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How to Do Puppy Vaccinations and Give Your Puppies Shots

Updated on December 9, 2013

How To: Puppy Shots

How to give your puppies their shots yourself. You can give them their vaccinations if you have confidence to do this correctly.
How to give your puppies their shots yourself. You can give them their vaccinations if you have confidence to do this correctly. | Source

You Can Give Your Own Puppy Shots

Giving your puppies their first vaccinations and giving puppies shots is not for the faint of heart. It can however save you lots on money and trips to the vet, but you must be committed to learning the proper way of giving your puppy their shots.

Just recently, I became the mother to 2 new chihuahua puppies. My son got a third brother from the same litter. When we went to get their puppy shots we were shocked at the cost - and decided to re-think how they were going to get them. A friend of ours from church had told us that we should try giving the puppies their shots ourselves. I was aghast at first about the thought of even touching one of my puppies with a needle (I'm one of those needle-phobic people) but my husband, on the other hand, thought this was a good idea and decided we should give it a shot.

This is Kamikaze and Kawasaki, who got their first puppy shots by "mom and dad".
This is Kamikaze and Kawasaki, who got their first puppy shots by "mom and dad". | Source

You Can Buy Your Own Puppy Shot Packs

I suppose for a nurse or medical professional the thought of giving your puppy a shot might not be a big deal, but for me I was a nervous wreck. Knowing that doing this would save us about $300 though, I decided it was definitely at least worth looking into. I decided to do some research on the Internet, and talk to the local feed store owner, who sold "puppy shot packages" in his store. (You can also purchase puppy shot packs on the internet)

What I found out was that there are quite a few people who routinely do this and have no problems giving their puppies vaccinations. Our friend from church was one of them. He explained that his family had always given their family dogs shots the entire time he was growing up, and that it was a natural thing for them.

Still not being quite convinced, I sat on the fence about doing anything for a good week or two.

Finally I got up the nerve to go purchase the puppy vaccination shots, and offered to be my husbands assistant while he gave them their shots. I still wasn't thrilled about being involved in this but figured it was better for me to hold them and help him then some stranger. At least the puppies would be in good hands (but probably hate me for the rest of my life)

Puppy pack vaccinations

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Directions on Giving Your Puppies a Shot

The first thing you need to decide is where to give your puppy his/her shots. (We decided to go with the most common injection site - the back of the neck) The 2 methods of injection are:

  • Subcutaneously: This method of injection involves delivering the vaccine into the fatty tissue just below the skin's surface.
  • Intramuscularly: This type of injection is delivered into the muscle tissue, typically in the fleshy part of a dog's thigh.

DIRECTIONS ON VACCINATING YOUR PUPPY:

  • Draw up the liquid diluent from the vial into a syringe.
  • Insert the syringe into the vial containing the powder.
  • Push down on the syringe's plunger to release the liquid.
  • Remove the syringe.
  • Shake the vial to mix the powder and diluent until all the powder is dissolved (make sure it is mixed thoroughly)
  • Draw up the mixed liquid using the syringe.
  • Place the puppy on a flat surface and hold the puppy firmly.
  • Using a cotton ball, rub some alcohol onto the puppy's neck- just before the shoulder blades.
  • Pull the puppy's neck skin up using your fingers.
  • Push the needle gently under the raised skin.
  • Pull the plunger of the syringe up slightly, making sure that no blood enters the syringe. If there is blood, you have inserted the needle into a vein-- Don't inject the vaccine into a vein! Just remove the syringe and try again if this happens.
  • If there is no blood, push the plunger of the syringe to inject the vaccine.
  • Remove the syringe.
  • Gently massage the area for a few seconds (there may be a small bump which will go down by massaging the area)
  • Praise and pet your puppy.
  • Make sure you put the used needle into a “Sharps” container.


The Puppies Did Well With Their Shots

I will not pretend that vaccinating our puppies was an easy or simple thing for me to do. I am used to taking all my animals to a vet and getting it done, but now that we have so many animals I realize that this is the most sensible and cost saving way to make sure that all of our animals get their proper shots (We have 4 dogs and 4 cats now)

And the puppies actually did pretty well. Of course it was a little uncomfortable for them but they forgave us fast, and within minutes they were off playing again. One word of caution however - do make sure you keep an eye on your puppy after their shots to make sure they don't have an allergic reaction. Giving your puppies their first vaccinations and giving your puppies shots gets easier each time you do it, and you will gain confidence each time you do. We now have our friends and family bring their puppies over for their first shots, and puppy vaccinations are something we now do together as a family.

As for the first time, I think I was more of a wreck than the puppies were!

