The Importance of Vaccinating Puppies
Are you considering buying a puppy? With the high demand for adorable furry companions, it’s vital not to overlook essential aspects when bringing home a new pet. One crucial factor to consider is your potential pup’s vaccination status.
Should You Buy a Puppy Without Vaccinations?
Purchasing a puppy without proper vaccinations is a risky decision. Reputable dog breeders typically do not sell puppies before they reach 8 to 10 weeks of age. By this time, puppies should have received their initial set of vital shots, protecting them against diseases such as distemper and parvovirus.
It’s important to note that legal stipulations in most states and countries require puppies to be a minimum of 8 weeks old before being sold. Due to these regulations and the timing of vaccinations, a responsible breeder would not offer a puppy for sale without its first series of shots.
Consequences of Not Vaccinating Puppies
As a dog owner myself, I am well aware of the dangers posed by diseases like distemper and parvo. These highly contagious illnesses can cause severe illness and, in some cases, even result in the death of an unvaccinated puppy.
To ensure your new furry friend’s well-being, it is crucial to insist that the puppy has received at least their initial round of shot before the 8-week mark.
Why Vaccinations are Necessary
If you’ve done your research on puppies, you’ll discover that regular vet visits for vaccinations and boosters are necessary. While it may seem bothersome, the effort is undoubtedly worthwhile.
Our world is teeming with dangerous viruses, and puppies are especially vulnerable to many of them. Vaccines have been developed to safeguard them against these harmful diseases.
To build up your puppy’s resistance, it’s crucial to ensure they have received the necessary vaccinations before bringing them home. Follow the recommended vaccination schedule to provide your puppy with the earliest possible protection.
Diseases Your Vaccinated Puppy Will Be Protected From
Vaccines for dogs are designed to protect your puppy (and older dogs) from various conditions, including:
- Kennel cough: A contagious infection of the upper airways characterized by dry, hacking coughs. It can make your dog stop eating and is highly transmissible.
- Parvovirus: A highly contagious disease that affects the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and loss of appetite. It can be fatal within a short time if left untreated.
- Canine distemper: Another contagious virus that impacts the gastrointestinal, nervous, and respiratory systems. Symptoms include discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting, seizures, and paralysis.
- Hepatitis: A viral infection that attacks multiple organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Severe cases can lead to death, with symptoms including stomach enlargement, liver pain, vomiting, and jaundice.
- Rabies: A viral infection that affects the central nervous system and may lead to paralysis and death. Symptoms include headaches, anxiety attacks, hallucinations, excessive drooling, and fear of water.
After learning about these alarming diseases, it’s clear why purchasing a puppy that hasn’t received its first shots would be unwise.
Vaccination Schedule for Puppies
To maximize effectiveness, vaccines and boosters are administered at specific ages. While the schedule may vary slightly between countries, the following is a general guideline:
- Six to eight weeks: Distemper and parvovirus.
- Ten to twelve weeks: DHPP (protects against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza).
- Sixteen to eighteen weeks: DHPP and rabies.
- Twelve to sixteen months: DHPP and rabies.
- Every one to two years: DHPP.
- Every one to three years: Rabies.
As previously mentioned, distemper and parvovirus are severe diseases with limited treatment options. Additionally, rabies vaccination is required by law to protect both dogs and humans.
Vaccinating Puppies at Older Ages
Newborn puppies receive some immunity against diseases through antibodies passed on from their mother via the placenta. However, this protection gradually diminishes, leaving them vulnerable by around 16 weeks of age.
To ensure your puppy has the required antibodies to fight diseases, sticking to a strict vaccination schedule is vital. Vaccinations should be scheduled every two to four weeks, starting at six to eight weeks old until they reach 16 weeks old.
If you happen to miss a vaccine, don’t worry. Simply follow up with your vet as soon as possible. They will provide a booster shot two weeks later to ensure your puppy develops the necessary antibody response.
Responsible dog owners prioritize their puppies’ vaccination schedule, ensuring they receive the protection they need.
What if You Purchase an Unvaccinated Puppy?
In some situations, purchasing an unvaccinated puppy may be unavoidable. If you find yourself in such a scenario, it’s advisable to consult your vet immediately. They will establish a proper vaccination schedule for your puppy.
In the meantime, ensure your puppy avoids contact with other dogs or animals and keep them confined to your home until their vaccinations are up to date. This way, you can protect them from the risk of contracting any of the highly contagious diseases mentioned in this article.
Can You Walk a Puppy Before Vaccinations?
Before your puppy receives vaccinations, you can walk them within the safe confines of your garden. However, avoid taking them out in public where they may come into contact with older dogs and potential sources of infection.
For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, check out my separate blog post.
Questions to Ask a Breeder Before Making a Purchase
When considering buying a puppy, it’s essential to ask breeders the right questions to make an informed decision. Here are some suggestions:
- Is the puppy registered with a recognized organization representing the breed?
- Has the puppy received its initial shots, and do you have the necessary paperwork as proof?
- Has the puppy undergone a comprehensive health screening by a veterinarian, and can you provide the report?
- Can you share the vet’s contact details for further inquiries about the puppy and its parents?
- Has the puppy been microchipped?
A reputable breeder will also ask you numerous questions to ensure their well-vaccinated puppies find loving homes.
Recently, a friend of mine was purchasing a puppy for the first time. He was meticulous in his research, examining breeders’ details and asking numerous questions about the parents.
While my friend wasn’t specifically seeking a purebred puppy, he insisted on purchasing a pup that had received its first shots. In most cases, he and I were impressed with the responses, as reputable dog breeders prioritize the well-being of their litters.
However, we did come across a few breeders who claimed the puppies would only be vaccinated once the new owners took them home. This raised concerns about the possibility of purchasing a puppy without proper vaccinations.
Let’s prioritize the health and safety of our furry friends by making responsible choices. Remember, never purchase a puppy without ensuring they have received their necessary vaccinations.
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