Having your pup vaccinated in the first 12 months is vitally important. Knowing how to approach the issue can be confusing for a new dog owner, so follow our easy guide to the vaccinations, why they’re necessary and the myths that surround them.
Why you should get your dog vaccinated
Vaccinating your puppy will provide invaluable protection against several diseases he or she is likely to be exposed to. Initial vaccinations and annual boosters are also needed for your insurance cover.
Protection against diseases
Vaccinations will help your puppy avoid five of the most serious dog diseases:
- Canine distemper virus, a virus with no known cure.
- Infectious canine hepatitis, which usually affects dogs less than two years old.
- Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread via infected urine or contaminated water.
- Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease that’s especially severe in puppies.
- Canine parainfluenza, which is a cause of ‘kennel cough’.
Annual vaccinations for the first four illnesses above are required and if your dog will regularly visit boarding kennels, your vet will also recommend they are fully vaccinated against kennel cough. A rabies vaccination will be needed if you plan to take your puppy abroad.
When to get vaccinations done
Young dogs are usually vaccinated at eight and 10 weeks, with a first course of two injections. Until your puppy has had all his or her vaccinations, it’s best to avoid them being in contact with other dogs or being walked in public places. A year after your dog’s first vaccination they will be given a booster, which will need to be repeated every year throughout their adult life. If more than 15 months pass between boosters, most vets will recommend restarting the vaccination programme.
Vaccination myths vs reality
‘Once I’ve had my puppy injected, they’re immune for life’
Not true. It’s important to have your dog vaccinated every year to maintain his or her immunity against these diseases. While some of these vaccinations last for more than a year, dogs need to be boosted against at least one of the most serious diseases every year.
‘My puppy is confined to the house and garden, so they won’t have contact with disease’
Not true. Even if your puppy never sees another dog or never leaves your home, vaccination is important because one of these diseases – leptospirosis – is contracted from water, such as by lapping puddles.
‘The vaccinations will make my puppy feel poorly’
Not true. Most vaccines are a modified form of the disease that they protect from. The most your puppy may feel is a little sleepy for a short period of time – but these symptoms will soon pass.