Now that you have your new puppy, you are about to embark upon a fun, adventurous and sometimes stressful, journey. But no worries! We are here for you every step of the way. There are many things you need to know and consider that you may not have even thought about yet. For example, did you know that pets, both dogs and cats, must be registered with the City and have a Pet Licence tag that must be worn while off your property? If your pet, by any chance, manages to escape your property, having a pet licence tag on him will help for his quick return home when he is found.

Another very important thing to understand is your pet’s vaccination schedule.  I know, many people are on the fence when it comes to vaccinating their pets, and that’s ok. Your pet should at least have the minimum which is required by law, the Rabies vaccine.  Your veterinarian will definitely guide you through your puppy’s vaccination schedule, but here I will give you a general idea of what to expect.

Recommended Vaccines*

Over the first four and a half months of your puppy’s life, he will need a series of vaccines that will protect him and build his immune system. It is recommended that until your puppy has completed this series of vaccines that you keep him away from areas of high dog traffic, such as dog parks or puppy training classes.

DHPP- These vaccines are referred to as DHPP or DA2PP, which stands for Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis caused by Adenovirus (2), Canine Para Influenza and Canine Parvovirus (Parvo).  They protect your puppy from serious viruses and are given at 3 different times.

The first DHPP dose is given around 8 weeks of age. The two following doses are boosters, given at around 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. The last dose will be done between 12 months and 16 months of age. This vaccine will then be given every 1 – 2 years.

Rabies – Given around 16-18 weeks of age, 12 months of age, and then every 1 – 3 years.

Since Rabies is such a fatal disease commonly carried by foxes and bats, which are becoming more and more familiar with city life, this is the one vaccine that the City by-laws require your dog to have.

Your veterinarian will generally try not to give the Rabies vaccine with the final DHPP booster in order to not stress the immune system.

Optional Vaccines

Bordetella (Canine Cough/Kennel cough)

Although this is an optional vaccine, I highly recommend it, especially if you plan to visit dog parks, send your dog to doggie day care or if you just live in the city. Kennel cough is highly contagious and your pup can easily pick up the disease while out on a walk with you. They are curious little creatures and love to sniff and lick everything!

Other optional vaccines include: Influenza, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and Coronavirus

What If I Don’t Want to Vaccinate My Puppy?

Now, I understand the many concerns some people have around vaccines and how they can compromise their pet’s immune system.  Another option is to have a Titer test done to measure your dog’s immunity levels.** This will help to determine what vaccines your dog may or may not need according to his immune system. One thing to keep in mind with this alternative is that it may not be accepted in some places (such as a doggie daycare) in place of proof of vaccination.

Your puppy’s first year is full of learning and exploring and we are here to support you. For more information and support on this journey, please check out our new Your Perfect Pet Consulting Service.

*These are guidelines. Please seek and take direction from your veterinarian.

**Please note that Titer testing may not be available for Rabies. Please check with your Veterinarian for more information on Titer testing.

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