(If this article has been helpful for you a thumbs up would be awesome. Dorsi is a freelance writer and blogger in the SF Bay Area)

Vaccinations-Mixing the Puppy 5 Way Shots

Vaccinations - How to administer the Puppy 5 Way Vaccination, Shot

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  • jenster profile image

    jenster 8 years ago from Bay Area

    Great hub, I don't think I could handle doing it but I still think it is great and a great way to save money.

    Jen

  • Angela Harris profile image

    Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

    We always used to give our dogs shots ourselves. The problem was when we wanted to get them boarded or groomed, we had to have proof of vaccinations from a vet. Since we travel often now, we have to pay the outrageous charges to take them to the vet. It really is a great way to save money and is easy to do, though. This is a great primer for people who want to know how to do it.

  • myserenity profile image

    myserenity 8 years ago from California

    thanks so much for this one! i just recently adopted 2 pit bull puppies, and being unemployed i don't have much money to spare for vet bills, plus i have a demonstration speech for school and i was going to do it on vaccinating puppies [just so i could bring my dog to school =) ] this was very helpful, and gave me strength to go thru with it, after talking myself down so many times. i hope i don't get too freaked out!!

  • C.S.Alexis profile image

    C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

    One of my dearest friends, being a vet tech would always give my animals shots and it does save a lot of money. I could never stick a needle into any living creature, don't even want to practice on the orange!

    I know this is a very helpful hub for others, great job.

  • linjingjing profile image

    linjingjing 8 years ago

    This is a good idea

    26875

  • profile image

    janice 7 years ago

    Great help. I've always given my animals their shots and it gets easier with practice. I've found it helpful to have a separate sheet or note card for each animal and I attach the label from the vaccine to the card with the date so I have a record of when the vaccines were given.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    That's a good idea Janice, keeping records of the puppies vaccinations is very very important. Thanks for stopping by everyone and glad the article on giving puppies vaccinations was helpful!

  • profile image

    Kathy 7 years ago

    If you fill the syringe with a bit of air first, then inject the air into the already mixed vaccine, the med will suck back up into the syringe easily.

  • profile image

    John 6 years ago

    Great idea on vaccinating the puppy yourself; i also have a 8 week old puppy which isn't vaccinated yet and am thinking of doing it myself; i was wondering if the 5-way vaccine needs to be given 4 weeks apart after the first 5-way vaccine? just a concern i have before i order my set of vaccinations for him. thanks

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    John) We used the same vaccine each time. Thanks for stopping by!

  • profile image

    Diana 6 years ago

    I would suggest preparing your injections in a bit more sterile environment than that displayed here to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    Yes Diana I agree. The vid is not mine, it only shows more detail of the injection. I clean everything and use a clean towel with wipes when we do our puppy vaccinations.

    Thanks for reading.

  • profile image

    vlad 6 years ago

    is that a cane corso on the video?

  • profile image

    Angie 6 years ago

    How young can the shots be given? thanks

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Angie) from Pet Education regarding the puppies age for vaccinating:

    When should puppies be vaccinated?

    The length and timing of the window of susceptibility is different in every litter, and even between individuals in a litter. A study of a cross section of different puppies showed that the age at which they were able to respond to a vaccine and develop protection (become immunized) covered a wide period of time. At six weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be immunized. At 9 weeks of age, 40% of the puppies were able to respond to the vaccine. The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks of age, and by 18 weeks, 95% of the puppies were protected by the vaccine.

  • Becky Katz profile image

    Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

    Kayla, I have noticing you leaving nasty comments all over hubpages. We don't do that here. We are nice to each other.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Becky) TY. I deleted that comment because I did not think it was appropriate. Shots for puppies and dogs are necessary to keep them healthy. Thanks for reading!!

  • profile image

    Kevin 5 years ago

    Thanks

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    YW Kevin!

  • profile image

    Kory 5 years ago

    How much did the 6 weeks Shots cost you?

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Kory) I think they were about $7 dollars per puppy.

  • profile image

    valarie38 5 years ago

    This would be our first time giving our pups shots at home. Does it matter the weight of the pups? We have 7 pug pups and 6 other dogs, our vet is going to retire from our money. lol.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @valarie) When you buy your shots make sure you tell them the type of dog so they can give you the approriate shots. LOL - I know what you mean about those vet bills!

  • profile image

    Rachel 5 years ago

    Hi just wondering where u get the packs from

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Rachel) I get mine from our local feed store. Close Feed and Supply in Hayward, Ca. You can also buy them from the Amazon listings above (check above in the article) Thanks!

