How to Get Shots For a Stray Dog

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If you have recently taken in a stray dog you must ensure that she is healthy and up to date with all her shots. Unfortunately, a stray dog doesn’t come with instructions or medical history, so knowing which shots he needs is a bit tricky. With help from a veterinarian or local animal shelter you will be able to determine the best course of action to take to assess the dog’s health and have the necessary shots administered.

Take the stray dog to a veterinarian. If you are not sure which veterinarian to choose, call your local animal shelter and ask which one they recommend. It is important for the dog to have a thorough exam by a licensed veterinarian before getting him shots because his current state of health will determine whether or not he can receive any shots at all.

Ask the veterinarian to check the dog's vaccine titers. A vaccine titer is a blood test which will reveal whether the dog is protected against diseases. Once you have this information, you and the veterinarian can discuss which shots the dog needs. Vaccine titer tests are a bit pricey. If you decide to forgo the titer test it is normally recommended that the dog receive two distemper combination vaccinations three to four weeks apart as well as a rabies vaccine.

Allow the veterinarian or vet technician to administer the dog's shots.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't afford to pay for shots, contact an animal rescue center, adoption center or animal shelter. Sometimes these organizations will help you get the dog vaccinated for free or at a low cost if you use the veterinarian they recommend and agree to keep the dog forever.
  • If you notice the stray dog is stressed, wait a few days before having him vaccinated. Stress can put a strain on the immune system and vaccinations actually put the immune system into overdrive. The combination of the two is not good for the dog's health.

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