Since you are here, our guess is you have recently adopted that bundle of happiness everyone calls, a dog. Congratulations, you are in for an adventure of a lifetime!
While it is amazing to show your dog around, indulge in playtime and contemplate training and travel with him, there’s more to pet parenting and it includes the ‘boring stuff’ too. But as with life, the relatively dull things are often for the best and routine vet visits are just as critical as your visits to the dentist.
Once you have settled down on a name for your dog, perhaps the next most critical step is to get your good boy (or girl) vaccinated.
Why you should vaccinate your dog?
Dog vaccinations protect dogs from preventable serious diseases and act as a guard against disease by exposing pets to disease-causing microorganisms (inactive or modified) so that they don’t produce the disease in question. By introducing the dog to this controlled stimulus, their immune system can build a defence against future exposure. Just as in the case of human vaccinations.
Vaccinations are essential to help your pet live a long, happy life.
Depending upon the age of your pet, here’s a dog vaccination guide and timeline:
Dog vaccination schedule
Vaccinations are given to prevent disease, not to treat dogs once they are sick.
Dog vaccines can be divided into categories: core (essential) and noncore (optional).
Core vaccines for dogs:
- Canine Distemper Virus (CFV)
- Canine Parvovirus (CPV or parvo)
- Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) – infectious hepatitis
Booster vaccines generally are given to adult dogs every 1-3 years, depending on vaccine type and the dog’s risk factors. These are necessary to maintain the protection and will be required to ensure that your dog is protected for the rest of their life.
Rabies vaccination is essential for all dogs. Dogs can be given rabies shots at approximately 14 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. Because there is no treatment available for rabies in dogs, prevention is critical. Vets advice having re-vaccinations every three years.
The canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. Canine coronavirus usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections.
DAP Vaccine (Distemper, Adenovirus and Parvovirus)
The DAP combo shot immunizes dogs against canine distemper, canine adenovirus type 2 and canine parvovirus. These are all life-threatening disease for dogs and prevention is the best line of defence against them.
- Distemper: This viral disease attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, nervous systems as well as the skin. Symptoms include lethargy, runny eyes and nose, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, thickened skin on the nose and footpads, laboured breathing, seizures and paralysis.
- Adenovirus type-2: The canine adenovirus type 2 vaccine defends against a potentially fatal form of liver disease as well as a type of kennel cough.
- Parvovirus: Parvovirus results in vomiting, diarrhoea, bone marrow suppression and, in some cases, heart failure. With severe infections, death is likely without aggressive treatment.
Non-core dog and puppy vaccines
These are the optional vaccinations that may be may be recommended based on the pet’s age, geographic location, lifestyle and overall health.
If your dog is going to spend a considerable amount of time at doggie daycare or pet boarding facilities or with lots of other dogs, most veterinarians recommend an annual or semi-annual Bordetella vaccine to help prevent kennel cough.
Common noncore vaccines for dogs:
- Bordetella Bronchiseptica
- Borrelia Burgdorferi – canine Lyme disease
- Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPIV)
- Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8 (CIV or dog flu)
- Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2 (CIV or dog flu)
Your veterinarian can help you determine which optional vaccines are appropriate for your dog or puppy.
How long are the dog vaccinations effective?
- DHPP – 1 year
- Rabies – 3 years
- Leptospirosis – 1 year
- Canine Influenza – 1 year
- Lyme Disease – 1 year
- Bordetella (Kennel Cough) – 6 months
Deworming a young puppy or an adopted adult dog is really essential to eliminate the presence of any worms within the dog’s stomach and intestines. Intestinal parasites are a way too common among puppies and dogs.
Deworming your dog with an oral prescription dewormer can provide him with protection from many potential diseases. Deworming should ideally take place every two weeks starting at three weeks of age.
Once a puppy reaches six months of age, deworming can be administered once a month.
This refers to worms that lodge in your dog’s pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), these can block and injure organs. Although there’s no vaccine for heartworm it is preventable with regular medication that your veterinarian can prescribe.
Side effects of dog vaccines
Dog vaccinations are very safe and in most cases, your dog would have no observable vaccine side effects. Just like with kids and people, they may experience mild swelling around the injection site. As long as there are no serious signs, you can rest assured it will turn to normal.
Consult a vet!
For any questions about specific vaccination recommendations for your dog, please consult your veterinarian. He can help you prepare an optimum vaccination schedule for your pet as per your dog’s age, health, breed and lifestyle. Also, ensure to give your pet the best food and plenty of exercises.