Spring will be here soon, and that means you and your dog will be out and about much more often. Your dog will want to enjoy the warm weather, playing and socializing with other dogs–dogs that may or may not have been properly vaccinated. Just like your home routinely needs a spring clean, your dog needs to have routine vaccinations. And what better time than before the hot spring and summer months?
A vaccination schedule often depends on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment, and lifestyle. Let’s look at some details you should know.
Vaccines help prepare your dog’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines are made out of antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system; but, they don’t actually cause the disease. When the vaccine is introduced to your dog’s body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If your dog is ever exposed to another dog with the actual disease, its immune system will be prepared to recognize the disease, reduce the severity of the illness, or entirely fight it off.
If a puppy’s mother has a healthy immune system, the puppy will most likely receive antibodies in its mother’s milk while nursing. But puppies should also receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three-to-four week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age. An adult dog’s vaccination schedule can vary. A dog might receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccinations may be given every three years or longer. It’s best to consult with your doctor about your breed.
Vaccines are very important to managing the health of your pet, although not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. It is very important to discuss with your veterinarian your dog’s travel habits and lifestyle so they may determine an appropriate vaccination protocol. Most vets highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs.
While your dog may not require annual vaccinations, your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule for your pet. Contact Dogwood Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort at 919.942.6330 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about getting your dog vaccinated. We service the Chapel Hill, NC area, including Pittsboro, Carrboro and Hillsborough.