When you adopt a new dog or puppy, there are many different factors that you need to consider in the care and health of your new pet. One of the elements you will need to take care of is your dog's vaccinations. While vaccinations have been a point of controversy in recent years regarding human children, many people are not fully aware of the types of animal vaccinations available to their dogs, nor the pertinent facts about those vaccinations. Get to know more about vaccinations so that your dog is getting the best possible care from the day you bring them home.
Some Vaccines Are Required, Others Are Not
As with vaccines for diseases and viruses that affect humans, some vaccines for animals are required while others are optional or recommended. If you are apprehensive about vaccinating your dog for every thing that they may or may not ever come into contact with, you can pick and choose which vaccines they receive (to an extent).
Most states in the U.S. require a rabies vaccine, although the frequency of administration may vary. Rabies is a deadly animal disease that can cross species and can be transmitted to a human who is bitten by an infected animal. As such, this is an important vaccine to keep up to date. Check with your vet, state animal control office, or a place like Cherokee Hospital for Animals to find out the exact laws in your state regarding the rabies vaccine. Some states will ask that you vaccinate your dog every year while others require the vaccine every three years.
There are other vaccines that are considered to be core vaccines as well, meaning they are necessary to keep your dog healthy and free of common diseases. These include distemper, canine hepatitis, and parvovirus.
Other vaccines are optional and the need for those vaccines vary based on where you live. For instance, if you live in the East, you may want to consider a Lyme vaccine, since that issue is prevalent. If your dog is going to be kenneled often with unfamiliar dogs, you may want to consider other vaccines against bordetella, leptospirosis, and canine coronavirus.
Your Dog May Have Reactions To Their Vaccines
Once again, it is important to recognize that many animals will react similarly to medical procedures and issues as people would. When you go and get any type of vaccine, such as a flu shot, you receive warnings about possible side effects both minor and major to watch out for. This is because vaccines cause a reaction in the immune system to encourage the body to build up antibodies to fight certain diseases.
When your dog gets a vaccination, their body can react similarly. They may react by becoming lethargic, by having a low or reduced appetite, or by having swelling and/or a rash at the injection site or on their face. These are relatively minor reactions and should clear up within a few days. More severe reactions are possible including hives, trouble breathing, and seizures--though such extreme reactions are rare.
Because your dog may not feel well after getting vaccinated, you will want to try to keep them calm following their vaccinations. You also want to keep a close eye on them for the few hours immediately following the administration of vaccines to ensure they do not have any major issues. If they do have a severe reaction, don't wait to take them back to the vet!
Now that you know a bit more about vaccinating your dog, you can be sure to provide your new dog with the best possible care now and in the future.