Someone in my world mentioned that she saves money by vaccinating her pets at home. She picks up the vaccines she needs at the local feed supply store and was trained to administer the vaccinations when she worked as a vet assistant. It’s an idea, but is it safe to vaccinate our dogs at home?
I look at my three dogs, I think of the money we’ll say each year. Then, to answer my own question, I’ll say ABSOLUTELY NO!!! First of all, I turn away when my dogs are getting their vaccinations, dying a little inside if they cry out in pain (or surprise). I couldn’t imagine being the person on the other end of the syringe. But I think this is an interesting topic and wanted to write about it today.
During my research, I spoke with two veterinarians and learned a few things…
The Cost of Vaccinating Multiple Dogs
At our house, vaccinations cost more than $200 for all three of our dogs. Our dogs are being vaccinated against Rabies, Distemper, Parvo Virus, and Bordatella. But the cost of vaccinating multiple dogs doesn’t stop there. There’s a solid discussion about over vaccinating our dogs that makes me wary of marching our pups into the veterinarian’s office each year to pump them full of chemicals that some believe are making our dogs sick.
Things to Consider Before We Vaccinate Our Dogs at Home
I have never administered a vaccination and I shouldn’t have been surprised to read that it’s more complicated than grabbing a few syringes at the local feed store. Over on Canine Journal, the writers share a few things that we have to consider, including:
The breed of our dogs
- The age of our dogs
- The size of our dogs
- Any allergies our dogs may have
Good gravy! I’ll pay the $200+.
What the Veterinarian (Dr. Cathy Alinovi) Has to Say
Buying vaccines from the feeds supply store is not a problem in itself, the following are problems…
- The vaccinations aren’t properly stored.
- The vaccinations are given too frequently; a puppy’s immune system takes 2-3 weeks to respond to a vaccine and overuse of vaccines is implicated in future health issues related to a stressed out immune system.
- The vaccinations are given in the face of a parvo outbreak. The vaccines aren’t labeled to explain how long maternal antibody lasts (up to 16 weeks). They aren’t labeled to say don’t vaccinate when the dog is sick (some veterinarians still do that). They don’t say, once mixed the vaccine is only good for an hour.
Dr. Alinovi has worked with breeders to show them how to properly store, mix and administer privately purchased vaccine – she’s not against it, but she does encourage being smart about it so that we keep our dogs safe.
What the Veterinarian (Dr. Jonathan Woodman) Has to Say
Wow! Another vet that has no issues with people giving vaccinations to their own pets – this is not what I expected. Dr. Woodman brought up many of the points that Dr. Alinovi covered and also mentioned that if we’re administering our own vaccinations solely to save money, we may be risking our dogs’ health if we choose to use the cheapest vaccinations available and fail to understand what we’re vaccinating against.
As dog parents, we need to take the time to become properly educated and this starts with having a conversation with our veterinarian. Our vet can keep us up to date on vaccines; help us determine what is needed, educate us on reaction rates. Dr. Woodman shared that a vaccination appointment is a great way to get families in so that he can examine their pets on a regular basis and discuss any health or nutrition concerns with pet parents.
This is a perspective that I didn’t even consider and the reason why I love being a pet blogger. Consider me happily enlightened.
What are your thoughts about vaccinating pets at home?