Why dogs need to be vaccinated

Why are dogs vaccinated and what vaccinations should be given?

It is necessary to understand what vaccines are and why they are needed.

Vaccines are veterinary preparations of biological origin that promote the development of active acquired immunity (immunity) to certain diseases. To put it simply, a vaccine is a combination of attenuated viruses or bacteria that, when injected into a puppy or adult dog, produces antibodies, usually without disease development, or the animal “gets over it” in a mild form. In most cases, this process goes completely unnoticed by the owner. As a result, the body acquires protection against these viruses – the body produces antibodies (protective proteins). The time to develop antibodies after vaccination is 2-4 weeks.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a contagious disease that affects all mammals and humans.
The disease is characterized by central nervous system damage, aggressive behavior, drooling and paralysis.
There is no cure! The outcome of the disease always ends in death!

At what age should puppies be vaccinated

Newborn puppies get antibodies with their first portions of colostrum. This is known as passive acquired immunity. Maternal antibody levels in the blood of puppies gradually decrease, reaching a minimum level on average by 12 weeks of age. In some puppies, the maternal antibody level drops as early as eight weeks of age, and in some puppies it persists until 16 weeks of age.

If the maternal antibody level is still high at the time of the first vaccination it will neutralize the viruses that have invaded the body, but the puppy will not produce his own antibodies. Since it is impossible to know what maternal antibody levels are present in the puppy at the time of the vaccination, the vaccination procedure is repeated. When the maternal antibodies are injected again the maternal antibody levels drop significantly and the puppy’s body begins to produce its own antibodies.

Vaccinations for dogs

The age at which puppies are vaccinated depends on several factors:

  • The age at which the puppy will be given to new owners.
  • If the puppy is given away at an early age of 1-1.5 months, you can start vaccinating him at 6 weeks of age. If the puppy is given away at 2 months of age and older, the standard vaccination schedule is usually carried out – at 8 and 12 weeks.
  • The conditions in which the animal is kept.
  • For example, a kennel with a large number of animals or an apartment where the puppy will be the only pet and will not come into contact with other animals, a country house and so on.
  • Dogs with an unknown vaccination history, regardless of age, are vaccinated twice with an interval of 3-4 weeks. Vaccinations are then given one year later.
  • Adult dogs are vaccinated annually throughout their lives.
  • In countries with an epidemiologically unfavorable rabies situation, such as Russia, all animals over 3 months of age must be vaccinated annually against rabies. In areas of the country where rabies cases are reported, vaccinations against the disease can be given from the age of 2 months.

What kinds of vaccines are available for dogs

There are different types of comprehensive vaccines for dogs that include several infections at once. There are also monovaccines in European countries, but the use of such vaccines greatly increases the vaccination time, for example every two weeks we vaccinate against a particular virus.

The most common vaccines include:

  • Flesh Plague and Parvovirus Enteritis (DP) vaccine, used to vaccinate pups from 6 weeks of age.
  • The vaccine against plague, parvovirus enteritis and viral hepatitis (DHP), this vaccine is used from 8 weeks of age.
  • Vaccine against plague, parvovirus enteritis, viral hepatitis and parainfluenza (DHPPi). Also used from 8 weeks of age.
  • Leptospirosis vaccine. May be available as a monovaccine (Lepto, L4) that protects against two or four types of leptospirosis.
  • Leptospirosis can also be part of a combined rabies vaccine (RL).
  • Rabies vaccine is available as a monovaccine (R) or in combination with leptospirosis (RL).
  • Some vaccines also include canine coronavirus gastroenteritis (CV).
  • Some manufacturers produce an intranasal vaccine to prevent canine respiratory infections (parainfluenza and bordetellosis) (CV).

Basic vaccination should include vaccination against the most dangerous infections: plague, parvovirus enteritis, viral hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies.

How to prepare your pet for vaccination

Vaccination is given to a healthy animal – this is a basic condition for the formation of a lasting immunity. The health of the animal may be affected by:

1. The living conditions, namely:

Where the dog is kept (apartment, kennel, aviary or street housing).
Existence of contact with other animals (kennel, other animals at home, large numbers of stray animals outside).

2. Nutrition.

During a puppy’s active growth and development period proper nutrition is important to his health, as nutritional deficiencies can have serious effects on his health.

3. The presence of parasites

(worms, fleas or ticks).

4. Past illnesses and surgeries.

Vaccinations are not given to dogs who have had surgery. Narcosis also weakens the body’s defenses. Therefore, the interval between surgery and vaccination should be at least three weeks. For the same reason, vaccinations are not given to sick, weakened animals. After full recovery at least 2-3 weeks should pass.

