Vaccines are undoubtedly one of the best ways to give your new puppy a good start in life. Here are a few tips to help you protect your puppy against life-threatening illnesses.
How do Vaccines Work?
Your puppy's immune system isn't strong enough to fight off an invasion of organisms carrying a deadly disease. Vaccines make use of antigens—substances that cause the body to produce disease-fighting antibodies.
Antigens fool the immune system without actually causing the disease. If your puppy is later exposed to the disease, his immune system will recognize it and respond by fighting it off. In some cases, he may still contract the disease, but the severity will be reduced.
What Vaccines Does My Puppy Need?
Puppies require some core vaccines to help protect them from dangerous diseases as his immature immune system develops. Your pet vaccination clinic can help you determine what is required and when.
Most pet vaccination clinics agree that your puppy should receive the DHPP vaccine at seven weeks. This vaccine gives immunity to Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. Your puppy will require three inoculations three weeks apart for the vaccine to be effective. A booster is recommended every 1-3 years after that.
At nine weeks, a Bordetella vaccine is recommended, with a booster at three weeks. It protects against most of the respiratory diseases common in dogs.
After your puppy turns 12 weeks, he should begin a series of Rabies vaccines three weeks apart. A rabies booster is required every three years to keep your dog protected, and is also required by law.
Leptospirosis is a serious infection that can be passed from dogs to people. Leptospirosis causes the liver and kidneys to fail, both in dogs and humans, and is potentially fatal. It should be given twice to your puppy as a part of his early series of vaccines.