (just like human babies) come with a certain level of maternal antibody and immunity, there are needs that will be addressed through puppy vaccines. These core vaccines deliver protection that a puppy will require for health in the first few weeks and months of life. Vaccines supplement and boost a dog’s own immunity levels.

    There are several dog vaccination types:

    • Core vaccinations
    • Noncore vaccines
    • Combination vaccines

    All dogs require core vaccinations, and your vet can advise you as to any others you may wish to consider for your puppy. There are certain health risk factors your specific pet or breed may face, so you will want to ensure that your pet is as fully vaccinated as possible.

    Side effects are generally rare but be prepared to keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms or behaviors in your puppy after receiving a vaccine. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask your vet. Be sure to ask at each visit involving a vaccine if there are any special instructions after your pet receives a shot.

    Vet checks

    One of the most important relationships you and your puppy will make is with a trusted vet. Finding a vet is an essential task that can start a long-term relationship and ensure your dog’s health is taken care of.

    Be sure to follow the shot schedule your vet will provide. Missing a puppy’s scheduled shot by even a few days can make a difference during these early stages of your puppy’s life. You will want to make sure they are vaccinated as soon as possible to keep them healthy.

    Write down any questions you have about your pet’s shots and schedules. You may have several questions and forget to ask them during your regular vet visit. You should feel comfortable with your dog’s checkups and vaccine schedules, so be sure to reach out if you have any unanswered concerns.

    Shots that puppies will need

    Vaccines have been divided into core and noncore vaccinations. At a minimum, your pet will need the core vaccines. A noncore vaccine is based on the risk factors of your individual animal.

    Essential puppy shots

    Core puppy shots are DHLPP and the rabies vaccination. After the initial shots on your puppy vaccination schedule, occasional booster vaccines are required.

    DHLPP includes:

    • Canine distemper
    • Hepatitis
    • Leptospirosis
    • Parvo
    • Parainfluenza

    Getting your puppy's shots at the recommended times is especially important when preventing against the disease parvo. Parvo is highly contagious with a high mortality rate for infected dogs. This is caused by canine parvovirus and is known as the speedy killer of puppies. Many new puppy parents do not realize the seriousness of this disease. If your puppy gets parvo, if it is not treated within two to three days, the outcome for the dog can be devastating.

    Puppy shots schedule

    While there are general shots all puppies need, your dog or breed may have additional requirements. In general, puppies will need their core shots at:

    • 3 weeks old
    • 6 weeks old
    • 12 weeks old
    • 16 weeks old

    In addition to vaccinations, consider needs such as spay/neuter and microchipping your dog.

    After the initial puppy series, some shots will require yearly boosters. It's important to stay in contact with your vet, even if your dog is healthy. Keeping up with yearly checkups and boosters is vital to maintaining the lifetime health of your dog.

    Some yearly shots such as Bordetella bronchiseptica is needed if your dog goes to daycare or boarding. You will also need at-home heartworm and flea and tick prevention. This helps guard against fleaborne and tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease and others.

    When you can safely take a puppy into public areas

    Socializing your puppy is an important part of being a new pet parent, but you should only bring young dogs into social settings when it is safe to do so. Diseases your pet could be exposed to in a social setting include distemper, dog flu, canine cough, parvovirus, Lyme disease, heartworm disease, and others. Even after vaccinations, any abnormal signs or symptoms your puppy may have after being around other dogs warrants a call to the vet.

    In general, puppies can begin socialization exercises after at least one round of vaccines and deworming. Depending on your puppy's or dog breed's special needs, this can vary. Be sure to check with your vet when the best time would be to start socializing your puppy.

    Because socialization settings, such as doggie daycares or a dog park, can spread diseases, your vaccination schedule will determine the best course of action here. Many diseases, such as parvo, can be spread through feces and urine, so you will want to ensure as clean a setting for your dog as possible. Be wary of any environment that seems unclean or unsafe.

    Also, even after vaccinations, your dog may need boosters or additional shots if you plan on using dog boarding. For example, you will need to double check that your pet is safeguarded against rabies, kennel cough and canine influenza. If you board your pet at any place other than your veterinarian, speak with your doctor to ensure that your dog is well prepared.

    If you plan to socialize your puppy with other animals in your friends’ or family members’ homes, ask whether their pets are fully vaccinated. As some diseases are highly contagious, it is important to understand any potential risks when socializing your dog. You may wish to steer clear of socializing your puppy with other puppies and stick instead to fully vaccinated adult dogs.

    Use this young puppy checklist for a comprehensive guide to what you may need for the new furry addition to your family. While vaccines are essential, there are other supplies and areas of research to consider. If possible, doing research and choosing your vet before your puppy arrives home puppy can save time in the long run.

    The initial puppy phase can seem overwhelming at first, but once it’s over, the vaccine schedule will become much easier. Finding a trusted veterinarian will also go a long way toward ensuring peace of mind regarding your dog’s health. Your dog is a treasured member of your family, so give him or her the love they show you by ensuring that they stay healthy and happy.