Once you’ve asked yourself and answered the questions on whether pet vaccines are safe and if they are will you vaccinate your pet, then if the answer is yes to both questions, then you’ll need to determine how your pets will get vaccinated. Vaccinating your dog is not a particularly difficult task. It can be accomplished quite simply at the veterinarian’s office. In addition, you can administer most vaccines yourself. This can save a great deal of money in the long run, as well as time.

Understanding Vaccinations

If you choose to administer the vaccines yourself, it is helpful to understand the difference between subcutaneous and intramuscular vaccines. Subcutaneous vaccines, called SQ for short, are administered underneath the dog’s skin. Generally, they are injected in either the dog’s right or left shoulder. Intramuscular vaccines, or IM, are administered in the muscle. No matter which type of vaccine is administered, it is important to use only one needle for each vaccine.

Vaccines are also either modified live or killed. A vaccine that is modified live will provide your pet with a stronger and longer-lasting vaccination with more rapid protection. Killed vaccines, on the other hand, have a lower immune response and will need a booster vaccination in order to continue the protection.

Prepping Your Dog for Vaccinations

Before your dog can be vaccinated, it must be free of external and internal parasites. In addition, it must be of normal temperature, which is around 101.5 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit for most dogs. It should also be free of fleas, worms, and ticks and it is best to avoid vaccinating dogs that are pregnant. No matter the size or weight of your dog, all dogs receive the same dose of vaccinations.

Types of Vaccinations

For the most part, dogs should receive the following vaccinations: Distempter, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo virus, Corona virus, kennel cough, and rabies.

Canine distemper is one of the most serious viral infections affecting dogs. Nearly 50% of those that are not vaccinated or otherwise immunized become infected with canine distemper. Sadly, approximately 90% of dogs with canine distemper ultimately die from the disease, which is airborne and highly contagious. Canine distemper is most frequently found in puppies under three months old.

Signs of canine distemper include diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. As it progresses, the dog may also develop a fever and appear to suffer from depression. Vomiting and diarrhea continue and blood may be present in the stool. In addition, the dog will show signs of respiratory distress, such as labored breathing and coughing. It may also experience inflammation of the tissues around the nose and eyes.

Kennel cough, which is technically called Bordetella Bronchiseptica and commonly referred to as Canine Upper Respiratory Disease Complex, is a serious bacterial illness. Symptoms include a dry, harsh cough. In addition, dogs suffering from kennel cough are aggravated by excitement or activity. Gagging or retching as the dog attempts to clear mucus from the throat also follows the characteristic cough. The dog’s body temperature may also rise. This disease, which is highly common, is most often passed on from dog to dog at kennels and dog shows.

Enlarged tonsils and fever characterize infectious canine hepatitis. Modified live canine hepatitis vaccines have some side effects, so it is generally best to use the killed vaccination. Viral hepatitis is not as common among dogs as it once was, but it is still important to protect your pet against it.

Canine Parainfluenza (CPI) is a very contagious respiratory disease. Coughing, which is worsened by activity and excitement, is the main sign of parainfluenza. Colds, drafts, and high humidity can aggravate the symptoms and make an animal more prone to catching the disease. Usually, CPI runs its course in five to ten days, but secondary bacterial infections can form as a result of the CPI and cause additional complications.

Canine Cronoavirus results in anorexia, lethargy, and depression. Sometimes, vomiting may occur and may be bloody. Moderate to severe projectile diarrhea can also occur, with yellow-orange coloring and mucus and blood present in the stool.

Vaccination Schedule

When your dog is six to eight weeks old, it should receive its first DHLPPC vaccination, which includes Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo virus, and Corona virus. At ten to twelve weeks, it should receive its second DHLPPC vaccination, as well as a vaccination against kennel cough.

By fourteen to sixteen weeks, your dog should receive its third DHLPPC shot, as well as a rabies vaccination. In most states, you will need to have a veterinarian administer the rabies shot in order to prove it was given to your pet. Every year after receiving its initial shots, your dog should receive a DHLPPC booster, a kennel cough booster, and a rabies booster.

About Terry Hayes

Tery Hayes, CPDT-KA (Licensed Professional Dog Fitness Instructor) is the author of many books, writes articles for different magazines and also papers including Modern Dog Publication, and has also organized the Dog Talk radio program. He is the board memeber of the Companion Animal Sciences, a certified distance college that supplies certification training courses and also diploma programs of research in professional dog training, behavior consulting, physical fitness as well as nutritional sciences.

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