Congratulations on your new fur baby! Being a parent to a cuddly, mischievous puppy or kitten is having your days filled with joy, cuteness and yes, exhaustion. We see you. It can all get a bit overwhelming, especially as there seems to be so much to know that isn’t necessarily intuitive.
Take vaccines. You’ve got to get a calendar together, much as you do with a human newborn, to get all the shots, and on time too. We’re here to help with a quick and easy informational guide on what to expect. Of course, your vet knows best, and all kinds of regional and seasonal rules and exceptions apply, so we’ve kept this general.
When to Get the First Vaccine
Your pet’s first vaccine depends on whether they’re getting their mother’s milk. If they’re happy with their mothers, let them get all those marvellous antibodies, as much as possible. This isn’t always possible, of course, depending on the breeder you are purchasing from, or if the little one is a rescue who has lost their mother. In the case of the latter, you would want to get your first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks of age. For puppies, if they have the luxury of feeding from their mother’s milk for a longer time, let them, and schedule the first vaccination appointment after they wean, around 8 weeks old. For kittens, the first vaccinations must be done when they are 5-7 weeks old. After that, boosters are given at regular intervals, usually a month apart.
Which Vaccines to Get
Depending on the region, your vet may have differing recommendations. However, there are certain vaccines that are considered core, that prevent deadly diseases for both dogs and cats. Rabies is of course the best known of these core, compulsory vaccines, and it is almost never clubbed with the others. For puppies, you would get it 1-2 weeks apart from all the other shots, sometime after the first core dose. For an adopted dog of unknown origin or vaccination history though, you would want to get the rabies shot immediately upon adoption.
Overvaccination or Under Vaccination
Just as with humans, pet vaccines are not without controversy. However, if there is one universal agreement, it is that the core vaccines are mandatory. Other than that, it is important to be careful of dosage (small dogs are often given too much) and frequency (titer tests can help indicate whether boosters are necessary).
3 Essential Need-to-Knows on Pet Vaccination
- Your pet baby is NOT supposed to meet other dogs or cats until all the shots are complete, usually 14 weeks. They are far too vulnerable at this point.
- Don’t vaccinate when your pet is sick or when you plan on travel within a week or so.
- Good nutrition, full of antioxidants and unprocessed food, after a foundation of plenty of mother’s milk, is really the source of good immunity and good health. Vaccines simply prevent acute disease. Watch for overnutrition or lack of exercise, both of which can diminish their immunity.
Now is the time to get your furry covered!