Vaccinating Your Puppy
A new born puppy will be susceptible to illnesses, so getting the right vaccinations at the right time is very important. Wherever you get your puppy from, check first to see if any vaccinations have been given. Some dog breeders will vaccinate before they let the puppies go, private sellers may not and rescue homes can vary.
Why puppies need to be protected
Puppies are protected from infection by their mother's milk. Once they leave their mother, they are no longer protected and they could catch some very unpleasant conditions, unless they are given the right vaccinations. These will protect your puppy from several nasty, and potentially fatal conditions.
There is a window where they cannot be injected and they are most at risk during this period. It's recommended that until your puppy has been fully vaccinated, he shouldn't be allowed to play with other dogs.
What they are protected against
This is very contagious and can kill a dog or puppy very quickly if it's not treated immediately. The symptoms are sickness, diarrhoea, often with blood in it, and loss of appetite. You puppy will be very lethargic and should see a vet as soon as possible.
Another contagious disease, which can cause discharge from the nose, eye problems and even seizures and damage to the spinal cord. If taken to the vet, the treatment they can give may not work.
Symptoms can include fever, diarrhoea and weakness, but while an older dog my manage the symptoms, in a puppy this can prove fatal very quickly.
Canine and kennel cough
A very unpleasant illness for puppies and for older dogs, with the main symptom being a persistent cough. This is a contagious condition and your puppy could pick it up simply by playing with another infected dog.
When to vaccinate
Puppies should be injected when they are 8 weeks and 10 weeks old. This was usually followed up with an annual booster, but opinions on this are now divided. Discuss this with a veterinary surgeon if you're unsure.
Older dogs my start to suffer with a weakening immune system, so you may want to give them a booster, and rescue dogs too, if you're not sure of their medical history.
If you're planning on taking your dog overseas, get advice on this first. A rabies shot is often recommended and they cannot travel within three weeks of this being given. Different countries will have different requirements, so always get the most up to date information. This not only helps you enjoy your holiday, but means your dog will be able to enjoy it too.
Your puppy may not be happy that his first trip to the vet means having needles stuck in him, but it does give the vet a chance to check them over and it will help them to stay healthy.