A dog receiving vaccinations

Keep your dog healthy with dog and puppy vaccinations

A healthy dog is a happy dog – and happy pets mean happy owners! When it comes to the health and wellbeing of your dog or puppy, prevention is better than cure. And there’s no better way to protect your pooch against illness than by getting them vaccinated – and, of course, keeping them up to date with their booster injections each year!

What vaccinations does my dog or puppy need?

As a responsible dog lover, you’ll do all you can to keep your dog fit and healthy. Vaccinations are an effective and affordable way to do this. 

Your local vet is your best source of information about the vaccinations available to protect your dog or puppy, and how often these are needed. Generally, your vet will recommend routine injections against a range of infectious conditions and diseases, including:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus 
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH)
  • Canine parainfluenza

Canine distemper is a highly infectious virus that can attack your dog’s lymph nodes and his respiratory, urinary, digestive, and nervous systems. It’s relatively uncommon in the UK, but its contagious nature and lack of cure means it’s vital to protect your puppy or dog from this serious condition. 

Canine parvovirus, sometimes known as parvo, is a common, highly contagious and serious illness that attacks the lining of the intestines. Vets can treat the symptoms of parvo in your dog, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, but there is no known cure. 

Leptospirosis, sometimes called lepto, is a bacterial infection spread through infected rat urine and contaminated water. It can be treated and managed with antibiotics, but severe cases can be fatal.

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is an incurable viral disease, spread through the bodily fluids of infected dogs. In severe cases ICH can cause jaundice, liver failure, seizures or coma, and can even be fatal.

Kennel cough vaccinations 

Your local vet can also provide a vaccination for kennel cough – also known as infectious tracheobronchitis. All dogs should be vaccinated against kennel cough, and it’s vital to keep your dog up-to-date with boosters. It’s important to note that most boarding kennels insist your dog is up-to-date with their kennel cough booster, which are nasal applications, so plan ahead if you’re organising a trip without your dog or puppy.

Protect your puppy

Puppies and younger dogs are particularly vulnerable to diseases like canine distemper and parvovirus due to their immature immune system, so it’s vital to get them vaccinated early. Puppy injections start when your new dog is just eight weeks old – in some cases even earlier for parvovirus – with further injections around two to four weeks later (please check with your vet as to the best schedule for your puppy).

All reputable breeders and rehoming centres arrange for their puppies to start vaccinations before they leave for their new homes. As the new owner, you may need to arrange follow-up injections to keep your puppy healthy and protected. Talk to your vet for advice.

It’s important to keep your new puppy indoors and away from unvaccinated dogs until they’re fully protected – normally two weeks after their booster shots. 

I’m travelling abroad. Does my dog need injections? 

Just like us, your puppy or dog needs vaccinations before travelling abroad, and will need to be up-to-date with their injections before they can get a pet passport. 

The injections your dog needs to travel vary from country to country, but most dogs need a rabies vaccination before travelling abroad.

Got questions about dog vaccinations? 

If you’ve any questions about the best injections to protect your puppy or dog, just call or visit your local vet. They’ll be happy to advise you on the cost of dog vaccinations, and the best way to keep your dog happy and healthy. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.

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