When do I need to get my puppy vaccinated?
Have you recently welcomed a fluffy bundle of joy into your family? Ask anyone who’s raised a pup and they’ll tell you that it’s a crazy, yet incredibly rewarding experience.
The first few weeks settling them in will be hard work. You’ll learn so much about your pup during this time, and likewise, they’ll learn a lot about their new home and family. You’ll have to introduce them to their new bed, begin house training, and teach them that things like your sofa, coffee table and vacuum cleaner cord are not chew toys!
Of course, these initial weeks are also about spending as much time with your pup as possible – giving them plenty of love, attention and cuddles.
Protecting your pup
Excitable puppies get up to mischief and are prone to accidents, so it’s really important to get them insured from the day you bring them home.
Puppy insurance will give you peace of mind that if your new pet did hurt themselves and needed to take a trip to the vets, you wouldn’t be left with a bill totalling hundreds – maybe even thousands – of pounds. Go Get It compares insurance policies from many of the UK’s leading providers, saving you both time and money.
You can protect your pup from eight weeks old, choosing from £1,000 up to £10,000 of cover per year.
Vaccinating your pup
As well as taking out puppy insurance, it’s really important to get your puppy vaccinated in their first few weeks. As the RSPCA explains, regular vaccinations help pups grow into dogs who remain free of infectious diseases. It also stops them from passing nasty diseases onto dogs and other animals in your local area.
It really doesn’t bear thinking about, but some diseases can be fatal for dogs. So, vaccinations will give you peace of mind that you’ve done all you can to protect your furry friend.
Here are some other things you’ll need to know about vaccinating your puppy:
When should you get your puppy vaccinated?
Blue Cross says that puppies are typically safe from infections during their first few weeks due to the immunity passed on from their mother’s milk.
However, they’ll usually start to need vaccinations between six and nine weeks of age. After several initial injections, they’ll need regular booster jabs – these will be needed for the rest of your dog’s life.
The best place to get your pup vaccinated is at your local vet – you should register with them as soon as possible after bringing your pet home.
Can you take your puppy outside before vaccinations?
You shouldn’t go outside in public areas or gardens where an unvaccinated dog may have been until the vaccination course is complete and active. This will usually be when they’re between 11 and 13 weeks old – but you should always follow specific advice given to you by the vet carrying out your pup’s vaccinations.
But during this time, it’s still important for your pup to learn how to socialise. This means introducing them to different situations and experiences so they can make friends with other dogs and humans. Many veterinary practices now put on special classes where your pooch can master socialising with limited risk of picking up any nasty diseases.
Which dog vaccines are absolutely necessary?
Blue Cross lists some of the diseases the usual vaccinations protect against:
This is a highly infectious disease that’s very expensive to treat and can often be fatal. It’s spread through contaminated poo of affected dogs and can stay active in the environment for up to nine months. Severe vomiting and diarrhoea are two symptoms of parvovirus, which can cause pups to become extremely weak and dehydrated.
The disease is more common in certain parts of the country, so vaccination advice will depend on where you live.
Canine distemper is spread through the saliva and sometimes urine of an infected dog, and is usually picked up through direct contact. Initial symptoms include fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing and a poor appetite, but these could progress into vomiting, diarrhoea and hardened skin on the pup’s paw pads.
If the disease progresses further, it can affect the nervous system of the dog, leading to seizures, limb weakness and loss of balance. The virus can sometimes be fatal, and dogs that recover could still suffer from fits and other health issues. There’s no cure, just prevention; dogs with the virus receive supportive care to help them fight the bug and are given fluids to stop them from becoming dehydrated.
This severe, life-threatening disease can develop quickly and result in organ failure. It’s carried in the urine of affected dogs and can contaminate soil and water. The disease can get into a dog’s body through its eyes, nose, mouth or cracked skin, with symptoms including fever, vomiting, muscle pain, excessive thirst and infertility.
Leptospirosis can also affect humans. The disease can be treated using antibiotics, though the dog will usually end up suffering health complications.
Adenovirus 1 and 2
This disease has two strains: adenovirus 1 causes hepatitis, a liver infection (also called infectious canine hepatitis). The second strain causes a respiratory illness, a form of kennel cough. The virus can survive for many months and is spread through saliva, urine, poo, blood or nasal discharge of an infected dog.
This is similar to a cold in that it’s a highly contagious, respiratory infection. It doesn’t tend to be serious, but it’s still important for your pup to be vaccinated against it.
What other vaccinations might your pup need?
