Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:33 PM

Canine Vaccination Protocol

Now that we've covered feline vaccinations, it's time to go back and cover the protocol for our canine friends.  It's not as easy to dispense with inoculations with dogs as it is with cats, for several reasons.  One is that dogs cannot, reasonably, be considered "indoor" pets.  They need exercise above and beyond what cats need, and, the larger the breed, the more exercise is necessary.  Also, unlike cats, they need to do their "business" outside.  I have yet to hear of anyone  successfully litter box training a dog (or wanting to)!  Going outdoors on a regular basis means that dogs come into contact with other animals, both domesticated and wild, that can carry disease.  Mosquitoes, vectors of such canine illnesses as heartworm and lyme disease, also bother dogs more than cats, who are not as susceptible to those two diseases anyway.

There is also the issue of laws and regulations.  Since dogs must be licensed in almost every state (perhaps every state, by now), state laws generally require certain vaccinations to be up-to-date or the license will not be issued.  These requirements vary from state to state, but rabies vaccination is one that I believe is always required.  As discussed here recently, the public health aspect of this disease cannot be ignored, nor should it be.

When cat owners go away for the weekend, they often leave bowls of water and dry food out for their cats, knowing that they will be gone only overnight.  I'm not saying I agree with the feeding of dry food, mind you, only that this is a convenience many people like about owning cats versus dogs.  At any rate, dogs need much more attention than cats and it's still simpler to have someone come in a couple of times each day to feed your cats and clean boxes than it is to set up in-house care for a dog.  That is why most people board their dogs at a kennel when they go away.  Most, if not all, reputable kennels require proof of state-mandated vaccinations before boarding, and usually insist upon inoculation against kennel cough as well.  This disease will spread like wildfire through their facility if given a chance, something that is definitely not good for business!

Next week, we'll start looking at which vaccinations you'll most likely be considering (or be counseled to consider) when you adopt your new pup.
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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