Puppy vaccinations can be a bit confusing if you’re new to dog ownership, but they’re incredibly important to not only keep your beloved pup protected from life-threatening diseases, but to stop passing illnesses on to other dogs as well.
Vaccinations are an important part of your puppy’s ongoing health. When you get your four-legged friend you should ask your puppy’s breeder for their up-to-date vaccination record and continue on with the plan they have in place. By ensuring the schedule is followed you’ll ensure that they’re covered against any potential life-threatening diseases and ultimately, aide them in growing into a happy and healthy adult dog.
If you’ve just gotten your first pup, or are thinking about it, you may be wondering all about puppy vaccinations, including schedules and how much they cost. At Purina, we’ve done all the hard work for you and have created this puppy vaccination guide to tell you all you need to know.
Puppy vaccination schedule
When considering your puppy’s vaccination schedule, the initial vaccinations will usually begin when your pup is aged between six and twelve weeks of age. During this time your dog won’t be fully covered, so you won’t be able to take them for walks or have your puppy socialise with any dogs outside out of the household – but you should make sure that the dogs in your home are vaccinated too.
Puppy vaccinations will take the form of two injections spaced out over two weeks. As mentioned previously, it’s important for you to ask your breeder, or if you’ve adopted your puppy – your rescue centre which vaccines have been given and when, so you can schedule an appointment with your vet in order to complete the course.
As well as their initial puppy injections, your dog will require additional booster jabs. Some injections will make your pup immune for life, some will last for three years, whereas some will require an annual top up to keep them fully inoculated. Don’t worry though, your vet will be able to tell you exactly what they need and when, and you can also ask for them to give you a personalised puppy vaccination schedule so you can put all those important dates in your diary.
Your dog’s yearly booster vaccinations will also cost considerably less than the initial course, so you won’t have to worry about having to shell out this amount every year.
What types of puppy vaccinations are needed?
Puppy vaccinations are divided into two different types: core and non-core. The core vaccines are recommended for all dogs, where non-core is recommended on a dog-by-dog basis and will be depending on their levels of risk. Your vet will be able to advise you on which vaccinations they’ll think your dog needs.
These three vaccinations are the core diseases that your pup will be inoculated against:
Canine Parvovirus is a potentially fatal viral disease, spread through contact with infected faeces. It’s both widespread and contagious. Symptoms often include: vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes containing blood), fever and loss of appetite. Affected dogs usually require intensive veterinary treatment. Vaccination is critical to prevent infection and to control the spread of the disease.
This is a highly contagious viral disease that is also often fatal. It generally affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems and begins with a fever. It’s spread as an airborne infection and vaccination is the only effective means of control. Thankfully this condition is much less common in recent times, but reported cases have increased in areas where vaccinations have fallen. Vaccinating your puppy against it is therefore still important.
This contagious viral disease can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fever, thirst and loss of appetite to bleeding problems and liver damage. Infection is spread through the ingestion of infected urine, faeces or saliva. The good news is that it can be prevented by vaccination.
Non-core vaccinations for your puppy
Non-core vaccinations are less important than core vaccinations, but your puppy may still need them under certain circumstances, such as if they are going on holiday or staying in a boarding kennel. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog could benefit from them.
This is a potentially fatal bacterial disease generally transmitted through direct contact with infected urine or contaminated water. Rats are the main carriers of disease. Thankfully it’s less common in the UK than in other countries but, if contracted, it can cause rapid and fatal kidney and liver damage. This is one of the diseases that can be contracted by humans too in the form of Weil’s Disease.
Kennel cough is a highly contagious, but generally mild disease that can be caused by a range of infectious agents, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus-2 and bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. It starts with an inflammation of the throat but it can progress to the lungs and can be more serious in young or old dogs.
The main symptom is a dry, harsh, non-productive cough, which can be followed by retching or gagging. This dog vaccine is given directly into the nose and most reputable kennels insist on this vaccine before they’ll accept your dog.
Rabies is a serious and fatal disease that spreads through bites and open wounds. Though largely found in shelter dogs, it is important to vaccinate your dog against it to prevent any unfortunate contact.
Coronavirus causes diarrhoea in dogs, particularly puppies and young dogs. You may find that this vaccine is included in combination vaccinations. Your vet will be able to tell you more.
Speak to your vet about which vaccines your dog could have and remember, if your dog needs to stay in kennels, or if you’re considering taking your dog abroad, make sure you do your homework well in advance so you’ve taken care of any necessary requirements. You’ll usually need to provide proof of your dog’s up-to-date jabs, otherwise your dog will not be able to stay in the kennels or go on holiday with you.
Want to know more about getting a new puppy? Read all about what to expect with their first trip to the vet.