Puppies bring us so much joy, and there is little better than bringing your new best friend home for the first time. From that gorgeous puppy smell to the way they are just starting to explore the world, they have so much more to offer than we could imagine.
They are as much a part of our families as any human, and we watch them grow in much the same way we would a child – which is why they deserve equal protection. In order to keep them happy, healthy, and safe, it is very important that you take the time to get your puppy vaccinated, and it is not something that you will regret.
Of course, we also understand that puppy parenting can be a little daunting to enter, and so we have compiled a little article that gives you all the information you will ever need with regards to your puppy’s vaccination schedule, as well as why they are such an essential thing.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule UK
Every country has a different schedule for determining when a puppy should be vaccinated. Just like the others, the UK has its own timetable that you should follow. You may notice that there are less vaccines in the UK when compared to other countries, and this is because we don’t need to worry about diseases like rabies.
This is especially true when it comes to places like the USA where there are four vaccines for puppies between the age of 6 and 16 weeks of age. Here is a rundown of the UK puppy vaccine schedule for you to look at, as well as a comparison to the US schedule.
When Do Puppies Need Their Vaccinations?
As puppies are very much at risk of contracting potentially deadly diseases, they need their vaccines before they can come into contact with unvaccinated dogs and the outside world.
Much like with humans, vaccines create herd immunity, which means that those who have been vaccinated aren’t able to pass diseases on to those who cannot be vaccinated (for medical reasons) or are due to receive them.
In the UK, puppies will receive their first vaccine at 8 weeks old. If you are buying a puppy, they should have had their first jab before you pick them up, and there are some breeders that might have them inoculated at around 7 weeks old instead. This is perfectly normal, and not something to worry about.
After their first set of injections, they will need the second bunch between two and four weeks after. It is this vaccine that will allow them to go on walks and potentially meet unvaccinated dogs without any risk of them contracting things like parvovirus.
Once they can go outside and explore, it is important that they have as many good and new experiences as possible so that they grow into happy and well-rounded adults.
Once they reach adulthood, they will also need booster vaccinations over the course of their life, and the time frames are as follows:
- Distemper, parvovirus, and canine hepatitis every three years.
- Leptospirosis every year.
Many vets recommend that you get your dog protected against kennel cough, which can be pretty nasty if caught. This is especially important if your dog is going to be staying in kennels or going places like Crufts, as locations like this are a kennel cough hotspot.
If you want to take your dog with you on holiday, they will require additional vaccinations for things like rabies, and it is a requirement if you want them to get a passport so that they can travel overseas.
While rabies is not an issue in the UK, it is in many other countries, and the vaccination is the best way to ensure that it doesn’t make its way back here at any point. Of course, vaccines vary from country to country, so check with your vet before you make plans to travel.
As a side note, it is really important that you get your puppy from a responsible breeder. You should be able to see the health tests for both parents, and the mother should be with the puppies when you go to meet them.
Often, the Kennel Club puppy finder service is the best way to find a new family member without risking things like backyard breeders and puppy farms.
Puppy farm dogs are more likely to contract fatal illnesses quickly after you buy them due to the horrific conditions that they are kept in. The reputable and trusted breeder that you purchase the puppy from should be able to prove that they have been vaccinated and checked over by a vet.
Puppy Vaccination Prices
This tends to vary a lot, as the price for vaccinations can actually depend largely on your vet and how much they charge for the inoculations. When I took my dog to have his second batch of vaccines two years ago, it was £33. However, I know that other people have spent up to £60, and some have ended up spending less than £30.
It should be noted that the price isn’t everything when it comes to a vaccine. Always make sure that you are comfortable with the vet and the practice before you get your puppy inoculated.
If you don’t like where you are, there is always the choice to find a different vet for your pup. Just because a place is cheap, doesn’t always mean they will treat your pet well – and the same goes for the pricier practices too.
If you want to be really prepared, you can even call up a few practices in advance so that you have a list of prices before you get your puppy. That way, you also get a feel for what they are like and which one is going to suit your needs best.
Why Do Puppies Need Vaccinations?
The vaccinations that your puppy receives will protect them against a number of diseases that could threaten their life. This is why it is so important to ensure that they are vaccinated when they come of age, allowing them to live a life free from the risk of these severe illnesses.
