Puppy Vaccination FAQ and Schedules

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

The following are some of the most common vaccines given to dogs:

Vaccines for Dogs:

Dogs need 2 vaccinations (or 3 if they’re older) before going out into public. These two shots must be done within 6 months of each other. You will have to choose which one you want to get done first. If your vet does not offer both, ask them what’s best for your pet!

If you don’t want to do either of these, then here are some things to consider:

You can skip the first round of shots altogether. That way your dog doesn’t have to go through the hassle of getting vaccinated again when it comes time for him or her to enter a new environment. Some vets may recommend doing this, but I would never suggest skipping vaccinations just because you think it’ll make your life easier later on down the road.

You can wait until after the second round of shots to give your dog its last shot. This gives you time to take extra precautions against any possible disease outbreaks in the future. Your vet may even tell you that you shouldn’t worry about vaccinating your dog anymore since there’s no reason why your dog should catch anything from another animal that might come into contact with it anyway. However, this isn’t necessarily true and I’d still strongly advise giving your dog all three shots.

Vaccination for Canine Parvovirus:

Canine parvovirus is a common virus that can be deadly to your dog if it hasn’t had its shots. It’s fairly easy to pick up when out and about so you should try to avoid walk-throughs at parks, pet stores, or anywhere else that may attract other dogs.

The symptoms of parvo are pretty easy to spot. The most common ones are:

Signs of illness (loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting)

Bloody diarrhea

Dehydration (this is particularly dangerous–if your dog isn’t responding well to the other symptoms, take it to the emergency room immediately!)

Vaccination for Canine Distemper:

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Canine distemper is another deadly virus that’s fairly common. It’s also airborne so it can spread a lot more quickly than parvovirus. Thankfully, your dog is most likely not going to come into contact with this one very often so the most you’ll probably have to worry about is taking your dog in for its regular shots every year.

If your dog does happen to get distemper, the symptoms are similar to parvo in that there isn’t going to be a whole lot of warning before it becomes really life-threatening. The most common symptoms are:


Severely watery/bloody diarrhea


Wounds or sores that won’t heal

Disorientation and lack of awareness to its surroundings (this is especially dangerous if you have a puppy since it may not be able to find its way back home)

Note: Sometimes the vaccine for canine distemper doesn’t work, so it’s important to take note of your dog’s behavior and surroundings so that you know instantly if it comes in contact with the virus.

If your dog happens to come in contact with or get sick within a week of its vaccination, take it back to the vet immediately. There’s also a vaccine against kennel cough that your dog will most likely have to have as well. It may or may not be combined with the distemper vaccine since this affects the respiratory system rather than the digestive one.

The symptoms of kennel cough are:

Runny nose

Often caught in the throat (this causes a “honking” cough that can last for several weeks)

High fever

If your dog has kennel cough, take it to the vet right away since it’s highly contagious to other dogs and even YOU. If you start coughing really hard, it can also cause your dog to catch it as well.

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As long as you keep your eyes open for these symptoms and take your dog in for its regular vaccinations, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about canine diseases.

5. What to do if Your Dog Gets Lost

Dogs never fail to amaze me when it comes to their uncanny sense of direction. I’ve had many people tell me stories about how their dogs have managed to find their way home even after being lost for several months.

So, if your dog does manage to get out and get lost (or runs away on purpose), don’t despair just yet. There’s still a chance you’ll get it back.

Your first step is going to be making a lot of noise and trying to attract attention. Hopefully someone will see your dog and be able to catch it. Also, put up flyers (either printed from the internet or made using boxes) in the area where your dog escaped. Include a picture and a contact number.

If your dog does manage to find its way home, great! If not, then it’s going to be up to you to try to track it down. There are two options here: putting up more flyers or hiring a professional.

Option One: Putting up more flyers

This is probably the cheapest option, but it also has a very low success rate. Most of the time when people find runaway dogs, they contact the owners directly and only call the police or animal control as a last resort. Since you want to increase your chances of getting your dog back, calling the police is definitely something you want to do right away.

If you already talked to the police when you lost your dog and they didn’t offer to help, then you’ll have to do it yourself. Just explain the situation to the 911 operator and they should send someone out to take a report. This really helps because then all police officers in the area should be on the lookout for your dog and the information will be easily accessible to all animal control offices in the area.

After you’ve done this, it’s time to put up more flyers. You can either print out some online and post them up or check with local businesses if you can put some up in their windows. If you decide to do it yourself, just make sure you’re consistent with the information on the flyer. Have the same picture of your dog, contact information, and a statement of what your dog is wearing.

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You’ll definitely need someone else to proofread what you’ve written though since missing capitalization, misspelled words, or other mistakes like that can decrease the chance of finding your dog.

Option Two: Hiring a professional

Although this option costs money, it’s probably your best bet for getting your dog back in the shortest time possible. Check the yellow pages under “animal shelters” and call a few of them to get prices on what it would cost to hire them. Most of them should offer a free inspection to see if there’s anything specific you need to do on your property to make it easier for them to catch your dog. Be sure to tell them exactly what your dog is wearing (especially collar and tag information) since this can help them identify it.

Once they’ve assessed the situation, they’ll give you options on how to get your dog back with least amount of danger.

Good luck and keep your fingers crossed!

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