Why does my puppy need to be vaccinated?
It’s important that you keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date, not only to maintain their health but also because vaccinations are normally required in order for your pet insurance to be valid. Insurers can refuse to pay out your claim if your dog’s vaccinations aren’t up to date. You’ll also find that most kennels won’t accept dogs if their injections are overdue because they are more prone to catching and spreading diseases.
The primary course of vaccinations will protect your puppy against:
- Leptospirosis – this disease is less common in the UK than other countries but if contracted, it can cause fatal kidney and liver damage.
- Infectious canine hepatitis – infectious canine hepatitis is spread through the puppies ingesting infected urine, faeces and saliva and causes high fever, loss of appetite, bleeding problems and liver damage.
- Canine distemper – canine distemper disease is also highly contagious and sometimes fatal. It mostly affects the gastrointestinal, respiratory and nervous symptoms and starts with a fever. It’s an airborne infection and vaccinating your dog is the only way to contain the spread of the disease.
- Canine parvovirus – this is a potentially deadly disease that is widespread and contagious. It spreads through contact with infected faeces. Common symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and loss of appetite. Dogs with canine parvovirus normally require intensive veterinary treatment so vaccines are essential to control the spread of the disease.
Some dogs also require kennel cough and rabies vaccines depending on their lifestyle.
- Rabies – a legal requirement if you’re taking your dog abroad.
- Kennel cough – recommended if your dog mixes with lots of other dogs, or has existing health conditions that could make kennel cough more serious. This vaccine is usually required if your dog spends time in kennels, attends dog shows or has a dog walker.
Common side effects
It’s normal for your dog to experience some side effects after they’ve been vaccinated. Here are some common side effects that you might notice. These side effects tend to last a few days and disappear without needing treatment:
- Mild swelling around the vaccine area
- Low energy
- Eating less
Less common side effects
If your puppy starts experiencing some of these less common side effects, you should monitor them and contact your vet if their condition starts worsening or they experience side effects for more than 24 – 48 hours.
- Itchy skin
Very rare side effects
In extremely rare circumstances, vaccines can cause severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. You need to take your dog to the vets urgently if they are experiencing any of the below after a vaccination. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Swelling anywhere on the body
- Pounding heartbeat
- Cold ears, legs and feet
- Difficulty breathing
The cost of vaccinations varies depending on where you live and the veterinary practice you take your puppy to. If you want to get an accurate cost ahead of the appointment, you should ring your vet first and ask them to confirm the price.
Pet insurance does not cover the cost of routine treatment, including vaccinations so you will not be able to claim any money back from your insurer, but there are healthcare plans available to help spread the cost. A fully comprehensive healthcare plan will cost you between £12 – £26 a month depending on the size of your dog and provides your dog with year round flea treatment, worm treatment, annual vaccinations, discounts off neutering, discounts off microchipping and more. You might find that it’s a great way to spread the cost of maintaining your dog’s health each year, rather than paying for each treatment upfront.
Your vet will be able to advise on when you can start taking your puppy outside after their vaccinations. You might be tempted to take them out straight away but it’s important that you follow your vet’s advice.
Have you thought about pet insurance for your puppy? There’s no NHS for pets so if your dog suffers from an accident or injury that results in a trip to the vets, you’ll be left to foot the bill and vet fees can rise at a considerable rate, particularly if your dog needs surgery or repeat medication. A puppy insurance policy can help alleviate some of the financial stress associated with being a dog owner, but you need to consider your options carefully.
We don’t believe that comparing pet insurance based on price alone will result in you picking the best policy for your pet. Cheap policies often come with minimal cover, but most people only realise that their policy is inadequate when it’s too late. We recommend that you take the time to compare policy benefits as well as reading insurer’s reviews to get an idea of how they treat their customers. The last thing you want to do is purchase a policy from a provider that is known to avoid paying out claims. Our comparison table highlights insurers that provide excellent policies and deliver exceptional customer service.
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