Don’t Take Your Puppy Out for Walks or to Other Public Places Until It’s Safe!!
By: Laura Leautier DVM Dr. Leautier
It’s very important to keep your puppy from going out in public until it’s fully protected from parvo and distemper.  A typical puppy vaccine schedule starts at 6 to 8 weeks of age.  The pup will receive three to four sets of DHPP vaccine (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza) spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart until it is 16 weeks or older.  It will also receive canine cough (bordetella) and rabies vaccines.  Pups with exposure to livestock (or sea lions!) should also get vaccinated against leptospirosis.  In addition, we  deworm all puppies, because most are born with parasites or dog_sitting_on_park_bench_print-r2b14576d5d3f4697a191a511d691126d_wvc_8byvr_512acquire them from their mother’s environment.  If your pup will be going to public places or you have small children, we strongly recommend a monthly dewormer, such as Iverheart.
The reason we give multiple doses of vaccines is because the protective antibodies the puppy received from its mother start to fade off between 6 and 12 weeks of age (each pup is different and each of the diseases can have a different time frame when they fade away).  Our goal is to vaccinate at least two times (3 to 4 weeks apart) past all maternal antibodies, because those maternal antibodies have a blocking effect on the vaccines we give.  Once the last puppy vaccines are administered, we puppies walkingrecommend keeping pups from public places until 2 weeks later so the vaccine has fully kicked in.  Then they should be able to safely walk through the neighborhood or go to dog parks and not contract parvo or distemper.
If you’ve ever known someone whose pet had parvo, you know how devastating it can be.  The virus attacks the gut and bone marrow and causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and blood infections.  If untreated, most puppies don’t make it.  Treatment can take a few days to a week or more and is very expensive.  The microscopic parvo virus particles are passed in the feces and can live on the grass and soil for years.  Since you can’t see it, you can’t avoid it.  The amount of virus particles shed from a recovering parvo dog is enough virus to infect all the dogs in our town!  So that’s why it’s so important to go through the full immunization schedule and not take your puppy out for walks until it’s safe!