Puppy Vaccination Schedule and Socialization: Can they go together?

By on
Puppy Vaccination Schedule and Socialization: Can they go together?

My esteemed colleague, Robert K. Anderson, DVM, MPH, DACVB, DACVPM, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was a revolutionary in the field of animal behavior. He was not only the co-inventor of the Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk Harnesses but also brought to the forefront the discussion of puppy socialization and vaccination schedules. This is an important topic as parvovirus is shed via feces at day three to possibly day fourteen post-vaccination.

Further animal behavior research has refined his recommendations. His vaccination protocol also differed slightly from mine which changes in the timing of socialization and vaccinations. Overall, the critical puppy socialization period is between four and eight weeks of age, although some believe it lasts as long as 12 weeks of age. Regardless, socialization should never really stop at this point.

To review, residual maternal antibodies – derived from colostrum received during the first 36 hours of life to protect puppies from infectious diseases – wane and are generally minimal by 14-16 weeks of age. (For further explanation, please refer to my article, “Puppy and Kitten Vaccinations: Timing is critical”.) My preferred vaccination protocol suggests vaccinating for canine distemper and parvovirus at nine to 10 weeks and again at fourteen weeks of age. A final parvovirus vaccination should be given at 18 weeks of age.

After the first vaccination dose at nine to 10 weeks of age, puppies should not go to public places or outside of your home or backyard. You can bring friends and their immunized adult dogs over (no pregnant mothers, though!) to play. Puppies should be able to go to training classes and limited exposure areas three days after the second dose. I would not take them to dog parks for at least two weeks after the third vaccination of parvovirus because the modified-live virus vaccination shedding period could expose poorly immunized dogs to vaccine strain of parvovirus.

Breeders generally place puppies at or before nine weeks of age. Since the dog is in a new home, the socialization and vaccination schedule timing should be fine.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Share this message: