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A Vaccination Program for Pugs

Vaccines protect your pug against infectious diseases that often pose grave threats to their health and endanger their lives. As with other breeds of dogs, a Pug will have to start receiving vaccinations at an early age.

The mother of a pug that has received complete vaccinations her whole life is able to transmit a part of her immunity to her offspring via the colostrum (first milk after whelping). It is for this reason that puppies should be allowed to suckle milk during the first 48 hours after being born to take advantage of their mother’s antibodies present in the colostrum.

Although puppies receive protection via maternal immunity, this type of immunity from their mother is passive which means that it can eventually lose its potency as the puppy grows. This usually takes around 5-6 weeks after birth. By this time, the puppy should receive his first shots to stimulate his immune system to produce antibodies.

A newborn puppy’s immune system is not yet well-developed to fight off potential pathogens, thus maternal immunity can give them temporary protection until their immune system is strong enough to fight infectious agents on its own. However, you should bear in mind that although puppies come from the same litter, they can still possess varying levels of immunity that they receive from their mother. Thus, some can be more susceptible to acquiring an infection compared to the others.

It is for this reason that puppies should receive vaccinations against particular diseases at specific ages. It is very important that your pug receives not only the initial vaccinations but also the booster shots. This will ensure that your puppy’s immune system is able to produce sufficient antibodies that can afford protection against potential infectious agents.

Different veterinarians might follow different vaccination protocols however, nearly everyone aggress on the importance of giving the so-called “core vaccines” to your puppy. The vaccinations that make up the “core vaccines” include parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and rabies. There are also vaccinations which are classified as non-core and include leptospirosis, measles, canine adenovirus-2, bordetella, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and lyme disease. These vaccinations are not as important compared to the core vaccinations however your pug will definitely need them if he has to stay in boarding kennels or frequently visit the dog park where the number of unvaccinated dogs are quite high.

On the question, when is the best time to have your puppy’s first vaccination? The answer will depend on your veterinarian. There are veterinarians who will recommend that your puppy start their vaccinations when they are 5 weeks old while there are those who recommend starting at 8-9 weeks old. If you have bought your puppy from a reputable breeder, he may have started your puppy’s vaccination before you brought your puppy home. In this case, you can bring your puppy to your vet for his first healthy puppy checkup and be sure to bring along your puppy’s vaccination record so you can show it to your vet. Your vet will then decide on when will be the schedule of the subsequent vaccinations for your puppy.

When you follow a vaccination protocol wherein your puppy receives his first shot at five weeks old, the vaccination schedule will usually follow this schedule—

5 weeks old - Parvovirus
6 weeks old - Combination Vaccine (includes canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, para-influenza, and adenovirus)
9 weeks old - Combination vaccine(includes canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, para-influenza, coronavirus and adenovirus)
12 weeks old and beyond - Rabies
12-16 weeks - Combination vaccine with leptospirosis, lyme disease, and if necessary, coronavirus

Your pug will need booster shots when he is a year old. Your vet will recommend what type of vaccines should be given and when they should be given. There are vaccinations which are done every year while there are those which can be done every two years or so. Coordinating with your vet regarding your dog’s booster shots will ensure that your dog’s immune system is subject to less stress.

If your dog is frequently going to places where other dogs are also present like dog shows, boarding kennels, or doggie day care centers, he will need to have frequent bordetella vaccinations to protect him from Kennel Cough.

An important note on dog vaccination—protection against a particular disease will not be readily available as soon as your Pug receives the vaccination. Your dog’s immune system needs time— usually from several days to two weeks— to produce antibodies for protection. It is important to observe this period in order to avoid exposing your dog to other dogs and to places where he can possibly acquire the infection.