Vaccinations stimulate your dog’s immune system, so that if they come into contact with certain diseases, they have the best possible chance of fighting the disease and/or reducing the severity of the symptoms.
Puppies and dogs can be vaccinated against diseases such as Distempter, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Kennel Cough. Some of these diseases can be passed on from infected dogs and foxes and even healthy looking dogs could be harbouring the diseases.
A puppy vaccination course is normally given as two injections, between 2 and 4 weeks apart; the first at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and the second at 10 to 12 weeks of age. The puppy is considered to be protected 14 days after the second vaccination and should not be allowed down on the ground in public places until then. Dogs should have a yearly booster, the first booster at a year of age is particularly important.
The most important period for socialisation of puppies is prior to 16 weeks. In the weeks before your pet’s second vaccination, you should make every effort to introduce him/her to the world – traffic, people, sights and sounds. The more your pet encounters, the less likely he/she will be nervous later on. Carry your pet everywhere, if he/she is too heavy, find somewhere to sit with him/her on your lap. Supermarkets and schools are excellent places to socialise. Get your pet used to car travel by frequent short trips (most pups are car sick initially).
Kennel cough is an airway infection that causes a dry hacking cough in dogs. Similar to human colds, kennel cough can be caused by a number of different germs (viruses and bacteria). It’s most common in areas where lots of different dogs gather (such as kennels, dog shows, walking with other dogs and doggy day care) and can survive in the environment for several weeks. Kennel cough spreads by direct contact between dogs, in the air and on surfaces (such as food bowls and leads). Dogs with kennel cough should be kept away from other dogs and public spaces while they are coughing, and for two to three weeks afterwards.
Coughing is the most common symptom of kennel cough, but in more severe cases, it can cause symptoms such as a high temperature or a reduced appetite.