Tips for Vaccinating Your Cat or Dog

Whether your pet is a young pup or a kitten, or they’re getting on in years, follow our tips to make vaccinations an important part of their healthcare plan.

Even the best cared for pets run the risk of being exposed to harmful and even deadly diseases. Even if your pet doesn’t come into direct contact with another animal, some diseases can be spread through their environment. The best way to protect your cat or dog from these diseases is through vaccination.

Here are three tips to keep your pet healthy by vaccinating them.

1. Start them young

Puppies and kittens will receive some protection from common diseases from their mother’s milk. But this protection will fade quickly once they’re weaned. So, you’ll want to get them onto their vaccination schedule as soon as possible. To start off with, they’ll need a series of vaccination shots 3-4 weeks apart, starting at age 6-8 weeks. Once they’ve had their initial shots, they’ll need boosters every year.

2. Keep them on schedule

It’s important that you follow your vet’s recommendation for when your pet gets their vaccination shots - whether it’s part of their initial round or follow up booster shots. Missing them or delaying them too long could mean your pet’s immunity lapses, and they’ll need more vaccinations to bring them back up to full immunity. For example, if a dog misses its vaccination shot by more than 3 months, they’ll need an extra dose.

3. Know what they need to be vaccinated for

Your vet is the best source of information about what diseases your cat or dog needs to be vaccinated and protected against. In New Zealand dogs are vaccinated against leptospirosis, kennel cough, distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza. Cats, meanwhile, are vaccinated against Cat Flu, Enteritis, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

Your vet will often give you a pet passport at the first vaccination to help you keep track of their vaccination regime and the shots they’ve been given each time. Keep this safe and bring it along each time, so you’ve got their record on hand for cross-checking and updating. It’s also likely you’ll need to show proof that your pet is up to date with their vaccinations if you take them to a cattery, kennel or day-care.

Give your kitten or puppy the best chance at a happy and healthy life by getting them vaccinated and keeping them up to date with their shots. Keeping your pet vaccinated also helps limit the spread of the disease through the animal community and helps keeps every pet safe.