Puppy Vaccinations 101

August is Immunization Awareness Month, and immunizations are never more important than when a pet is young. Wondering about the vaccination routine for a puppy? Read on below as a Tampa vet answers your questions.

How do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines work by stimulating your pet’s immune system with a small, virtually harmless strain of the disease it’s designed to protect against. Your dog’s body produces antibodies, and can then recognize and combat the disease should the real thing ever come along.

What Vaccines Will My Pup Need?

The first vaccines that most puppies receive are the “core” vaccines: the distemper vaccine, hepatitis vaccine, parainfluenza vaccine, parvovirus vaccine, and the rabies vaccine. These are often given in one combination package, and are usually administered at about six to eight weeks of age. Depending on what your dog is at risk for, he or she may require other vaccines as they get older. Your veterinarian may advise returning when your dog is nine weeks old, 12 weeks old, or around 16 weeks old.

Do Vaccines Need Updates Throughout my Pup’s Life?

Yes, most vaccines will require a booster shot every year or every few years. Most dog owners set up a yearly appointment with their vets, at which point the boosters are administered along with your dog’s regular check-up. Most rabies vaccines are updated once every three years.

Do Vaccine Shots Hurt My Dog?

Not in the least. Your dog will feel a slight pinching sensation at the point of needle insertion, but the feeling will be gone in an instant. It’s exactly like getting a shot yourself. Even if that thought makes you squirm, don’t fear—most puppies don’t pay any mind at all.

How Do I Get My Dog Started?

If you’ve recently acquired a new puppy or are considering bringing home an adorable ball of fluff soon, set up an appointment at your Tampa vet’s office as soon as possible. Your dog’s overall health will be evaluated and your vet can fill you in on the vaccines your puppy will need to stay healthy.

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