Vaccinations protect your puppy from canine parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and rabies, as well as diseases that may be more prevalent in your area (such as coronavirus and Lyme disease). One of the most important things you can do to keep your puppy healthy is to get her vaccinated first at 5 to 6 weeks of age. If you buy your Dachshund from a breeder (see Chapter 4), she should've had the first one or two vaccinations done already. Continue to vaccinate your puppy according to the regular schedule suggested by your veterinarian. Different vets will recommend certain vaccinations at certain stages, so talk to your vet about when your puppy needs which vaccines.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that comes in a diarrheal form and a cardiac form. If not treated, it's usually fatal — especially for puppies. Distemper is another highly contagious and often fatal viral disease that causes severe neurological damage in its advanced stages. Hepatitis is a highly contagious virus that begins with a fever and can end in coma and death. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can cause death or severe kidney, liver, and digestive tract damage. It can also be transmitted to humans, along with rabies.

A debate is ongoing about vaccinations. Many people claim that pets are overvaccinated and that some of the vaccines from the first year last longer than vets previously thought. That could be. Others claim that serious diseases can result from vaccinations. That may also be true, especially with vaccinations of older dogs. But for puppies, that first year's vaccination schedule is crucial. You can talk to your vet about how often your dog needs booster shots after the first year, and you can work out a schedule of less-frequent vaccinations later, but please don't neglect these initial vaccinations.

The one vaccine required by law is the rabies vaccine, so even if you're anti-vaccine, you're required to have proof of this one. You must show this proof to license your dog, board her in a kennel, and sometimes even to get veterinary care. Nobody wants to risk rabies, so be diligent about the rabies vaccine. Many places, like boarding kennels, doggy daycare, and even dog parks, require proof of other vaccinations, too. Unless your dog has a serious health problem and your vet advises against the vaccines, there really is no reason to ignore the first year of vaccinations.

That's not to say that vaccinations don't involve risk. In rare cases, animals react adversely to vaccinations. The most serious reaction, an anaphylactic reaction, usually occurs in the first 15 to 60 minutes. This can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, so keep a close eye on your puppy for the first hour after a vaccination. Other less-severe reactions can happen later, from general fatigue, discomfort, and loss of appetite to a local infection at the site of the vaccination. The chances your Dachshund will have a reaction are extremely slim, though, and most vets agree that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. But always watch your Dachshund carefully for a week or so after vaccines. If your Dachshund changes her behavior or gets ill in any way following a vaccination, call your vet immediately.

Some people suggest that puppies should never be around other dogs until all vaccinations are complete. But what about puppy obedience classes? If you bring your puppy to obedience classes at 3 or 4 months of age, be sure to choose a class that requires all puppy owners to show proof of vaccination. You should be okay. Better to have a well-trained puppy and take the very small risk that something may get passed around. Not training or socializing your puppy is a bigger risk because you'll be more likely to give your Dachshund away when she gets to be too much trouble. Besides, your Dachshund will already have a few rounds of vaccinations under her belt, and she's already working on building up her natural immunity — now she can build up her good manners!

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Homemade Pet Food Secrets

Homemade Pet Food Secrets

It is a well known fact that homemade food is always a healthier option for pets when compared to the market packed food. The increasing hazards to the health of the pets have made pet owners stick to containment of commercial pet food. The basic fundamentals of health for human beings are applicable for pets also.

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