5 min read


Can Dogs Feel Bad After Shots?



5 min read


Can Dogs Feel Bad After Shots?


We all need shots - you need them and your dog needs them. They're a necessary part of life, and just like you, your dog can feel adverse effects and reactions from their shots and vaccines. 

For starters, it's important that you know that your dog definitely needs to get regular shots and vaccines to keep him safe from diseases like rabies, parainfluenza, parvo, and leptospirosis. These are especially important in young puppies, but it's vital that your dog have these vaccinations. 

That being said, just like people, dogs can often feel the effects of shots and vaccinations and can feel pretty yucky afterward. These vaccines can often produce adverse effects, and in many cases, that's because the vaccine is a strain of the virus that's modified to allow your dog's immune system to fight and destroy it. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be worried about adverse effects or not keep an eye out for problems. 

You might be asking yourself things like: "what should I be looking out for?" or "how can I tell my dog is having a negative reaction to his vaccines?" We've got all the information you need right here to get better acquainted with vaccine effects and what you should be cautious about.


Signs Your Dog Might Be Feeling Poorly After His Vaccines

It's no secret that vaccinations aren't fun for people, so it's easy to understand that they might not be a good time for pups, either. However, they are necessary for healthy living, and as much as it pains you to see your pup feelin' bad, vaccines are certainly important. 

Unfortunately, with vaccines, there's always the risk of side effects and common reactions. Some can be mild, but some can be life-threatening, so it's always important to pay close attention to your doggo after his shots. 

Some common, less scary reactions would include things like discomfort and swelling in the spot where your dog got his vaccine. This is pretty normal and also relatively harmless. A mild fever is also a common reaction, as well as a decrease in appetite and activity. You may also notice your dog sneezing, coughing, having a runny nose, and just being a little more "snotty" than usual. All of these are normal reactions, however, if they persist for more than two days, it's important to call your vet and get him checked out. 

Some more serious side effects include things like persistent vomiting and diarrhea, itchy skin, development of a rash, or a swelling of the muzzle, face, neck, and eyes. He might also experience lots of coughing, difficulty breathing, and he might even collapse. These symptoms are not normal, and require vet attention right away! 

Body Language

If your dog is feeling yucky, he'll likely be sending you all the signs you need to know something is up. Make sure you're looking out for his signals and don't miss things like:

  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Ears Drop
  • Drooling
  • Lips Pushed Forward
  • Ears Back

Other Signs

But that's not all your dog might be trying to tell you. He also might be having more severe reactions to the vaccination and will alert you to his issues with things like:

  • Severe Coughing
  • Runny Or Snotty Nose
  • Swelling
  • Lethargy
  • Weight Loss
  • No Appetite
  • Fever
  • Discomfort
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Collapse
  • Itchy Skin Or Rash
  • Diarrhea Or Vomiting

The History of Dog Vaccines


Vaccinations are commonplace for dogs nowadays, and thank goodness for that - but it wasn't always that way. Vaccinations are important for your dog to help protect them from serious canine diseases (think rabies and parvovirus, etc.), but that wasn't always the case. 

Annual vaccinations are the general rule for pups, but as doggo health science progresses, researchers are realizing that every dog is different, so immunization should be tailored to your dog. In 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association released a set of vaccinations that dogs are required to have, which was then updated in 2006. This would help vets determine which vaccines dogs needed, how often they were needed, and when they should be given. 

Factors that dog-tors need to look for according to these guidelines should include health status, breed, age, lifestyle, environment, and travel habits.

The Science Behind Dog Vaccines


Doggo vaccines work the same way people vaccines do, for the most part. In order to better understand how they can help your dog or hurt your dog, it probably helps to understand how they work in general. 

A vaccine is a shot that's put into your dog's body that is a strain of the virus it's designed to ward off. This mutation is designed to enter your dog's body, meet your dog's immune system, and set itself up to train your dog's system to fight and destroy the real virus. The immune system builds up antibodies to fight off any  future invasion of the virus. This will help your dog stay immune to the virus. That's a good thing, right?

Right! But that can also mean that your dog can have similar reactions to the vaccine that he would to the actual disease the vaccine is set up to protect against. Because of this, dogs might have a number of side effects to a vaccination, some that can be life-threatening, and some that are just commonplace.

How to Train Your Dog to Deal with Vaccines


Dogs are naturally a bit scared of shots, but can you blame them? You're probably not so keen on them either. But there are certainly ways you can train them to have a better experience. 

First of all, make sure your dog isn't getting a negative association with getting shots. Try to associate the vet's office with lots of treats, positive attention, love, cuddles, and hugs. This should help your dog be less fearful on his way into the vet's office. 

You can start by training your dog to be familiar with syringes. Get a clean, empty syringe and let your dog sniff it (but don't let it poke them!), then offer a treat. Repeat this process. until your dog is comfortable sniffing the empty syringe without getting treats. Then mimic a shot and give your pup a treat - this is important - do NOT give your dog a shot, simply mimic the motion and the sound, and placing your fingers on him with a little bit of pressure. Give him copious amounts of treats. 

Then, when it's time for your vet to give him your real shot, mimic the sound while the shot is being given, and give your pup lots of treats and love when he's finally done with his procedure. This type of training can help for dogs with extreme fears of shots. However, the good news is that most dogs don't even really notice the needle, and will be preoccupied with the strange doctor-person all up in their space.

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By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Published: 02/22/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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