Here is some detailed information about each of the diseases the vaccine protects against to give you more information.
This is also known as Parvo, and it is an aggressive and highly contagious virus that begins by attacking the intestines. It is commonly spread through infected faeces, but the virus is also able to live on shoes, clothes, and floors for months. Unfortunately, it is still quite common in the UK.
Unfortunately, this is an illness that has no cure. It is possible for a dog to recover, and the only thing that a vet can do is help to treat the symptoms and stop them from catching other infections.
They are often put on a drip to prevent dehydration, and medication will be given to stop them from being sick. Without treatment, 90% of cases are fatal, and puppies are even more at risk.
Symptoms of Parvo:
- Severe vomiting
- extreme and bloody diarrhoea
This is also a highly contagious virus, and one that will attack the lymph nodes in dogs before moving onto the respiratory, urinary, digestive, and nervous system. Thankfully, it is very rare to see an outbreak in the UK as vaccinations have been so effective at eliminating it.
However, it can be brought in from outside the UK, and so ensuring your puppy is protected is essential. The virus tends to be passed through saliva, blood, and urine, and it is an illness that can also be passed to and from ferrets as well as foxes.
Sadly, there is no cure for distemper at this time, and even with the right treatment, there tends to be a 50% chance of survival for dogs who become infected. Your vet will manage their symptoms, keep them in isolation (to prevent the spread of infection), and also give them medication to prevent seizures.
Symptoms of Canine Distemper:
- watery discharge from the nose and eyes
- reddened eyes
- a high fever
- persistent coughing
It can also cause the pads of your dog’s paws to harden, as well as the nose.
This is also known as Lepto, and it is a bacterial infection that attacks the nervous system as well as the organs. It is a disease that can affect many different animals, and even people, and the two most common strains are carried by rats and dogs. The way it is spread is through infected rat urine and contaminated water, putting dogs that play in stagnant water or canals at great risk.
If a dog becomes infected, they can be treated with antibiotics, as well as supportive treatments like a drip to keep them hydrated as well as manage the symptoms. For dogs with mild symptoms, recovery is very probable, but severe cases can be fatal, even with the best treatment, and that goes for humans as well.
Symptoms of Lepto:
- muscle tremors
- increased thirst
- breathing difficulties
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)
This is a viral disease that targets the liver, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessel linings. It is a viral disease that can be spread through the bodily fluids of infected dogs. It is able to live in the environment for up to a year, and can spread incredibly quickly.
There is no current cure for ICH, and it is a very deadly virus that, once symptoms are severe, is often fatal. However, when caught early and with mild symptoms, the chances of recovery are much better. The only treatment is the management of symptoms, like having a drip to keep them hydrated. Once a dog has recovered from this illness, they may have to go on a special diet.
Symptoms of ICH:
- abdominal pain
Puppy Worming Schedule
This is just as important as vaccinating them, as worms can cause multiple health issues or even prove fatal to your canine companion. As a result, you should make sure that they are wormed on a regular basis, and also ensure that the breeder you are purchasing the puppy from has stuck to a clear schedule.
Most will be happy to share this information with you, and we have created a little table to show you when puppies should be wormed so that you have a good idea of how regularly it needs to happen. Of course, some may deviate a little from this, but as long as they are being wormed properly, it shouldn’t matter too much.
Age for Worming
Once your dog has passed the one-year mark, they should be wormed every three months on average. Of course, this can also depend on the treatment that they are given. Some may require monthly application, whereas others could last as long as six months. Be sure to consult with your vet and determine which method is going to work best for your pup.
Hopefully, this has given you a good idea of what the vaccination process entails and what your puppy needs to be protected against when you get them home. It is our job to care for them and protect them, and so getting them vaccinated on time (and keeping up with the boosters) is the best way to ensure that they are kept as healthy and safe as possible when they are in your care.
If you ever feel concerned about the vaccines or any potential side effects, always speak to your vet about your concerns. They are able to give you expert advice and can even send you to reputable and academic sources of information to ease your mind.
What did you think of our puppy vaccination guide? Did it give you all the information you needed, or are there still areas that you could use a little more information on? We love hearing from you, so please don’t be afraid to leave us a message in the comments below.