Vaccinations and microchipping
Two of the most important first steps after adopting a dog or puppy are ensuring they have the correct vaccinations and that they’re microchipped.
If you’re adopting a dog or puppy from a reputable animal shelter or breeder, they’ll likely have been vaccinated and microchipped before you take them home, though you may need to pay a small fee to cover these costs.
Why do dogs need vaccinating?
When puppies are born they’re normally protected from infection by the antibodies in their mother’s milk. This only lasts a few weeks, however, so they need vaccinating from an early age to help protect against serious illnesses.
Vaccinations contain a very weak version of different diseases, to train your dog’s antibodies to fight them off. Diseases they protect dogs from include:
- Parvovirus (viral intestinal infection)
- Canine distemper
- Infectious canine hepatitis
- Leptospirosis (canine version of Weil’s disease)
Vaccinations are also required by most kennels if you want to leave your pet there while you go on holiday.
When should puppies be vaccinated?
Puppies are particularly susceptible to parvovirus and canine distemper, so they need their vaccinations early on. They can begin their vaccinations any time from eight weeks old.
They will need another set of injections around two weeks to a month after the first set. If you’re adopting your puppy from a dog shelter, they may have already vaccinated your puppy, but you should confirm this before taking your puppy home.
Make sure not to mix your puppy with any unvaccinated dogs until around two weeks after their second set of injections, so you can ensure they’re fully protected.
When should your dog be microchipped?
It is now mandatory for all dog breeders or owners to have puppies microchipped by 8 weeks old, with details logged on databases such as Petlog.
The procedure is straightforward, and your dog won't even be aware the chip is there once it’s been inserted.
Why should you microchip your dog?
Microchipping is the best way to identify a lost dog, or a dog that’s been injured in an accident. It gives you a better chance of being reunited with them than a collar identification tag, which can fall off, break or be removed.
How does microchipping work?
A tiny microchip about the size of a large grain of rice is inserted under the dog’s skin. This gives them their own unique 15-digit code. The chip can be scanned by a vet or animal welfare officer and matched to the owner’s contact details, which are then found on the database.
If you adopt a dog or puppy from an animal charity, they will usually already be vaccinated and microchipped before you take them home, but this should always be confirmed during the adoption process.
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