The Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet’s
Your dog is pumping the brakes like he’s trying to avoid a pileup on the interstate; your cat is wailing like a fire siren and rattling the crate door; sound familiar? You must be going to the veterinarian for vaccinations. You may be wondering if all this stress really worth it? It’s only a couple of injections; no way could they make that much difference in your pet’s health. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely worth it and this less than enjoyable experience may save your pet in the long run.
What Are Vaccines?
Let’s bypass the scientific definition and make a long story short, a vaccine is a product that helps keep our critters from getting sick. If you want to dig in a little deeper, keep reading otherwise you can skip to the next section.
Everybody has an immune system, you, your pets, even the bird chirping outside your window at five AM. Think of an immune system as an army whose sole purpose is to protect the body from invaders like bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. The immune system has two divisions, specific and non-specific. The non-specific side does its best to fight off all bad guys with generic weapons. The specific side has specialized artillery to fight one type of invader. These specialized weapons are much more efficient and effective than the generic weapons so it is in the body’s best interest to mass produce them. However, in order to do that, the body first needs to get the blueprints.
Vaccines work by introducing the bad guys into a body to provide the blueprints so that it can mass produce these specialized weapons. Don’t worry, the agent in the vaccine is changed in such a way that it can no longer actually cause illness. The body then produces a white blood cell army that is kept in reserve and ready to fight if that offender is ever seen again. This makes it less likely that bacteria, viruses, or parasites will cause illness or disease in a vaccinated pet.
Why Vaccinate Your Pet?
- In some cities or states, certain vaccinations are required. For example rabies, some cities require a rabies vaccination in order for a pet to be licensed. Rabies vaccinations are also required for your pet to cross most state lines. One trip to the vet means Fluffy doesn’t get left at the border while your family goes on vacation.
- To prevent illness. Nobody likes getting the flu, even your pup. Vaccinating builds that specialized military immune system to prevent your furry friends from needing to take sick days.
- Save your cash. Sick pets are expensive pets. Instead of spending your money at the vet on medications for preventable disease, use that cash to spoil them with toys.
- Protect them from the wild. Even if your dog or cat never sees other dogs or cats, it doesn’t mean they’re safe from disease. Wildlife can transmit numerous diseases to our household pals that can be prevented with vaccinations.
- Protect the two-legged animals as well. Not only do pets share their bad bugs with other pets, but they can also pass some diseases onto people as well. That poke in the neck can mean keeping you and your children safe from some illnesses too. Make sure to thank your pet for taking one for the whole team.
How Often Do My Pets Need To be Vaccinated?
This is a question that is best left between you and your veterinarian and it depends on what you are vaccinating for. Core vaccines are ones that are recommended for all pets in a given area, while non-core vaccines are reserved for special circumstances like travel and contact with other animals. Most core vaccines are given yearly to every three years, again depending on your area and your pet’s lifestyle. Non-core vaccines are given as needed and will vary greatly.
A major faux pas committed by unknowing pet owners is not completing the entire puppy or kitten series. One vaccination at eight weeks of age isn’t enough to provide protection for any of the diseases being vaccinated for. Most puppy and kitten series consists of three injections given four weeks apart. It’s only after that third poke that you should consider your baby protected and ready to take on the world.
Are Vaccinations Worth The Stress?
Absolutely they are. Nobody wants to be that person who has to drag their terrier into the vet clinic by the hair on his toes, but that’s a lot easier than bringing him in when he’s vomiting up what seems like last month’s dinner. One chaotic trip to the veterinarian a year for vaccinations can help save several sick pet trips later. Also, vaccination appointments make great opportunities to talk to your vet about food, weight, training, etc.
It’s important to establish your pets with a veterinarian that you can trust. Get them the necessary vaccinations to meet their lifestyle even though it may mean some anxious car rides followed by your pets pouting in the corner for a few days. Keep your pets and family healthy, happy, and loving by vaccinating. After all, those scratches on your arm from trying to get your cat in the pet carrier will heal before you know it.