Dog Vaccination: What You Need to Know
Vaccinating your dog is the surest way to protect your pup from preventable illnesses. We hear that prevention is better than cure, and that certainly applies to dog vaccinations. With all the truths and half-truths going around concerning canine immunizations, it is necessary to get the correct information to protect your furry friend. Here is an outline of what you need to know about dog vaccination.
Why Vaccinating Your Dog Is Important
Most illnesses that vets offer vaccines for are caused by viruses. Viral illnesses usually have no cure, which means your dog may not find a cure if infected. Some of these illnesses can be controlled with helpful treatment, but others can be life-threatening.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines contain antigens that imitate certain bacteria or viruses but do not expose your dog to infections that can be fatal. When injected into your dog’s body, these antigens cause the body to create antibodies that form a defense system against exposures in the future.
Once inoculated, your pup’s body will identify the bacteria or virus as an intruder and will be on the lookout for that threat. This way, your dog's body will be equipped to fight the actual bacteria or virus in the future.
When to Vaccinate Your Dog
Your dog will have obtained antibodies from his or her mother’s milk during his or her first couple of weeks of life. After that, it is your turn to follow up on the vaccinations.
Usually, pups receive their first vaccines by the time they turn six or eight weeks old. Afterward, they follow a vaccination schedule to get a maximum of three shots at intervals of three to four weeks till they turn 20 weeks old.
Which Vaccines Does Your Dog Need?
There are two types of dog vaccines: core and non-core vaccines.
Core vaccines are those vaccines that every dog must get regardless of their age, breed, lifestyle, environment, or situation. These vaccines help protect dogs from catching fatal illnesses such as rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus-2, and parainfluenza.
Non-core vaccines are those given depending on where a dog lives, its lifestyle, and environment. They are recommended for pups at risk of catching illnesses in pet resorts or areas where a certain illness is common. Non-core vaccines protect against illnesses such as Lyme disease, kennel cough, and leptospirosis, among others.
Most vaccines will leave your dog feeling okay, but certain complications may come up. Take your dog to the vet if you observe the following side effects for more than two days.
- Soreness at the site of injection.
- Lack of appetite.
- Sluggishness or lameness.
- Trouble breathing.
- Hives or swelling on the face.
- Any other odd symptoms.
How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?
Your dog’s vaccination schedule will help you know how often you will need to vaccinate your dog. But even after your dog has received all the recommended core and non-core vaccines to remain healthy, they will need booster shots for every vaccine received to stay protected. Thus, consult your vet during regular checkups to know which vaccines need to be updated.
For more on dog vaccination, visit Brekke Veterinary Clinic at our office in Castle Rock, Colorado. You can also call 303-474-4260 to book an appointment today.