Puppy Vaccination Myths

puppy vaccines shotsIf you have a puppy, or are thinking or getting one soon, you probably know your puppy will need to receive a series of vaccinations to help protect it from diseases. There are some veterinarians who support early socialization and there are others who will discourage you from taking your dog out before vaccinations are complete. Both are right in their own respect but you need to make an educated choice when it comes to your puppy. Talk to your vet and do some research. Here are a couple myths relating to vaccines and some thoughts relating to them.

Myth: You can’t socialize your dog out until it’s had all its shots. (Or you can’t take your dog out until it’s completed its 16 week vaccinations)

Socializing is a misunderstood term, however its correct usage, in puppy training, is for the dog to have pleasant experiences with exposure to enough variety of different people, places and things such that it can generalize later in life. The period which this can truly be successfully completed is when the puppy is less than 13 weeks of age. The risk of a puppy being euthanized later for severe behavior problems due to fear or aggression issues is significantly greater than any risk of serious sickness due to exposure to disease if the socialization has been done in a careful manner. What’s more is that there are lots of things you can quite safely expose your dog to that are quite safe. You can invite friends over, walk in dog free environments and go to puppy class in a clean facility. A more detailed article on safe socialization is available here.

Myth: Your dog is safe from exposure to disease after it has had its second or third round of shots.

Vaccinations are given to provide an artificial or peripheral immunity to serious infectious disease as the puppy’s immune system is developing. The puppy’s systemic ability to develop immunity is influenced by several factors ranging from the amount of immune rich colostrum they receive from the mother’s milk they consume in the first 12-18 hours to the exact schedule and type of vaccinations they are given. Even those dogs on the “best, proper” schedule of vaccines have a brief window of susceptibility to disease, as the maternal immunity actually overrides and causes the vaccines they receive to be somewhat unusable to the body for a brief period.   Our trainer Janet wrote a great blog article on how vaccinations work which you can read for more details.

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