guide to dog vaccinations

Guide to Dog Vaccinations–A Brief Overview

There is no need to state how much we love our dogs. Dogs not only provide us with companionship but make our lives colorful in more ways than one. It is of utmost importance that we look after our pooch’s health. It would be wrong to think that just walking them outdoors and meeting their dietary needs will suffice.

Dogs are susceptible to many diseases. Besides maintaining hygiene and other health requirements, it is essential to prevent these diseases. Vaccination is an effective method to avoid diseases before they suddenly pop up. In this article, we will discuss in detail the importance of vaccines in preventing different types of canine diseases.

Dog Vaccines–An Introduction

Vaccines create a reaction in the dog’s body which creates an immune response. They are effective in forming strong disease resistance. A vaccinated dog not only fights diseases better, but sometimes they even avoid the disease. Vaccinations, therefore, save dogs from life-threatening situations. Thus, dog owners should always prioritize vaccinating their dogs.

How Do They Actually Work?

Contrary to what many people think, vaccination does not create any protection against infectious agents. In reality, antigens or modified infectious agents are introduced into the dog’s body during vaccination.

As stated before, this creates an immune response. White blood cells rush in with antibodies to combat the antigens. The dog’s body remembers this response and simply mounts a better one if the actual disease strikes. This allows the dog to be less affected by infection in case of a disease.

Below is a list of some diseases for which vaccination is necessary.

Canine Distemper

This is an incurable disease in dogs which causes footpads to have a thick covering. The dog affected with this disease suffers from coughing, paralysis, and notable gastrointestinal problems. Being a contagious disease, its virus can spread by air or through a dog’s touch. Infected dogs can emit the virus for a long time (sometimes months).

Canine Hepatitis

This viral infectious disease can affect the dog’s respiratory and excretory organs. In some cases, the liver can also be affected. Oftentimes accompanied with fever, this disease enlarges the dog’s belly and causes gastrointestinal issues. Most dogs can fight off the less severe forms of this disease. However, severe cases can be fatal.


This viral disease is one of the most common in the world. A rabid mammal often passes the virus of this disease. It can occur through bites or scratches. Hydrophobia or fear of water is one of the advanced symptoms. In that stage, death is a common occurrence. Rabies can be spread to humans from the infected dog. Therefore, it is always wise to vaccinate the dog for preventing rabies.


Parvovirus commonly affects young dogs and puppies. Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting occur. This leads to fluid loss from the dog’s body. This can kill the dog very quickly—sometimes within as little as three days. Dogs also lose their appetite during this disease. As the disease is incurable, you should try your best to make sure that the dog drinks water. The dog can luckily fight off the disease over time.

Some Dos and Don’ts of Vaccinating Dogs

Dog keepers make some critical mistakes while vaccinating due to lack of information. Sometimes they are just too lazy to know the right ones. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to remember these key reminders regarding vaccination.

Always Listen to Your Vet’s Advice

A qualified and experienced vet should always be consulted for giving vaccinations to your dog. A skilled vet will clarify misconceptions you may have about the vaccination process. Working together with a vet, you can ensure what is best for your pet.

Importance of Vaccination Titers

Vaccination titers save money and avoid unnecessary vaccinations. It can be an alternative to regular vaccinations. It is a simple blood draw which tests if there is the presence of immunity of canine diseases in the dog’s body. Consult your vet regarding vaccination titers.

Avoid Questionable Vaccines

Some vaccines have safety issues. As a result, it is better not to apply these vaccines. Some examples are Lyme and Leptospirosis. These vaccines can have adverse side effects on the dog.

Do Not Vaccinate Puppies Below the Age of 12 Weeks

At this age, puppies are still drinking their mother’s milk. The antibodies from the milk make any vaccination ineffective.

Do Not Use Multiple Vaccinations Simultaneously

It is not recommended to vaccinate dogs this way. This will create a reaction of side effects in the dog’s body. Vaccinating your dog like this won’t be a pleasant experience, either. It will stress the animal a lot.

Do Not Vaccinate a Sick or Stressed Dog

The dog might simply get more stressed if vaccinated during such a condition. A dog experiencing skin or gastrointestinal problems should especially not be given any shots. The side effects might just make the situation a lot worse.

Avoid Over Vaccination

Over-vaccination is costly. In the long run, it might hurt your dog’s health. It might seem like more the vaccines, the better the protection. But the biology of a dog’s body is not that simple.

Expect Vaccine Reactions

Vaccine reactions or side effects are totally common. It can occur for a long time after the vaccination has taken place. So, do not panic instantly the moment you see a vaccine reaction in your dog. It is part of the process.

Consider Booster Vaccines

Booster vaccines are to be administered based on the vet’s advice. Booster vaccines are given when dogs are in an environment which is at high risk. Booster vaccines are usually given on an annual basis.

Be Careful About Commercial Vaccines

These vaccines can contain high levels of heavy metals which can cause other problems in the dog’s body. It is always best to take the vet’s advice during the whole process. Commercial vaccines can be cheaper but it is always best to prioritize your dog’s health first.

Last but Not Least…

Vaccines are essential to prevent deadly diseases in dogs. With so many types of canine diseases around, it always safe to consult the vet regarding vaccinating your pet.

Vaccinations can have undesirable side effects. But just remember that if administered properly, most of these side effects are temporary. The benefits of vaccination leave a far greater impact on the well-being of dogs.

Author Bio:

Stepheny is a content writer at Feedfond.  An avid pet parent, she owns two Golden Retrievers and cares for them like her own children. Read more of her work at

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