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Published: Apr 20, 2012

Dog vaccinations are recommended by almost all veterinarians because they are the best way to prevent a variety of diseases. However, owners must also be aware of possible reactions their dogs may have to the shots, as some can be uncomfortable for the animal.

Most vets will warn about the acute reactions to the vaccinations. During the hours after routine shots, the dog may experience some pain or swelling at the injection site. Lethargy, acute vomiting and diarrhea are some of the more mild reactions dogs can have, but some neurological reactions like seizures in dogs can also occur.

Dogs can also have allergic reactions to vaccinations, according to One of the most common allergic reactions is hives or a swollen face and the worst of these reactions is anaphylaxis; a sudden and severe reaction that can create serious breathing difficulties and collapse. Many of the most severe reactions occur immediately and so adverse reactions can be treated immediately at your vet’s office.  However, owners should monitor their dog closely for 72 hours following vaccinations as allergic reactions may occur during this time.

VCA Animal Hospitals recommends giving all puppies the core vaccination series, which will protect it from common diseases like distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and rabies. Puppies are due for their first round of vaccinations at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, and will need additional rounds of shots at 12 and 16 weeks of age.  There are several recommendations for new puppy owners and additional information at what to expect at your puppy visits.