One of the more common questions people ask after getting a Chihuahua is, “How often should I take my pet to the vet?” There is no definitive answer to this question. How often you should take your pet to the vet depends on how old the dog is, and whether it has any major health issues. If you have a puppy, the first year of life will require more visits than the average, healthy adult dog will need to make.
I take my dogs in twice a year for six month checkups and booster shots, but once a year may be enough if you have a very healthy dog. Since dogs have much shorter lives than the average human, taking your dog into the vet once a year means they are only going in to see the doc every seven years if thought of in “dog-years.” As they age, they may require more frequent vet visits.
It is almost impossible to get an average price for what it will cost to take a puppy to the vet for the first year of life. There are too many variables such as, is the puppy from a reputable breeder and disease free when it comes home? How much do the vets in your local area charge for checkups, vaccinations, and general care? Will the dog need to be on a special diet for any reason, and how many other pets do you have in the home that also need vet care? Owning a very small dog can be a big financial commitment. There are agencies available to help with the cost of vaccinations. You may also want to consider getting on a preventative health care plan with your vet or opting to buy pet insurance for your Chi.
Vaccinations should be given to puppies beginning at six weeks old and then every three to four weeks thereafter until all have been administered. The exact schedule will be decided by your vet, based on how much your dog weighs, how healthy it is and what vaccinations are required for the area you live in.
In very tiny dogs, the vet may decide to wait until the dog is a little older, such as eight weeks or so before giving the vaccines to reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. Vaccines for K-9’s have come a long way in the previous twenty years, but some very small dogs still might be sensitive to them. If your dog begins breathing heavily, seems terribly lethargic, is wheezing, suddenly has very watery eyes or extreme tremors, contact your veterinarian right away. Although vaccine reactions in dogs are not common, it can happen and it can be fatal if not treated properly.
Which shots should my Chi get? There are 2 main combo shots that are given to puppies. The first is the 5-in-one. It contains the vaccinations for hepatitis, canine-distemper, parvovirus, para influenza and adenovirus. Or, there is the 7-in-1 combo shot which contains all of the above listed vaccines as well as two types of leptospirosis vaccines.
Where you live and if you plan to travel with your pet will help the vet make the decision which shots and how often the Chi will need them. Certain vaccinations are only needed for particular parts of the country. Rabies shots should be administered between three and four months of age, and will be followed by a yearly booster thereafter.
There are additional vaccines your vet may choose to administer such as the Bordatella shot to prevent Kennel Cough.
When you take your Chi to the vet as a puppy, please keep him or her in a carrier, pet bag or on your lap. Many animals with a variety of maladies go through the vet’s office each day. Your very young Chi is still building its immune system and may become sick if it comes into contact with another sick dog or bacteria on the floor of the vet’s office. It is always a good idea to keep your dog from interaction with other people’s animals until you have had your puppy fully vaccinated.
If you wish, you may choose to vaccinate your dog at home. This may be easier on the dog, as they do not have to venture into an unfamiliar territory to get their shots. Initially, you may be nervous about vaccinating your dog on your own, but the process is really quite simple and with every time you do it you will find it is a little easier than the previous time.
Most of the common vaccines are given subcutaneously, or just under the skin. You simply pinch up the skin over either shoulder on the dog and slowly administer the correct amount of vaccine until it has all been injected. You should immediately throw away the needle when you are finished with it. Never reuse a vaccination needle. If you see blood coming up the tip of the needle and into the syringe, reposition the needle as this is an indication that you have struck a vessel.
You will not be able to give the rabies vaccine yourself. This under law must be given by a veterinarian.
Check with your veterinarian and read all product guidelines before administering any shot to your pet as things like weight and age can vary the amount needed to successfully vaccinate your animal.