Save Your Puppy’s Life!

Socialize with Friends you Know!

Christmas has come and gone; and although the ASPCA and other groups try their hardest to make sure that puppies and other animals don’t become presents.  We all know that it still happens.

Kids get puppies and kittens in stockings and hopefully everyone is willing to make the lifetime commitment that they require!

But I realized the other day that not everyone has the knowledge that I have about safely raising puppies and vaccines and their immune systems.

I was lucky enough to be a vet tech for many, many years, seeing the interworking’s of the vet clinic and all of the diseases and viruses that lie in wait for puppies and kittens that aren’t vaccinated.

  • Puppy Parvo virus
  • Distemper
  • Rabies
  • And FVR (for cats)

Are a real concern.

I recently saw a video online from a friend of mine who was taking his 8 week old puppy through the aisles at a pet store, doing obedience and socializing.

As adorable as the work was, the fear of the puppy picking up disease is a real one!

Most veterinarians recommend that puppies steer clear of over populated dog areas until they have received their last set of vaccines at about 4 months or 16 weeks of age.  At that time their immune systems have been bolstered to deal with the dangerous diseases that lay at wake in such places.

When I mentioned my fears to my online friend, I was met with hostility.  He didn’t want to lose this time to socialize the dog, he did the same thing with his other dog when she was younger… etc.

So Let’s Tackle His Fears


Socialize with Dogs you Trust and KNOW are vaccinated

Socialize with Dogs you Trust and KNOW are vaccinated

YES!!!!!  Socialization is imperative!  But, it doesn’t have to happen in very dog populated areas.  Dog parks, dog and pet stores, dog shows, parks that are frequented by many, many dogs should be avoided.  I don’t know how many tiny puppies  I have seen at dog shows and competitions, some with the breeder!  And, I always wonder how many end up getting parvo before they are even placed in their new home.

Dogs can be taken to places that aren’t known for high numbers of dog traffic.  Some people take them to Starbucks in the morning, others find local farm stores and even places like Home Depot and Lowes allow puppies.

I prefer carrying my young puppies, or wiping a cart down and putting them inside.

Carrying your puppy almost completely eliminates the chances of picking up disease while still allowing your puppy to socialize with humans of all shapes and sizes.

The other benefit of carrying your puppy is getting him used to this feeling and some impulse control.

My dogs reach 50-75 # and aren’t “carry-able” for long, or often!  But I like to be able to pick my dogs up when I want to!

I had a dog many years ago who HATED to be picked up.  He would jump up on any surface to avoid anyone picking him up; which was great in some respects and TERRIBLE in others!  It made him much more difficult at the vet and when he was sick and dying… it added insult to injury when I had to do something to him that he had always hated; although at that point I had no choice.

I vowed from that time on that I would carry my future puppies all the time so that I could desensitize them to that before it became a problem.

Even if you have an English Mastiff that will weigh #250 you never know if there will be an emergency and the dog will at some point have to be picked up (probably by a couple of people).

Plus sitting nicely to be petted in my arms, teaches my puppy manners and impulse control.

Just like a toddler wiggling to get down, puppies must learn that their temper tantrums don’t always result in the things that they want!

Disease Control012

Yes, you may have had a puppy that went everywhere and didn’t pick up any diseases!


Because some dogs have stronger immune systems, they are less apt to get the disease.

But, some mothers may not get the nutrition they need when they are pregnant, or perhaps the mother gets a little cold while she is pregnant, therefore lowering the puppies immunity to things.

There is no real way to tell, which puppy is susceptible and which puppy has a strong immune system.  You can’t usually tell by looking.  And, even puppies from great breeders can be susceptible to parvo and other diseases.

And, not all people vaccinate their puppies and their adult dogs.

You would assume all of the adult dogs in a dog park have probably have vaccinations at some point, right?

It is not true.

One of my hardest lessons as a trainer was working at an animal shelter, setting up temperament testing.  We came upon a 7+ year old herding dog that had a marvelous temperament.  Due to her age the shelter would have automatically euthanized her.  But she passed her temperament test with flying colors and was adopted out to a lovely family.  She came back after a few weeks, dying of Distemper.  It was so very sad that a dog of that age was dying of a disease that could have been totally avoided if she had been vaccinated as a younger dog.

Don’t think that just because there are vaccines out there and dogs wandering around with people that the dogs have been vaccinated!

I currently have an adult cat that has FVR a sad and incurable, infectious disease that could have been avoided if he had been vaccinated as a younger cat.

It just isn’t worth it.

In my opinion, it is like Russian Roulette…. Spin the bullets, slap it shut, point it….  Is it worth the risk of killing your puppy?

It would never be for my puppies.  I will carry them places, and I will restrict their activity until they are 16 weeks; it just isn’t worth the suffering of them getting and dying of a disease that can be prevented.

And one last thing, nothing is more sad than watching a puppy, especially a puppy that is loved, die of parvo.  It is one of the saddest things that I have witnessed in my career.

I am very pro-vaccinate!

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