1. Vaccinate Once At 16 Weeks
We all want our new puppies to be protected from infectious disease, but it’s important to know that vaccines can be just as harmful to your dog and can cause a wide range of health problems, from minor fever to respiratory diseases to cancer.

The average puppy is vaccinated with parvo, distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza. Many vets recommend the first set at 8 weeks then 1 or 2 boosters in the weeks that follow. If you have the ability, skip this schedule and vaccinate once at 16 weeks, then don’t do it again.

Why? Vaccines work by introducing the disease to your dog’s immune system. It’s the disease on a very low level, but the disease nonetheless. These disease cells force the body to recognize invaders and put up a fight. However, your dog can actually build up a natural immunity that’s just as strong (or stronger) without the vaccines.

If you do opt for a minimal vaccine schedule, be careful about where you take him until he’s 16 weeks, just like you would a vaccinated puppy. Besides, he might be safer this way because vaccines suppress the immune system for at least 10 days afterward, making your puppy potentially MORE likely to pick up disease from puppy class or the dog park.

If your new puppy is already vaccinated when you get him, titer test BEFORE doing another vaccine. You might be surprised to see he’s already protected.

If you take him to the vet, carry him in and out and ask for the first appointment of the day when everything is clean and safest. You don’t want the appointment after they see a puppy with parvo or in the evening when all the day’s germs are floating around.

If your new puppy is already vaccinated when you get him, titer test BEFORE doing another vaccine. You might be surprised to see he’s already protected.

Titer testing uses the IgG class of immunoglobulin antibody measure antibody levels in the blood and show if there are protective levels of the antibody against the virus in your dog’s body.

There are two cost-effective tests you can use to test immunity:

TiterCHEK offers testing for distemper and parvovirus with results shown as positive or negative.
VacciCheck offers testing for adenovirus, distemper and parvovirus with results shown as negative, low positive, significant positive or high positive.
Many clinics offer these tests in-house, but if your vet doesn’t, you can coordinate with your vet and use Hemopet.

If your puppy has already been vaccinated, you can give him a supplement that’s designed to combat the effects of vaccination. This will help his immune system recover and help stop any adverse reactions if possible.