Vaccinations – When should you vaccinate your dog?

What is the correct policy for vaccinating dogs?

I don’t know.  I know what I believe to be the right practice with regards vaccinations, according to veterinary recommendations, but I know that many people hold other opinions.

Puppy vaccinations

Traditionally, puppies were always sent off having had their first set of vaccinations.  However, when I took Sunny along to be registered with a vet, they insisted on starting the process off again, as they wanted to be happy that she had been given the same type of vaccination, from the same ‘batch’.

There are several different types and makes of vaccinations given to puppies and different vets have different practices and policies.  Some don’t want to vaccinate at 8 weeks, when puppies first arrive in their new homes.  Some say the pups can go out within a week of the second vaccination, some want you to wait a bit longer.

Puppies are covered by the mother’s immunity when they are being fed by her.  These levels of immunity from the mother come from the first few days of feeding and this can last for variable amounts of time, from 6 weeks up to 20 weeks.

Your vet will start your puppy on a course of vaccinations against the four main infectious diseases:
  • Canine Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis

All these diseases are fatal, so it is vital that your dog is protected from these.

More details about what vaccinations should be given and when can be found at KC health advice.

Can I take my puppy out before they have been vaccinated?

Yes.  You need to make sure they do not come into contact with dogs that have not been vaccinated, or go someone where they might pick up these diseases.  However, it is really important for pups to get out and about, as long as they are carried, or you know the dogs they are mixing with.  It is great experience for your puppy and a chance to show them off to family and friends!  Use a handy Pet Sling such as this one and off you go!

Ongoing vaccinations – how often should they be done?

Once again, times have changed.  In the past, we accepted that we should vaccinate our dogs every year.  However, we have come to realise that it is not necessarily appropriate to give our dogs all these vaccinations.  Vets have discovered through scientific investigation that in fact the effect of the vaccinations last a bit longer than a year.  They have therefore reviewed their policy for vaccinating.

My vet now carries out a rolling programme of vaccination.  They vaccinate against leptospirosis every year, but other diseases are done every other year, or every third year.  I have also discovered that the dogs are covered for up to 15 months.  I therefore make sure that I don’t now take them on the anniversary of their last vaccination, but wait until a bit later.  That saves me money and make sure that my dogs don’t get done unnecessarily.

Alternatives to vaccination

Some people feel that they would rather treat their dogs another way, rather than ‘over vaccinating’.  They might ‘titer test’ their dogs, which is a blood test used to determine the level of immunity in the dog’s system.  This is fine, on the day of testing, but it is not a reliable measure of the long-term cover the dog has.

I value the knowledge and expertise of my vet.  I believe that they have spent years training and studying to understand what is best for my dog.  It’s easy to be critical of something you don’t understand, but I would prefer to trust a professional person, than go through the hassle of learning all about it myself.  I go to the MK Veterinary Group and I am happy with their service.

People complain that vets charge too much money, but it must cost a fortune to run a practice, ensuring that they are ready and able to deal with everything that we throw at them.  I think my Veterinary Practice is great!

A huge hit with the vet staff

Ask for help?

Yet another area with many different viewpoints!  Fortunately there is plenty of help available.  If you are buying a puppy, start by looking at the What Dog? page.  Or if you want to breed, read this Dog Breeding Blog and then please CONTACT ME to discuss this, as I may be able to mentor you?


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


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