Vet Info for Pet Parents

Your Puppy's First Vaccines

One of the most important things you can do for your puppy's ongoing health is to have them vaccinated for certain diseases, beginning when they are young. This gives them time to build immunity so that if they are exposed to the pathogens that cause these diseases, they either do not become ill or do not become as seriously ill. Puppies need several rounds of shots before their first birthday, but puppy owners tend to have a lot of questions about the first round of shots, in particular. Here are the answers to some common ones!

Who is responsible for the puppy's first vaccines?

Vets typically recommend that the puppy receive their first vaccines when they are between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Since puppies need to still be with their mother up until this age, and often a little beyond, it is common for the breeders to take the puppies to the vet for their first round of shots. However, it is really up to the breeder and the buyer to decide on this. If you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks of age, the breeder may, in fact, expect you to take them to the vet for their first shots. Talk to your puppy's breeder to make arrangements, either way.

Which vaccines does the puppy need the first time?

It's a common misconception that puppies get the first doses of all of their shots at this appointment. But some vaccines are not safe to give until your puppy is a little older. So, at the first appointment, puppies are typically vaccinated for three diseases: distemper, hepatitis, and adenovirus-2. Many vets give these vaccines as a single shot, which is abbreviated DHP. 

What should you expect after your puppy's first vaccine appointment?

Most puppies do not show any negative side effects after their first vaccine. They go right back to eating and playing as usual, although their immune system is hard at work creating antibodies to the pathogens. Some puppies do seem a little tired and quieter than usual after this shot, but this usually passes within a day. Serious side effects, like an abscess at the injection site, are really rare, but if the puppy does stop eating or seems sore where the shot was given, you should contact the vet.

The first shot appointment can be a little unfamiliar to new puppy owners, but it is usually quick and easy to organize. Call an animal hospital, such as Apple Valley Animal Hospital, to schedule an appointment.