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Every puppy owner only wants the best for his little companion. But when it comes to vaccination, many are unsure: Will vaccination harm my puppy? What vaccinations does my puppy need? We have compiled the most important information about vaccinating puppies for you.

What vaccinations does a puppy need?

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The puppy mother gives her children antibodies that protect the little ones from viruses and bacteria in the first few weeks of life. Then puppies should receive basic immunization against the most dangerous infectious diseases. For young dogs, the veterinarian should limit himself to the most necessary vaccinations, the so-called “mandatory vaccines”. Experts also speak of “core vaccinations”, as opposed to non-core vaccinations, so-called elective vaccines. The former consists of a combined vaccination against hepatitis, parvovirus, distemper, and, in endangered areas, against leptospirosis.

Every dog owner is free to decide whether to vaccinate his dog or not. Nevertheless, the Association of Practicing Veterinarians recommends mandatory vaccinations as basic immunization.

You should clarify individually with your vet whether vaccinations against leishmaniasis, kennel cough, borreliosis, and babesiosis make sense. The costs for combined vaccinations are usually between $75 and $100.

Basic immunization: the right time

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If you buy your puppy from a reputable breeder, they will initiate the first combination vaccination at eight weeks of age. On this occasion, the puppies get to know a veterinarian for the first time. Vaccinations should also be given or made up for puppies from animal welfare organizations when they are eight weeks old. When the puppy visits the vet for the first time, they usually also receive a microchip for clear identification. Then there is the vaccination certificate with chip number.

A booster vaccination is given four weeks later, at the age of 12 and 16 weeks. Be sure to keep these deadlines.

Once this primary vaccination has been completed, you are protected against the vaccine for at least one year. To what extent the dog is also protected is controversial. Some veterinarians believe that primary vaccination offers lifelong protection.

Does the puppy need a rabies vaccination?

There is no obligation to have a dog vaccinated against rabies. However, the rabies vaccination is also one of the core vaccinations recommended by the Association of Practicing Veterinarians. After all, if the typical symptoms appear, the disease is likely to be fatal. Some dog owners are against it. However, if you want to cross national borders with your dog, you need a valid rabies vaccination. This also applies to trips to other countries. The rabies vaccination must be at least three weeks old – spontaneous travel with an unvaccinated dog is not possible. Attention: Some countries make sure that the rabies vaccination has been carried out after the microchip has been inserted. This is the only way to ensure a clear assignment. Dog boarding houses usually also require valid rabies vaccination protection. The vet gives the first rabies vaccination at 12 weeks at the earliest – it makes sense to keep an interval of two weeks from the combination vaccinations described above. Incidentally, this also applies to wormer cures. The veterinarian enters the vaccination certificate how long the rabies protection applies. This is now often three years. Travel with pets is therefore allowed within the EU for this period. Please note that in some countries there is still a requirement that the vaccination must not be older than one year.

Side effects of vaccinations in puppies

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Before the vaccination, the puppy should be safe and sound – then no side effects are to be expected. A sick animal does not receive a vaccination, but only recovers. Some vaccines are accompanied by a brief burning sensation at the puncture site, which subsides after a few minutes. Many dogs are a little tired and limp for the next few hours or the following day. Give your puppy a lot of rest after the vet visit – he’ll need a little time anyway to process the exciting new impressions from the vet. If severe side effects such as fever, (bloody) diarrhea, or vomiting occur after the vaccination, contact your veterinarian.