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4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Vaccinate Your Dog or Cat Yourself

Why You Shouldn’t Vaccinate Your Dog or Cat on Your Own (Without a Vet)

When money is tight, pet parents may consider vaccinating their pets themselves as a cost-saving measure. While the intention to keep pets safe from infectious diseases is commendable, it’s essential to understand why having a veterinarian administer vaccines is the best choice for your pet.

Why Do People Try to Vaccinate Pets Without Vets?

Saving money is a primary reason pet parents attempt to vaccinate their pets. Purchasing a vaccine over the counter and administering it themselves avoids the service fee charged by veterinarians. For those with multiple pets, especially breeders, this can seem like a significant savings. Convenience is another factor; some pets become stressed at the vet’s office, and transporting multiple pets can be a hassle.

1. The Importance of the Veterinary-Patient Relationship

A good veterinary examination is invaluable. During vaccine appointments, veterinarians perform a thorough physical examination to ensure there are no underlying health issues. Vets create a customized wellness plan, including which vaccines are necessary based on your pet’s lifestyle. For example, a dog that hikes regularly might benefit from additional vaccines that an indoor dog wouldn’t need.

Veterinarians use software to track vaccine schedules, ensuring your pet stays up-to-date. Tracking vaccinations on your own can lead to missed or late doses, putting your pet at risk. Additionally, some pets may not be good vaccine candidates due to health issues, which a vet can assess.

2. Adverse Reactions to Vaccines

Like any medical treatment, vaccines carry the risk of side effects. Most side effects are minor, such as tenderness or mild swelling at the injection site. However, serious reactions like anaphylaxis can occur. In a veterinary clinic, immediate response to severe allergic reactions is possible, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome. At home, such reactions can be fatal.

3. Improper Storage or Handling of the Vaccine

Vaccines must be stored in a temperature-controlled environment from the manufacturer to the point of administration. Improper storage can reduce the vaccine's efficacy. Veterinarians know how to store and monitor vaccines properly. When purchasing and storing vaccines at home, there’s no guarantee they are being handled correctly.

4. The Acceptability of Vaccination Records

Many boarding, grooming, and daycare facilities require proof of vaccination from a veterinarian. At-home vaccinations are often not accepted. Some cities and landlords may also require official vaccination records. Additionally, if a pet vaccinated by a vet falls ill, some vaccine companies may cover medical costs, but this is unlikely with at-home vaccinations.

The Importance of Vaccines for Dogs and Cats

Vaccines are the most effective way to protect pets from infectious diseases and protect public health. Even if you have a one-pet household and don’t visit dog parks, diseases can still be transmitted by wildlife. Having vaccines administered by veterinary staff ensures they are handled and administered correctly, maximizing their effectiveness.

Working With Your Veterinarian to Vaccinate Your Pet

Finding a veterinarian who understands your lifestyle and your pet’s needs is crucial. Working with a vet allows you to develop a vaccine schedule that is both convenient and effective.

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