Monday, March 7, 2011

Vaccines, Puppies & Socialization

Since spring is on the way and many of my clients are getting puppies it's time to have a post about puppy vaccines and socialization. 

Many breeders choose to give the first vaccine between 6 and 8 weeks. Generally families choose to continue a 2nd or 3rd set of shots. This means that your puppy is only fully vaccinated after their window of socialization closes! Puppies who are kept away from other dogs and people during this time increases their risk of developing serious behaviour issues.

So what's a good puppy parent to do? Well it depends on who you ask. I chose to take my puppy Marco to many places throughout the city before he had finished his vaccine protocol (chosen by my vet and myself). Marco went to an off leash park in an area of the city that's not too busy and not associated with diseases such as Parvo or Distemper. It was a calculated risk. We also went to pet stores, transit stations, banks, friends' homes and on leash walks. I made sure to keep him away from feces. 

If you want to be a bit more cautious then attending puppy parties where all attendees have had their first set of shots at least 1 week before can be a great option. You can also call friends' with vaccinated dogs to come visit and take your puppy to them too. 

Also don't forget about the many puppy socialization classes in Calgary! Veternarians Margaret M. Duxbury DVM, DACVB and R.K. Anderson DVM, DACVPM, DACVB did a study over 3 years that included data from across the United States. This study showed that no cases of parvo-distemper dises in puppies attending specific early socialization classes. The puppies completed 22,147 weeks of puppy class exposure with no associated illness. So there`s no excuse not to get your puppy out there!

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