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Puppy Vaccinations: What to Expect

Along with the many responsibilities that come with owning a puppy is learning what to expect regarding puppy vaccinations. When you think of vaccines you probably think of rabies and already know that adult dogs are typically vaccinated once a year. Vaccines protect your dog from infectious diseases that can spread quickly from dog to dog or be transmitted from dog to human, as in the case of rabies.

A puppy is due for its first round of vaccines when it is between six and eight weeks old, and receives additional rounds of vaccines every three to four weeks until it is between 16 and 20 weeks old.

Puppy vaccinations are called boosters. One shot contains all four vaccines against distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza. Your veterinarian may opt to vaccinate for additional diseases, such as Lyme, leptospirosis and coronavirus. You should discuss these additional vaccines at length with your veterinarian to determine whether it is advisable for
your puppy to receive them.

After your puppy is 20 weeks old, it will be finished with its puppy vaccinations, and will continue getting vaccines once a year. Some people involved with animal rights activism have recently challenged veterinarians on whether dogs require vaccinations every single year. If you believe that your dog does not need vaccines that often, make sure to discuss it with your veterinarian and get a second opinion. You may well reach the conclusion that your dog is safe as long as it is vaccinated once every two years. Do understand, however, that you must vaccinate your dog against rabies, by law, every year, and that puppy vaccinations cannot be skipped or you put your puppy at severe risk for contracting and spreading diseases that may prove fatal.

Puppy vaccinations include the following:

It is especially crucial for you to understand how many vaccines your puppy requires, as well as how often it must receive them. Costs vary from veterinarian to veterinarian but obviously the costs of vaccinating a puppy are high compared with the costs of vaccinating an adult dog even once a year. Consider the costs before you commit to getting a puppy, as well as the time and patience required to take proper care of it, train it, and feed and shelter it.

It is possible to find reputable places, such as the ASPCA or the Humane Society, that offer puppy vaccinations at lower costs. Check with several veterinarians in your area as well. If you find the cost of puppy vaccinations to be prohibitive, then consider getting an adult dog instead. Remember that skipping puppy vaccinations puts not only your puppy at risk but also other dogs with which it comes in contact.

Save your records and make sure your puppy is up to date with all its boosters to ensure you have a healthy and happy puppy.