Vaccinating your puppy

Read time: 3 mins

08 Apr 2021

By Team Butternut Box


Puppies are usually safe from infections during their first few weeks because of the immunity that is passed to them from their mother’s milk. However, after this they will need vaccinating.

Many will have their first vaccination with the breeder when they are 6 weeks or older. This is then followed by a second vaccination 2-4 weeks later. 

Full immunity and protection takes about a week after the second injection, till then puppies can pick up disease from strange dogs or their poop in the park. But whilst you still need to be vigilant as to what you expose them to, you mustn’t stop socialising your puppy during this period. They can be carried with you, (even put in a buggy or carrier), so that they’ll still experience the sights and sounds they need to without risking picking up an infection. And even easier, you can invite friends with healthy, fully vaccinated, friendly adult dogs to your house, so your pup can socialise with them safely in your garden.

At the beginning of their lives, all animals go through what is known as a sensitive development or socialisation period. During this time, they encounter the world for the first time and learn to accept what they find. It is important, therefore, that an owner introduces their puppy to as much of their environment and lifestyle as possible. A puppy vaccination course should not be delayed and started at the earliest opportunity.

The ideal vaccination schedule:

Involves the breeder vaccinating their puppies at 6-10 weeks, and the second booster vaccination at 8-12 weeks with their breeder or new pet parent. 

This is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Your puppy’s first interaction at the vets (and maybe even their first ever outing in a car) is in the security and familiarity of their littermates and mother.  

  • It allows for an earlier second vaccination with the earliest possible onset of immunity.

  • This then allows for socialisation and training while still in their sensitive development period. Remember, puppies can interact with fully vaccinated and friendly dogs at any time.

Vaccination is one of the most common veterinary procedures undertaken in dogs. There’s no question that it plays an important role in preventing and controlling infectious diseases in the canine population. A vaccine works by stimulating the immune system so that it contains a blueprint of how to effectively respond should it be exposed to a given infection again in the future. So as not to actually cause disease in the dog, vaccines carry a modified or an inactivated version of the infectious agent.

In the UK, we routinely vaccinate all dogs against a handful of potentially lethal viruses that are still present in the canine population. The most important of these are canine parvovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, leptospirosis and hepatitis – long names for nasty complaints. Dogs also routinely receive vaccinations against the other diseases such as Bordatella (Kennel Cough) and Rabies, (if you want to travel abroad).

There are only rarely any immediate side effects of vaccination, your pup may just be a little sleepier than usual for twenty-four hours following it. 

Your pup will need their first booster vaccination at around twelve months old, but your vets should send you a reminder.