How to Give a Puppy a Shot

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Vaccinating your own puppy can save a lot of time and money. There are many places to get puppy vaccination packs, which have the shots the puppy needs. However, be sure to buy these from a reputable supplier or pet store, either in person or online. Also, if giving a puppy a shot makes your squeamish at all, it will be best to have someone else on hand to help stabilize the puppy and provide support.

Things You'll Need

  • puppy shot pack helper (other person) rubbing alcohol cotton ball proper disposal container puppy's vaccination record

How to Give a Puppy a Shot

  • Decide where to give the shot. The shot can either be given in the fatty folds of skin in between the puppy's shoulder blades (behind its neck), or it can be given in the back thigh in the muscle tissue. For puppies, the back of the neck is usually the easiest because the puppy is easier to control. Use a cotton ball to rub some rubbing alcohol on the vaccination site.

  • Mix up the vaccination. Many shots come in separated into two parts: a liquid diluent and powder, which is the actual vaccination. First, use the needle and syringe to draw the liquid diluent into the syringe. Next, insert the needle into the powder vial and release the liquid diluent into the vial containing the powdered vaccination. Shake this up thoroughly and draw the mixture back into the syringe.

  • Test to make sure the needle isn't inserted into a vein. Pull the neck fold up (or flatten out the thigh, if given there), and gently insert the needle into the area below the skin. Slowly draw the syringe to make sure blood isn't drawn up unto the syringe. If it is, this means you have hit a vein and need to re-insert the needle. Do NOT give the vaccine into a vein!

  • Inject the vaccine. Once you have found an area that isn't a vein, push down on the syringe slowly and steadily to release the vaccine into the puppy. Do not do this quickly with one fast push, as it may startle the puppy. Remove the needle slowly once you're finished.

  • Massage the vaccine area. Gently rub the area of the shot gently with a few fingers before releasing the puppy. A small raised area may form at this site, but it will go down once it has been massaged for a few seconds. Praise the puppy in a calming voice.

  • Dispose of the materials properly. Most of the "puppy packs" or vaccinations bought for home use will come with a container for the needle, syringe, and other materials used during the vaccination process. Needles must be disposed of properly. You may need to check your state's individual regulations on legal disposing methods.

Tips & Warnings

  • Save the label on the vial for the puppy's vaccination record.
  • Do not give the vaccination into a vein!

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