Vaccinate Puppies: Against What & How Often?

When you bring a puppy to you, the question probably arises as to when, against what, and how often you should vaccinate the animal. There are some underlying diseases that your dog should definitely be vaccinated against and other vaccines that you can consider. In the first few weeks after birth, the dog forms sufficient antibodies due to the ingredients in breast milk and has sufficient natural immunization, which, however, decreases over time. This basic immunization also prevents the full effect of vaccines.

Puppies vaccinate after moving in

Usually, puppies are vaccinated against distemper (S), hepatitis (H), parvovirus (P), and leptospirosis (L) at eight weeks. This vaccination is usually carried out by the breeder. Another vaccination, which is also initiated by many breeders in the eighth week, is the vaccination against kennel cough, which is considered controversial. The vaccines against the kennel cough pathogens parainfluenza virus (Pi) and Bordetella bronchiseptica are said to fail relatively frequently. Now the question arises as to which vaccinations you, as a responsible owner of the dog, should carry out and when.

How many vaccinations are necessary?

Puppies are still dog children and do not yet tolerate vaccines as well as adult dogs. For this reason, possible side effects can occur earlier and to a greater extent with the vaccination. You should therefore talk to your vet in advance about which vaccinations are useful, which your dog may not need at all and which vaccinations you can catch up on later.

Vaccination puppies: the full vaccination schedule

There are guidelines for the vaccination of puppies from the Standing Vaccination Committee for Veterinary Medicine.

Guideline for vaccination of puppies

  • This recommendation provides for vaccination of the puppy in the eighth week against the following diseases: parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper, and leptospirosis.
  • These vaccinations are repeated again in the twelfth and fifteenth weeks.
  • In addition, it is recommended to vaccinate the puppies against rabies in the twelfth week.

This vaccination schedule is intended to guarantee that the young dogs are adequately protected against the corresponding diseases, i.e. have formed enough antibodies.

After that, the dog does not have to be vaccinated again until the age of 15 months against parvovirus (P), distemper (S), leptospirosis (L), and hepatitis (H). A booster rabies vaccination is also planned for this age. However, since there are different vaccine preparations against rabies that have different vaccination intervals, the timing of the booster of the rabies vaccination depends on the respective preparation. After these vaccinations, the dogs are considered basic immunization. According to the recommendation of the StIKo Vet, vaccinations against leptospirosis (L) and kennel cough (Pi) are then repeated annually and against hepatitis (H), parvovirus (P), and distemper every three years.

Sometimes less is better

If you don’t want to subject your dog to so many vaccinations, especially when it’s a puppy, you can also stick to an easier vaccination recommendation.

  • This vaccination schedule calls for vaccination between the eighth and ninth week against parvovirus (P), distemper (S), and hepatitis (H), which is repeated at the twelfth or 13th week.
  • The rabies vaccination is not provided until after the twelfth week in this plan. This vaccination should then be carried out individually and not in combination with other vaccinations and preparation should be used that provides a booster three years after a single vaccination.

Vaccination against leptospirosis is based on need, but should only be given once and not before the 12th week. The animals are then vaccinated against parvovirus (P), distemper (S), and hepatitis (H) from the 16th week and – if desired – one last time at the age of six months, since the animals’ immune systems are fully developed at this point is.

Vaccines and Side Effects

The side effects of vaccines can be varied. For example, swelling often occurs at the vaccination site, which subsides after two to three weeks. Other possible side effects include itching, shortness of breath, and vomiting. In the worst exceptional cases, intolerance to the vaccines can lead to the death of the animal if left untreated. However, such severe side effects are not common.

Conclusion: vaccinate puppies – the owner decides

Dog owners are not obliged to vaccinate their pets, but your dog needs a vaccination certificate for stays abroad. For example, puppies usually need to be at least 15 weeks old and vaccinated against rabies to be allowed into an EU country.

The topic of vaccination is very controversial among dog owners and experts. The discussion mainly relates to the points already mentioned – such as which vaccinations are actually necessary, for example, rabies is no longer widespread in our regions. However, you need the vaccination if you want to travel abroad with your dog. It is best to talk to your veterinarian about the vaccinations that are important for your dog.

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