There are a couple of other vaccines you may want to consider for your canine, including:
This is more annoying than dangerous. A number of viruses which can be a factor in kennel cough are included in your pup’s core vaccinations, but the actual cause of the cough is bacterium – which requires another, separate vaccine. You should consider this vaccination if you think your dog will end up going to kennels. It’s delivered through the nose and protects dogs for six months.
If you’re planning on taking your hound on holiday to another EU country, you’ll need to get a rabies vaccination for them. Pups need to be microchipped and at least 12 weeks old.
The rabies vaccination is one of a number of injections required to get a pet passport, which allows you to travel with your pooch to another EU country.
How much does it cost for a puppy’s first shots?
It’ll cost between £30 and £60 for your pup’s initial round of vaccinations, which is nothing compared to how much it would cost to treat one of the diseases if you don’t have puppy insurance. Most important of all, though, protecting your pup with these vaccinations will save them from suffering any unnecessary pain and discomfort. A healthy pup is a happy pup!
How often do dogs need booster vaccinations?
After the first round of vaccinations, you’ll need to visit the vets once a year for booster injections. The type of vaccinations given will depend on how healthy your dog is, and if there are any particular diseases that are widespread in your local area.
You’ll get a record card so you know what your dog has had and when they’ll need their boosters. Boosters cost less than your dog’s initial round of vaccinations.
Unsure whether your pup has been vaccinated?
All reputable breeders will provide this information to buyers. Decent rehoming charities will also give puppies a thorough vet check and up-to-date vaccines before you welcome them into your home.
If for any reason you’re unsure if your pup has been vaccinated, get some advice from your vet. Blue Cross explains that it doesn’t hurt to repeat a course of injections. Blood tests are sometimes offered to measure antibodies to discover if vaccinations are needed, however the antibodies they measure might not be effective in preventing disease.
Worming and flea treatment
As Purina explains, worms are an inevitable part of a puppy’s life. Many pups are, in fact, born with worms, which is why they should be wormed at two, four, six, eight and 12 weeks old – then every three months throughout their life.
Worming treatments are easy to use, but you should always read the label as you might need to use a number of products to properly protect your pup against all types of worms. If your pup is suffering from a heavy worm infestation, you should repeat the treatment 10 days after the first dose is administered.
Worm warning signs include: diarrhoea or vomiting, weight loss (despite a good appetite), weakness, listlessness and an abnormally swollen stomach. If you have any trouble with worming treatment, just speak to your vet – they’ll be able to give you a demo during your next visit.
Fleas are usually hard to spot, writes The Kennel Club, unless there’s a huge infestation or your pup has a white or pale coat. Fleas are small, reddish jumping insects – you might see the fleas or evidence of them, for instance flea-dirt (flea faeces). Other tell-tale signs your pup has fleas include:
- Hair loss
One way to confirm whether your pooch has fleas is to dampen a piece of cotton wool to collect flea-dirt. If the wool turns red, then your pup probably has fleas.
Puppies with fleas can develop skin infections but also become irritated and depressed, which can go on to affect their socialisation and sleep. Not to mention, fleas can be passed from pup to human – and it’s not cheap to treat a flea-infested home.
Early detection and prevention is key to keeping the flea issue under control. Just be sure to check
the labels of flea products to make sure they are suitable for your pup. Some products kill adult fleas on the pet as well as larvae in your home if you suspect your carpets are infested.
Different products have different interval lengths between treatments, so again, make sure you read and follow the instructions.
Puppy health check
The Kennel Club goes on to say that all owners need to check their puppy’s body regularly for lumps, swelling, rashes and cuts. Check for mammary/testicular lumps and also keep an eye on their teeth, gums, limbs, nails, claws, eyes and ears.
Carrying out regular health checks will be easy so long as you get your pup used to being touched and examined on a daily basis – you could build it into your morning routine. And it really goes without saying, but if you notice any changes or abnormalities when carrying out a health check, book to see your vet as soon as possible.
Protecting your pup with quality insurance
Whether your pup is a mongrel, crossbreed or pedigree, price comparison site Go Get It can provide quotes that set you up with the right level of cover for a great price.
We understand that no two dogs (or two owners!) are the same, which is why there are a range of policies for you to choose from. There are cover options for various levels of cover for the majority of dog breeds.
With puppy insurance, you won’t have to worry about high vet bills in the event your pooch is injured or becomes unwell – leaving you to focus on nursing them back to full health!
Some of the benefits of taking out a policy include:
- No upper age limit
- Puppy cover from eight weeks old
- Range of cover levels, including accident only and lifetime cover
- Cover from £1,000 up to £10,000 per year
- Overseas travel cover
- Emergency boarding
- Complementary medicine
- Special diets
- Third party legal liability up to £2 million