When your puppy is born, its mother passes on protection against diseases in the form of maternal antibodies. These antibodies slowly start to wear off over the first two to six months of your puppy’s life. If you fail to vaccinate your puppy, you leave your puppy susceptible to a variety of diseases and illnesses that can cause death.
Your puppy should be vaccinated when it is six weeks old and receive booster shots every three weeks until your puppy is 14 weeks old. When your puppy is four to six months old it can have its rabies vaccination. Then your puppy should receive a yearly vaccination for the rest of its life. Adults can contract diseases as well and you should be very conscientious about making sure you do this every year at the same time. You should pick a date that is easy for you to remember and mark your calendar. Don't take chances with your friend's life. Even if you live in a remote area where there are no other dogs to expose your pet to, you probably still have people come to your home and they can carry disease on their feet, clothes and hands. When we show our puppies, we ask people that they not visit that day if they have looked at puppies elsewhere. If they have been puppy shopping before they come to us, we ask that they wear a different pair of shoes because some viruses can live for quite some time on surfaces.
Here is a list of diseases that you must vaccinate for.
The basic puppy shot is called an All-in-One or DHLPP. It covers:
Distemper—spreads through direct contact or by contaminated objects. The symptoms of this disease are coughing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most puppies do not survive.
Hepatitis—Liver infection caused by virus. It is rare here in the U.S.
Leptspirosis—Bacterial disease transmitted through urine or urine-contaminated objects. More commonly affects adult dogs. In puppies this vaccination can cause adverse conditions such as swelling of the face, difficulty breathing, and collapse. Ask your vet if he could hold off on this vaccination until your puppy is older.
Parvo Virus—causes fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is transmitted through feces.
Parainfluenza—this disease's signs are prolonged periods of deep coughing. This is an airborne virus and can spread quickly. Your adult dog can catch this at the vet’s office, boarding facilities, and kennels.
Until your puppy has completed his full set of vaccinations, you need to be very careful of exposing him to possible contamination. Keep away from parks and areas where other dogs frequent. When you are at your vet's office, keep him in the carrier or hold him up off the floor and away from any other animals that are in the waiting area. And you should ask your visitors to make sure they are careful not to bring any unwanted diseases to your home. If you want to socialize your puppy with other dogs, make sure they are healthy and current on their vaccinations as well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your puppy/dog parasite-free, both internally and externally. Worm your puppy/dog on a regular basis. We worm our adults once a month and our puppies get their first dose of dewormer at two weeks of age. We use Nemex and simply follow the instruction on the label. They really like the taste of this wormer and will willingly lick it from the syringe.
We bathe our puppies and adults on a regular basis as well. We like Frontline for the adults and Adams flea and tick shampoo for the puppies. Again, just follow the label instructions.
Written by Dawn Littlefield