That look of betrayal your pets give you when they realize their ‘trip to the park’ is actually a visit to the vet! But it has to be done.

Pet vaccinations are vital to their good health, protecting them from diseases as well as passing on diseases to other animals and humans.

For new pet parents, vaccinating pets is the same way vaccinations work for people. A mild form of the disease is injected into your furbaby, just weak enough for their immune system to respond to the vaccine and create the specific antibodies needed to overcome it. This way, if and when your furbaby catches the disease, their body is already equipped with the right immune response to overcome it.

With that said, here are three crucial things to consider before giving them a vaccine:

  1. Make sure your furbaby is in good health: Fido and kitty are being introduced to a weakened version of a disease, so they have to be in good health in order to have a healthy immune response to the vaccine. If your pet’s health isn’t in tip top shape, it’s better to delay their vaccines until they’re well enough.
  2. The vaccine is age appropriate: Puppy vaccines differ from dog vaccines, and same goes for kittens and cats. Always consult with a trusted vet what vaccines are appropriate for your furbaby’s life stage.
  3. Vaccine History: Whether your pet is a rescue, baby, or adult, consider their vaccine history. Know what they’ve already been vaccinated for, what vaccines may need to be done again, and which ones are unnecessary.

While scheduling of vaccinations is best determined by a vet you trust, here are a few general things you can expect when it comes to giving your furbaby their shots.

1. Your vet will give core pet vaccines:

Core pet vaccines are vaccines administered to all pets that’s a standard in their repertoire of vaccinations. These are the set of vaccinations that your furbabies need to stay healthy.

 Core pet vaccines for cats would cover the following 4 diseases we certainly wouldn’t want our feline friends catching: 

  • Panleukopenia
  • Calicivirus
  • Rhinotracheitis (also known as feline herpesvirus)
  • Rabies

Core pet vaccines for dogs would protect our canine companions from the four most common diseases to dogs:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Adenovirus (Canine Hepatitis)


2. Your vet may suggest non-core pet vaccines

Non-core pet vaccines are additional vaccines you may consult with your vet about. These vaccines consider your pets breed, lifestyle, and what environment they are exposed to in order to determine whether or not specific non-core vaccines are necessary for your pet’s preventive health. Seeing as non-core vaccines aren’t guaranteed as effective as core vaccines, pet parents should be responsible and make an informed decision with a trusted vet.

Non-core pet vaccines for cats that vets may discuss with you include: 

  • Feline leukemia
  • Feline AIDS
  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica 

Non-core pet vaccines for dogs would cover diseases such as:

  • Bordetella
  • Lyme Disease
  • Leptospirosis 4-way (this is sometimes included in combination vaccines with core vaccines, but it is a non-core vaccine and should be considered separately)
  • Canine Influenza
  • Parainfluenza
  • Adenovirus Intranasal 

3. Your furbaby may feel under the weather

As vaccines are a weakened version of the virus, and your furbaby’s immune system is now working hard to create the antibodies for it, your furbaby may experience a mild fever, less energy, less appetite, and mild swelling at the site of injection. This is normal and should not last longer than two days. Call your vet immediately if you notice persistent vomiting or loose stools, severe coughing and sneezing, swelling in other areas that aren’t on the injection site, and collapse.

4. They will need follow up shots

Different types of vaccines, such as rabies, will be administered to your furbaby several times throughout their life to ensure lifetime immunity. Always be sure to have your pets full vaccination history ready for reference before administering more vaccines. Vaccinating furbabies with vaccines they’ve already had and don’t require another one doesn’t make them ‘more immune’ to the disease. To keep track of vaccination dates, vaccination history, and overall health pawfile of your furbaby, get organized. Download the bow & wow mobile app (Android) (IOS) and keep all this important information conveniently stored in one place.

So grab their favorite comforts, and bring them to the car under whatever pretense you make them believe, and schedule your furbaby some mandatory vet visits that will help ensure  them a healthy life. All well meaning pet parents know that love comes in many forms, even if that form is a needle!