Why Dog Vaccines?
Just like you, your puppy is susceptible to a range of viruses and bacterial infections which can range from mild to extremely serious. Protecting your pup from these serious illnesses can save you significant veterinarian costs, grief, and stress by preventing your puppy from catching the disease in the first place. In Georgia, only the rabies vaccine is legally required. However, there are several other serious diseases that can be easily prevented by a simple vaccine.
What Does a Vaccine Do?
The antigens in your pup’s vaccines imitate the disease-causing organisms your pup may be exposed to in the real world. By exposing your puppy to antigens, which are unable to cause disease, vaccines stimulate your puppy’s immune system to prepare a defense in case they are ever exposed to the live disease. To put it briefly, the immune system is able to respond quickly to the real disease because of the “training” it received from the vaccine.
What Vaccinations are Recommended for my Puppy?
During the first year of your puppy’s life, the number of visits to your veterinarian may seem excessive and inconvenient. However, the effort you expend in this first year will protect your pup against some of the most dangerous diseases they could experience. While your puppy’s veterinarian can provide guidance if you have specific concerns, expect to follow typical state guidelines for vaccination types and dates.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), canine vaccinations can be divided into two groups: core and non-core. While all vaccines protect your pup against dangerous illnesses, not all dogs have equal risk factors. Speak to your veterinarian about which vaccines are right for your puppy.
According to the AAHA, core vaccines are “recommended for all dogs irrespective of lifestyle, unless there is a specific medical reason not to vaccinate.” As of 2022, the following vaccinations are considered core vaccines.
- Distemper, Hepatitis (adenovirus), Parvovirus, Parainfluenza (DHPP combination vaccine)
The Rabies vaccine is legally required in Georgia, with a booster administered annually. The DHPP vaccine must be repeated one year after the last dose of the initial series, with boosters every three years after that.
The AAHA defines non-core vaccines as those that are “recommended for some dogs based on lifestyle, geographic location, and risk of exposure.” These vaccinations do protect your pup from serious diseases, but your lifestyle and location can make a difference in the likelihood of their exposure. Speak to your veterinarian about which vaccines are important in your situation. The AAHA considers the following vaccinations to be non-core vaccines.
- Borrelia burgdorferi (canine Lyme disease)
- Bordetella (kennel cough)
- Canine influenza
While not every non-core vaccine is likely to be essential for your pup, some vaccines are required for specific activities. For example, many group training programs and kennels require documentation showing that your pup is up to date on their Bordetella vaccination. This protects all dogs in these environments, as the disease spreads easily between dogs in close proximity.
A typical puppy vaccination schedule follow this timeline:
6-10 weeks: DHPP, Bordetella
10-14 weeks: DHPP, Canine Influenza, Canine Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis, Bordetella
16-18 weeks: DHPP, Rabies, Canine Influenza, Canine Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis, Bordetella
12-16 months: annual boosters for any vaccines given as a puppy
If you have gotten your furever friend from us, our team will share what vaccines and other shots have been given to your puppy. We are passionate about making sure each and every puppy is healthy and happy. If you are struggling to find a veterinarian in your area who is a good fit for your family. If you have any concerns or need help finding a veterinarian, contact us. Your puppy’s health matters to us, and we are here to support you as you learn to care for your furever friend.