Vaccinations are an essential part of a dog’s healthcare regime – from his puppy days to his senior status.
Dog vaccines, when given regularly, afford dogs long-term, lifetime protection against the serious and sometimes fatal diseases caused by viruses.
Once in the bloodstream, a vaccine mimics a particular virus or bacteria, triggering the body’s own immune response. After that, the immune response is ready and prepared to fight any future infection by that virus.
Puppies should begin vaccinations at between eight and 10 weeks old, so schedule a visit to your vet as soon as you can. Most vaccines are injected as part of a series, and one year after the last in the series, your dog will need boosters.
Vaccination protocols may vary, so follow your vet’s recommended vaccination programme. Your vet will also be able to advise you on the range of vaccinations your dog should take.
The most common dog vaccinations
What: A highly contagious and potentially fatal virus affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. It generally spreads as an airborne infection, with vaccination the only effective control.
When: Injections at eight and 10 weeks old, followed by boosters. Can be given in combination with other vaccines.
Infectious canine hepatitis (adenovirus)
What: This viral disease affects the liver, kidneys and the cells lining the blood vessels, causing high fever, thirst, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, liver damage and haemorrhaging.
When: The initial vaccination is given as a series, beginning at eight weeks of age, and is often combined with vaccinations against distemper.
What: A common but deadly viral infection, with symptoms including severe diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.
When: A series of vaccinations from eight to 20 weeks of age, followed by booster vaccines.
What: A bacteria that affects the kidney and liver.
When: A series, beginning at eight weeks of age, followed by boosters, which can be given in combination with other vaccines.
Parainfluenza virus (bordetella)
What: One of the causes of ‘kennel cough’, this virus is highly contagious and attacks the respiratory system.
When: Initial inoculations are given at eight weeks, followed by boosters.
Dog vaccinations, like worming and flea treatment, are a crucial part of making sure your dog stays happy and healthy.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.