  • profile image

    Sherry 5 years ago

    This is a great idea!! One question - My puppy is almost 12 weeks and has had one round so far (by his original owner.) How many more rounds does he need before his vaccines are complete. Thanks

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    "When it comes to puppies most veterinarians are in agreement. Puppies should receive their first canine distemper, canine adenovirus (infectious canine hepatitis) and canine parvovirus at 7-9 weeks of age, then at 12-13 weeks of age, and finally at 16-18 weeks of age to insure they are solidly protected against these diseases. Shots given earlier than 9-12 weeks usually do not work because they are blocked by residual immunity passed on from its mother."

  • profile image

    Mari 5 years ago

    Just a quick question. is the vaccine that are sold at stores such as tractor supply the exact same ones that the vets use?

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Mari) I believe they are the same.

  • profile image

    megan-lvt 5 years ago

    This is all great until one of your dogs has a nasty vaccine reaction. This is why vets and vet techs go to school. You might save some money here and there but when something goes wrong you will be singing a different tune. BTW veterinarians and techs make next to nothing so no one is cheating any of you out of your money. It's called a service and it is as cheap as it can be.When you visit them you are paying a little more than the cost of the vaccine and by doing this you are paying for their knowledge.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @megan) You are right - that is one thing that could be fatal to our pets. But sadly there are so many things over the counter that we and our animals can have a nasty reaction to. In these times people are trying to save money but make sure there pets are vaccinated. This is for those that cannot afford to take their pets to a vet. The last time I took my Simon in it was almost $200. Yes I know that is the price we pay for having animals but it's still a lot when you have suddenly found yourself on a very fixed income. Thanks for reading and bringing this up.

  • profile image

    debrann 5 years ago

    I am on a fixe income. I also am a diabetic and must give myself shot and didn't.. So next month I will order the shots from Dr. foster and smith at 3 dollars and 99 cents each plus 20 dollars for special delivery. The only thing is you said you would show a vedio giving the shot to the puppy and you didn,t.

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @debrann) I've added a video to show you how to give the puppy shots above. That should help. Good luck.

  • profile image

    spenser 5 years ago

    what happins if i miss is this dangerous to leak the vaccine onto the dog

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @spenser) That I do not know...try google search for that one.

    Sorry. (or the other links I have provided above)

  • profile image

    Rene' 5 years ago

    Hello! Thanks so much for this info. We have a 3 1/2 week old puppy whose mother ran off after a raccoon a few days ago and never came back. We have been feeding her Hartz puppy formula and she seems to be doing great. I don't know what breed she is exactly. I know she has some chihuahua in her from her mother, and if we are correct on who the father is he look like a beagle/dachshund mix. Right now she weighs 1 lb and 6 oz.

    Should we still wait 7 to 12 weeks before giving shots, or should they be given sooner since she's not getting milk from her mother any more?

    And what about worming her? Can I get stuff for that from the feed store as well?

    Thanks so much!

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @rene) I believe you should still give them as the vet recommends. And the worm stuff you can get from a feed store. Even some super stores like Kmart and Walmart have it.

  • Angela Brummer profile image

    Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    Thanks for the information I have given the shots to farm animals horses, cattle and sheep but, didn't know where to purchase this for dogs. Thank you this will save me a lot of money!

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Angela) YW and thanks for coming by to read. Glad it helped!

  • profile image

    Ellie 4 years ago

    I have a american skimo , he is 4 month old and he only have the first cicle of vaccine, when I should give him other cicle and wich one?

    thank you for this wondeful page

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Ellie) YW - since he is 4 months old I'm not sure at this point. I would ask the person at your feed store. Thanks for coming by!

  • profile image

    campbell1 4 years ago

    Great article and video. Dumb question, when they get there 3 sets of shot at say 9wks,13wks and 18wks, is this just the DHLPP shots? Or is there two different types? I realize I think that the vet has to give the rabies shots though; am I right?

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @campbell1) Your local feed store will tell you which ones you need for your type and size of dog, and depending on how old they are. And yes, a rabies ahot has to be done at the vet or a rabies clinic (sometimes pet stores hold low cost rabies clinics) because you will need the rabies certificate to show your dog has had the shot.

  • profile image

    sterlingsara94 2 years ago

    What do we do if we only gave the fluid? The directions on my package didn't say to mix the fluid and powder so I have only give the fluid..

  • profile image

    codieboo 2 years ago

    where can i get the vacine from???

  • Dorsi profile image
    Author

    Dorsi Diaz 2 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @codoebo0) You can get them at most feed supply stores.

  • Olivia Sanzzi profile image

    Olivia Sanzzi 23 months ago from San Antonio

    What an excellent and practical article! Thank you for posting it!

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