5. Physiological condition


6. Taking medications.

If the pet is taking any medication, e.g. antibiotics, you should consult your doctor. He will tell you whether it is permissible to vaccinate against the background of the medication, or you need to keep a certain interval after taking it.

Before vaccination, the animal is treated against worms, sometimes several times. The presence of worms in the dog’s body weakens immunity, increases the risk of allergic reactions and prevents the formation of a lasting immunity. Puppies can become infected in utero from their mother, so dogs should also be treated for worms before mating.

How and where to vaccinate a dog

Often when purchasing a puppy, new owners are given a passport with vaccinations already on it. Many breeders do the first vaccination themselves. Unfortunately, not all breeders are conscientious. Some of them do not guarantee that the vaccination was really given to the puppy, the conditions under which the vaccine was stored, and whether the injection was given correctly.

To be sure that your pet has received all the necessary vaccinations correctly, it is better to get vaccinated at veterinary clinics. The doctor can recommend a vaccination regimen that is appropriate for the pet. Vaccines are kept at a certain temperature in the clinic setting, and the veterinary clinic has a clear protocol for properly performing the procedure.

Before the vaccination, it is mandatory for the doctor to examine your dog, take his temperature, listen to his heart and lungs, and interview you, as the owner, about your pet’s health. If the pet is found to have any abnormalities, the vaccination will not be given.

What Complications May Occur After Vaccination

For the first 24 hours after vaccination, the pet may experience a number of symptoms.

The puppy may become more lethargic and may eat less or refuse to eat at all. A single vomiting or diarrhea may be tolerated. If such symptoms are observed for longer than one day, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
A painful swelling may form at the injection site. This swelling may persist for up to 2 months. Try not to let your dog scratch the injection site. If there is a painful lump at the vaccine injection site that is enlarged in size, hot to the touch, causes severe itching and anxiety for the animal, it is recommended to contact the veterinarian.

In rare cases, animals have an acute allergic reaction, which is accompanied by swelling and redness in the muzzle area (swollen eyes, ears, lips). In this case, it is recommended to immediately contact the doctor so that the animal was given first aid and administered antiallergic medication.

In most cases, vaccinations go off without any complications. However, if your pet has any reaction to the vaccine, it is recommended that an antihistamine be administered prior to the next vaccination or that another vaccine be administered after informing your veterinarian of any adverse reactions in the dog at the time of the previous vaccination.

What to do after the vaccination

It should be remembered that persistent immunity after vaccination is formed within 2-4 weeks. Therefore, during this period it is especially important to consider the following recommendations:

  • For the first 24 hours, observe the pet more closely. If any complications arise (see above), it is recommended to consult a veterinarian;
  • Do not change food abruptly (introduce a new food or treat, switch from industrial food to organic food etc.) or do not change the living conditions (move the pet from your home to an aviary, take it to the country house etc.);
  • Avoid contact with unfamiliar or sick animals;
  • Avoid visiting dog parks, dog shows and other places with a large number of animals;
  • Do not bathe the dog or wash the injection site for 5-7 days.

Following these simple recommendations will help keep your pet healthy and avoid complications after vaccination.

What Dogs Need Vaccinations Against

The main infections you need to vaccinate your pets against are:

  • D – plague of carnivores, a viral infection, especially dangerous for puppies, but dogs of all ages get sick. It manifests itself in different forms, the most dangerous is the nervous form.
  • P – parvovirus enteritis, enteric viral infection, most susceptible to the disease in puppies, the lethality rate up to 90%.
  • H – canine viral hepatitis, an acute infectious disease, most susceptible to puppies and young animals under 3 years of age.
  • Pi – parainfluenza, an acute respiratory infection, most common in puppies and young dogs.
  • Lepto – leptospirosis, an acute infectious disease contagious to humans and other animals.
  • R (Rabies) – Rabies, a deadly viral infection infecting humans and other animals.

Contraindications to Vaccinating a Dog

Vaccinating your pet should not be done in the following cases:

  • pregnancy;
  • fever;
  • Two weeks before and after the tail, ears;
  • diseases in the acute stage;
  • Exhaustion (after an illness, surgery);
  • plans to mate in the near future (after vaccination at least 3 months must pass before mating).

Some Vaccination Rules

Before the procedure, there are a few rules to consider:

The dog must be wormed 14 days before vaccination as well as treated for external insects.
The pet must be completely healthy. Monitor the condition of the four-legged dog – whether the animal is in a good mood, whether there is appetite. If apathy, fatigue or any other ailment is detected, the procedure should be postponed.
If the animal is prone to allergies, then before vaccination you should give an antihistamine. It is very important to consult your veterinarian about this.
Vaccinations are not recommended when teeth change. Certain medications can have an effect on changing the color of the enamel.


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