Just for Kids: Vaccinating Your Puppy
When a puppy is born, her immune system is not fully developed. This means that she could get sick very easily. Lucky for your pup, her mother is able to give her some protection. She does this before the puppy is born and after the birth through the first milk. But there is another way your puppy gets protection. That is by getting her vaccinated.
What Is a Vaccination?
A vaccination is something that your veterinarian gives to your puppy to help her protect herself against infection. A vaccination is usually a shot that contains a vaccine, which is like a little bit of infection because it contains weakened viruses or bacteria. Why would we do that? Because when germs enter the body, the body makes special substances called antibodies. These antibodies work like a little army to attack the germs and kill them before they can cause disease.
Antibodies stay with the body for a long time. If the real germ ever enters the body, the antibodies will still remember how to fight them off.
- Puppies between 4 and 20 weeks of age: Puppies should receive a vaccine that protects against different illnesses that may include: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. The shots should start when your puppy is between 6 and 8 weeks of age and continue every 3 to 4 weeks. And rabies should be given as required by local laws. Your veterinarian will tell you what your puppy needs.
- Dogs between 20 weeks and 2 years of age: Dogs and puppies also need booster shots after their puppy shots. This makes sure that the protection continues.
- Dogs older than 2 years of age: Some veterinarians think your dog needs a yearly booster shot, and others don't think it is necessary. Your veterinarian might want to give a booster shot every few years. You and your parents can talk it over with your veterinarian and decide what is best for your dog.