What You Need to Know About Dog Immunizations and Preventing Disease

by Melody Keilig

August is National Pet Immunization Awareness Month, which reminds us to get our pets vaccinated. Not only does this keep pets safe, but it also prevents illness from spreading to other animals and possibly humans.

 

So, how can you vaccinate your dog, and why is it crucial to prevent these diseases and illnesses? First, let's dig into all things immunization!

Why Your Dog Needs Vaccinations

To immunize your dog means that you're making them immune to infection. Vaccines for dogs prevent minor and severe illnesses, so vaccinating puppies is essential because diseases like canine parvovirus can be deadly.

 

So, asking your veterinarian about your dog's current vaccinations is essential to keep them healthy. If your puppy or dog has an unknown medical history, they can receive canine core vaccines.

These vaccines cover diseases that are more severe, like:

  • Canine Parvovirus: A highly contagious viral disease that causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies, particularly between six to 20 weeks old.

    Symptoms include lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, sudden high fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes myocarditis.

  • Canine Distemper: A viral disease that replicates in the lymphatic tissue of the dog’s respiratory tract before infecting the rest of the lymphatic tissue, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tract, urinary tract, central nervous system, and optic nerves.

    Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, eye discharge, thickening of nose and foot pads, skin sores, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pneumonia, and general pain.

    Distemper also causes telltale neurological symptoms that often take months to show. These neurological symptoms include muscle twitching, chewing fits, excessive saliva, head tilting, circling, involuntary eye movements, paralysis or partial paralysis, and seizures.

  • Canine Hepatitis (also known as Canine Adenovirus): A contagious liver infection that targets the spleen, kidneys, lungs, liver, the lining of blood vessels, and other organs.

    Symptoms include a slight fever, deficiency of blood clotting, congestion, apathy, increased thirst, loss of appetite, blindness, enlarged tonsils, eye inflammation, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe depression, watery discharge from eyes and nose, jaundice, swollen belly.

    Severe symptoms include bruised or reddened nose and mouth, red dots on the skin, seizures, and swelling of the neck, lymph nodes, and head.

  • Rabies: An infectious, zoonotic disease that transmits from animals to humans. Its fatality rate is high, with a nearly 100 percent chance of death once symptoms are noticeable.

    Symptoms include significant behavior changes like agitation, aggression, and suddenly becoming fearful. Other symptoms include biting, showing teeth, aggressive barking, and reacting violently for no reason. As rabies progresses, seizures, paralysis, and death will occur.

Depending on where you live, this list could be slightly different. For instance, California recommends adding the leptospirosis vaccine as a core vaccine. This immunization prevents leptospirosis, a disease that spreads through the soil, food, or bedding contaminated with the urine of an infected animal.

Ask your vet about which other vaccines are best for your dog after they've received vaccines for these life-threatening diseases. 

Vaccination Schedule for Puppies

But when should your puppy get their vaccinations? Puppies should get their first vaccinations between six to eight weeks old. You will need medical records for a newly adopted puppy so your vet can see which vaccinations your puppy has already received. These records will also determine when your puppy needs another immunization. 

Most vaccinations are given every two to four weeks until your dog is fully vaccinated. Depending on how old your puppy is, this could require three or four vaccinations for canine parvovirus until your puppy is 16 to 20 weeks old. If your dog is 16 weeks or older and isn't up-to-date on vaccinations, your vet may recommend a shorter series of shots. 


Then, your vet can recommend a vaccination schedule depending on the puppy's risk of certain diseases based on where you live and travel. Some areas require dogs to be vaccinated, especially for travel.

Check with your local laws and anywhere you're traveling with your dog to keep up with vaccinations. If you’re boarding your dog, you may have to adhere to the immunization requirements of certain facilities. 

How Porch Potty Can Help

How can Porch Potty help with immunizations? As stated above, a puppy should receive their first vaccinations between six to eight weeks.

Depending on the vet or shelter, puppies are typically ready for adoption between eight to nine weeks. Some say eight to 10 weeks is best to allow the puppy extra growing time. But, check with your vet or another animal professional for the specific puppy you want to adopt


The next round of immunizations that a puppy should receive is between nine to 11 weeks or 10 to 12 weeks, depending on what your vet thinks is best. Either way, you’ll need to get your puppy their next vaccinations within a week or two of adoption.

You may need to keep your puppy away from other dogs until they get their second round of vaccinations. If you're concerned about your puppy's health, you may want to avoid going to the dog park temporarily. 

With the Porch Potty, you can have the perfect in-between potty for your puppy. Not only will you keep them safe until their next vaccinations, but the Porch Potty is a great way to potty train your pup.

Even after your pup is immunized, the Porch Potty is a convenient potty to use throughout your dog's life. Don't want to get up at 2am to take them out? Your dog can walk themselves to the Porch Potty, or all you have to do is open your balcony door to let them out. Is your puppy easily distracted by other dogs? The Porch Potty gives them a private potty so you can properly housetrain them.  


The Porch Potty is never temporary because it's built to last, with the only replacement piece needed being the synthetic or natural sod surface. Every other part is ready to roll with your dog's lifetime of potty time.

Because the outer wicker-designed surface lasts so long, the Porch Potty outlives any of our cardboard competitors. For instance, did you know that you cannot recycle soiled cardboard? Meanwhile, the Porch Potty's durability makes it stand against weather and daily use that every dog can get out of it. 

Porch Potty is here for your puppy until they reach their senior dog years! For every potty training session, rainy day, middle of the night potty break, and more, Porch Potty will make your life as a dog parent much easier.

Spread the word about canine vaccinations to encourage your fellow pet parents to protect their pups from preventative diseases. Post online about your puppy's vaccination journey to educate those who may feel unsure about vaccinating their dogs. 

Find other creative ways to spread awareness, promote canine health, and encourage your community to live healthily with vaccinated pups! Have you gotten your pup or adult dog vaccinated? Let us know in our official Porch Potty Facebook group!

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