Traveling with our dog or our cat is without any doubt a beautiful thing.
But there are also so many things to take into consideration when preparing for a journey with your pet, one of them is vaccinations.
Vaccinating your pet is an excellent gesture of love since vaccines protect him from extremely dangerous diseases.
Let’s find out how to vaccinate your dog and when you should do it.
What Is A Vaccine?
Just like for humans, a vaccine is an artificial substance that can provide an animal with immunity against disease-causing pathogens.
Vaccinations were created to prevent the development of diseases that can sometimes be lethal.
In the veterinary field, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) establishes what pets need a vaccine.
If you want your furry friend to be healthy and strong, vaccinating him is the most sensible thing you can do.
Are Vaccines Mandatory Or Not?
In many countries, there are no mandatory vaccinations for dogs.
This signifies that there are no administrative sanctions for those who decide not to vaccinate their pet.
However, according to WSAVA, some vaccinations are fundamental for a dog/cat’s well-being.
If you have a pet, it is strongly recommended that you get him vaccinated as soon as possible.
If your pet receives them, he will be contributing to the creation of the so-called ‘herd immunity‘ (also known as herd effect, or population immunity), which minimizes the possibility of infectious disease epidemics.
The Big Three: Vaccinations your Pet Needs
The three primary vaccinations, which your vet will surely provide your dog with, are against:
When Should I Vaccinate My Dog?
The first thing to do is to contact the vet who cares about your puppy’s health and who will be able to explain to you the necessary procedure for vaccinations both for when he is and isn’t traveling.
Some people erroneously believe that vaccinations are necessary only for puppies.
Although vaccines are indeed more frequent at an early age, it is necessary for your pet to be vaccinated all throughout his life in order to be wholly protected against infectious diseases.
Vaccinations and Traveling
Protecting our pet is one of our biggest responsibilities.
For this reason, it is essential to contact a trusted veterinarian to know what type of vaccinations are needed when going on holiday with your four-legged friend.
Vaccinating your pet will allow you to have everything under control and live a peaceful, relaxing holiday.
Here is a list of vaccines that your pet may need while traveling:
Rabies vaccination is mandatory if you want to go anywhere with your dog.
If he hasn’t already been vaccinated, you will need to prepare well in advance: in fact, your dog’s Health Certificate will state the exact date the vaccine was carried out.
Your dog needs his shot against rabies at least 3 weeks before departure.
This vaccine takes some time before it becomes effective in your dog’s circulation.
Therefore, if you have vaccinated your pet against rabies in January and you are planning to leave in March, there are no problems.
However, for some countries, having a stamp on your health card that asserts that your dog’s been vaccinated, isn’t enough.
In fact, they may require blood tests that prove whether the shot was effective and whether the dog has developed a sufficiently high amount of antibodies (so that he cannot contract or transmit rabies).
2. Kennel Cough
Although it is not always required, it is advisable to vaccinate your pet against kennel cough before a trip.
Such contagious respiratory disease is caused by stress (probably due to the new environment he is suddenly plunged into).
3. Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, and Leptospirosis
Vaccines are effective a few days after their administration (except for rabies), so it will be necessary to vaccinate your dog at least three or five days before the trip to have his health under control.
Although they are not mandatory, it is advisable to vaccinate your dog against the most common diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and leptospirosis.
Protecting your dog is just as important as respecting the laws of the country that you’re visiting.
Make sure you also protect your dog against echinococcosis.
This infection is caused by tapeworm parasites.
Unfortunately, it can also affect humans and cause diseases.
Dogs can quickly get tapeworm: this is why many countries require treatment up to three days before the trip.
In the first weeks of life, kittens are protected from diseases thanks to their mother’s milk.
In fact, the mother’s colostrum is rich in antibodies that protect her kitten’s health.
However, when the kitten is seven weeks old, the protection provided by the mother’s milk becomes less and less effective.
As a consequence, it becomes essential to subject your cat to all the vaccinations that are useful for its health.
The right age for your cat’s first vaccination is around 2-3 months.
This is usually followed by more shots 2 or 4 weeks after the first vaccine. After that, your cat will need to be vaccinated annually.
To vaccinate your cat, you need to go to a veterinarian.
Before vaccination begins, the veterinarian will firstly carry out thorough checks to see whether your pet is in good health.
Furthermore, your vet will take into consideration some factors (age of the cat, the environment in which it lives, lifestyle, the owner’s needs, the spread of diseases according to the geographical area).
This will allow him to recommend any additional vaccinations that most suit your situation.
The veterinarian will provide you with a vaccination record book, which will state the type of vaccinations your cat has been subjected to, the recommended dates for vaccine recalls, the treatments your cat has received, and any surgical operations.
You should always keep your cat’s record book just in case you go on vacation, go to the vet, or if he changes owner.
There are three mandatory vaccinations. These include vaccines for:
Given the danger of these diseases, all cats should receive these mandatory vaccines.
In addition to the three mandatory vaccinations, other non-basic vaccines are useful for protecting cats against other diseases such as chlamydiosis and feline leukemia virus (FeLV).
In any case, it will always be your vet’s responsibility to advise you which other vaccinations may be imperative for your cat’s health.
Your vet’s advice will be mostly based on your cat’s lifestyle.
The cat can also be vaccinated against feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).
However, this is a reasonably new vaccination: much debate has started in regards to the real benefits it can guarantee to cats’ health.
On the other hand, cats’ vaccination against rabies is not mandatory in all countries.
However, if you are traveling around Europe with your cat, anti-rabies is mandatory (in fact, all countries belonging to the European Union require this vaccine).
Therefore, before you leave for any trip, make sure you do some research and ask the local health authority for information on what type of vaccines your pet needs.
Unfortunately, for some hazardous diseases such as feline immunodeficiency (FIV), there are still no vaccines.