Did you know that newborn puppies receive disease-fighting antibodies through their mother’s milk? But what happens after the few weeks of their life? Well, now you as their owner should assume the role of their mother.

To ensure your friend gets the protection they need, you need to give him nutritious food, mental stimulation, plenty of attention, a safe home, and of course, proper veterinary care. And proper veterinary care includes regular puppy vaccinations throughout their first year.

From cost and schedule to pet insurance and types of vaccinations, here’s everything you should know about puppy vaccinations!

Why Should I Vaccinate My Puppy?

Because vaccinations can prevent the most serious canine diseases. Some of these diseases can cause serious health problems to your puppy, including pain, discomfort, and potentially death.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) divides recommended dog vaccinations into “core” and “non-core” puppy vaccines.

Core vaccines are puppy vaccines for three life-threatening diseases that might have serious health consequences for your dog. Most vets give these vaccines in a single shot called the C3 vaccination. All dogs, regardless of their breed or place of living, must receive the C3 vaccine.

Non-core vaccines are based on the lifestyle of the pup, and help prevent against diseases that are less severe.

The ‘core’ puppy vaccines include:

  • Canine distemper virus. This is a virus that has no known cure. It attacks the respiratory system, as well as the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Canine hepatitis. This is an infectious disease that affects puppies less than two years old. It attacks the liver and kidneys, resulting in jaundice, loss of appetite and bleeding disorders.
  • Canine parvovirus. This is a contagious viral disease that can have serious consequences for puppies. It lives in the faeces of infected dogs and attacks the digestive system, bone marrow, and immune system.

The “non-core” puppy vaccinations include:

  • Parainfluenza virus. The virus is one of the main causes of kennel cough. It attacks the respiratory system and can be devastating to puppies with a weak immune system.
  • Bortedella bronchiseptica. This is a bacterial disease that is spread via infected urine or contaminated water. The disease is not life-threatening and it’s another cause of kennel cough.
  • Leptospira interrogans. A serious infection that can cause bacterial infection of the blood. It’s spread through the urine of wild animals and through water that carries the urine.
photo by Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

What are the Main Differences Between C3, C4, and C5 Puppy Vaccinations?

These are the major differences you should be aware of:

  • C3: the C3 vaccine is an injection that contains all three core vaccines.
  • C4: a combination of the C3 vaccine and medication for the parainfluenza virus.
  • C5: the C3 plus a second medication that combines both the parainfluenza and Bortedella bronchiseptica vaccines.

When do Puppies Need Vaccinations?

Your vet will advise you on the dog vaccinations that your puppy needs. This depends on a wide range of factors, such as your country and whether you have other pets in your home.

In general, puppies should receive their first vaccinations between six and eight weeks of age. Then they are repeated every three to four weeks until the puppy reaches four months of age.

It usually takes about five to ten days for a vaccine to become effective. The vet might give your puppy a booster vaccine if they are unsure whether the puppy still has maternal antibodies. True immunity is uncertain until the puppy is four months of age, or until the completion of all puppy boosters.

It’s also advised to keep your puppy safely at home and avoid him being in close contact with other dogs until he has had all the vaccinations.

What is the Ideal Puppy Vaccination Schedule?

The most important thing you should know is that one unified puppy vaccination schedule doesn’t exist. As we’ve previously mentioned, there are other factors at play, such as your country of residence, your dog’s individual risk factors, and whether you have other pets at your home.

You and your vet will discuss the ideal vaccination schedule for your puppy at your first veterinary exam. That said, here is a generally accepted guideline of the puppy vaccination schedule for the first year.

First vaccinations: 6-8 weeks of age

Second vaccinations: 10-12 weeks of age

Final dose: at least 16 weeks of age

It’s important to allow at least four weeks between each round of vaccination. Also, make sure you give your pup the final round of vaccination no earlier than the age of 16 weeks. That’s when your puppy’s immune system is capable of responding to the vaccine. After your dog has received all required vaccinations, he can socialise freely and enjoy the outside world.

Photo by ASIC

What is the Cost of Puppy Vaccinations in Australia?

The cost of puppy vaccination in Australia depends on several factors. For example, the cost of puppy vaccines tends to be higher in urban areas than in rural. According to a research by the RSPCA, the average cost of puppy vaccinations in Australia is the following:

  • Puppy vaccinations for the first year: $170-$250
  • Annual vaccinations and veterinary check: $90

Does Pet Insurance Cover Puppy Vaccination?

Although there are different types of pet insurance packages, most of the them cover:

  • Harm or injuries caused by accident.
  • Vet costs for accidents and illnesses. A vet must diagnose the illness that can include cancer, infectious diseases, hereditary diseases, and skin conditions.
  • Costs for accidents and illnesses, as well as routine vaccinations, worming treatments, de-sexing, dental care, and behavioral therapy training classes.

A Healthy Pup is a Happy Pup

The first year is the most important year for you and your pup. These are his formative years when he’s meeting his human family, learning how to socialize with the outside world, and getting his first vaccinations to stay healthy and strong.

If you take proper care of your puppy, he will give you all the love in the world. He’ll be your most loyal companion, sticking with you through thick and thin. Or as someone once said:

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad”.

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