Your Puppy, Vaccinations, And The Law
If you are just beginning your journey of owning a dog for the first time, you likely are full of questions. While you’re likely already knowledgeable about how to feed and bathe your canine and complete other general necessary tasks, many individuals are uncertain about vaccinations. Are vaccinations actually vital to the health of your dog, or is that overplayed by veterinarians looking to make an extra dollar? Are vaccinations voluntary, or are there any vaccines that are legally required by law? Are there any risks involved with giving a dog a vaccination, and if so, what are they? If you have asked yourself some of these questions, you are not alone. Continue reading to learn more about nature’s form of vaccination, how the law comes into play, and just how important certain vaccines can be:
The Natural Vaccine of “Passive Immunity”
When dogs are in the early stages of their lives as puppies, they receive necessary sustenance to survive from the milk of their mother. A puppy will normally continue this way (and will not eat any other form of solid food) until at least four weeks of age, but nature has instilled this need in a puppy for a more important reason than simple digestion issues.
Contained within the milk of puppy’s mother is a natural vaccine—an overabundance of antibodies and white blood cells that greatly enhance the dog’s health. Since young puppies do not have completely developed immune systems at birth, this passive immunity (the important antibodies passed on through the milk) is vital to the developing health of your dog.
Medical Vaccines and the Law
Although some vaccines are voluntary, the rabies vaccine is required by law. Since rabies is a dangerous disease that can spread between animals and even affect humans, American states have placed great importance on vaccinating your dog against the virus. Each state has different laws that govern how often the rabies vaccine must be administered, so be sure to become familiar with your state’s regulations to be as prepared as possible.
The Importance of Vaccines
While many pet owners worry about the potential side effects that a vaccine may have on their pet, the majority of side effects a pet receives (if any) are very mild. In addition to slight discomfort near the skin where the shot was administered, your dog may experience a low fever or decreased appetite for up to two days.
If you suspect that your dog may be having an allergic reaction to an administered vaccine (signified by symptoms like swelling, coughing, or ongoing vomiting), contact your veterinarian, such as at Basking Ridge Animal Hospital, for assistance.