Puppies are especially vulnerable to disease because they have weaker immune systems, which means they aren’t able to respond to infection quickly enough to avoid getting sick. Their response to vaccines isn’t as strong as in adult dogs, so they require a series of vaccines to bring their immunity up to a level that will keep them reasonably safe from infection. These vaccines are usually given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks old.
What vaccinations do you provide to new puppies?
At 8 weeks, we will start the Distemper-Adenovirus-Parvovirus combination. At 12 weeks, the vaccine is boostered and Leptospirosis is started. At 16 weeks, the puppy receives their final DAP/Leptospirosis vaccine booster and their Rabies vaccine. The Bordetella and Lyme vaccines can be started at 12 weeks of age if appropriate.
At what age should I bring my puppy for their vaccinations?
Puppies receive some immune cells through their mother’s milk that protect them from disease while they’re very young (these are called ‘maternal antibodies’), but this immunity only lasts a few weeks, after which they are vulnerable to infection. While these antibodies are present, they will immediately respond to the viruses and bacteria of any vaccine before the puppy’s immune system can react, making the vaccine ineffective. This is why we recommend starting vaccines at 8 weeks of age – by this time, the last maternal antibodies have gone, and we can immediately begin stimulating the puppy’s immune system to kickstart their protection against infection.
How should I prepare my puppy for their first vaccination visit?
Your puppy’s first visit to the hospital is significant because it sets the mood for how your dog will feel about seeing the veterinarian for the rest of its life! If possible, bring your puppy in a few days before your first appointment for a quick visit. At this time, our staff can shower them with treats and affection so that they have a good first impression of this strange new place. We also invite you to bring any paperwork your puppy may have, so that we can add it to their record and review it before your first vaccination appointment. It will also help us determine what they need.
We recommend bringing a sample of your dog’s feces in a clean container or bag to your vaccine appointment. We will send it to the lab to test for intestinal worms (these are common in young dogs). You can also bring their favourite treats or toy to keep them comfortable.
How much do puppy vaccinations cost?
Vaccines are reasonably priced, and the total cost will depend on which vaccines your puppy needs.