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Dog Behavior Change After Vaccination

If your dog has just received their vaccination, it's not uncommon to notice some temporary behavior changes. In this article, our San Diego vets discuss some possible behavior changes you may see following your dog's vaccination.

Vaccinations & Your Dog's Health

As a responsible dog owner, it is crucial to keep up with their vaccinations. When it comes to protecting your furry friend from a range of serious and highly contagious diseases, this is the best method of prevention.

Pet owners can encounter significant costs and even the loss of their pets due to illnesses, including rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to these diseases, which can become fatal. That's why vaccinating your pup is so much more effective than trying to treat a dog's illnesses.

Common Behavior Changes After Vaccinations

Let's say your dog's behavior after their rabies vaccination seems to change, should you worry? While these changes may seem alarming, it is important to remember that they are generally temporary, and the only cause for concern would be if the behavior persists for more than a day or two. Here are a few common behavior changes you may notice following your dog's vaccination:

  • Decreased Appetite - Vaccinations can temporarily affect a dog's appetite. If your pet seems less interested in eating immediately after receiving shots, it is often nothing to be overly concerned about. Ensure they have access to fresh water and monitor their eating habits. If the reduced appetite persists for more than a day or two, consult your veterinarian.
  • Mild Discomfort - In some cases, dogs may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the injection site. They might exhibit signs of sensitivity when touched or may avoid putting weight on the affected leg, especially if the vaccine was administered in the leg region. This discomfort usually subsides within a few days.
  • Lethargy - Some dogs may experience lethargy or fatigue after vaccinations. This is a natural response as the body diverts energy to build an immune response. Allowing your dog time to rest and recover is crucial during this period. On the other hand, If your puppy is hyper after a vaccination, you can just chalk that up to them being a puppy!

What May Be Causing Behavioral Changes

Different factors can contribute to the behavioral changes you might observe in your dog following their vaccinations. It is essential to consider the following factors when evaluating your dog's response to the vaccines they have received:

  • Vaccine Components - Vaccines contain specific components, such as adjuvants or preservatives, to enhance their effectiveness and shelf life. In rare cases, dogs may exhibit allergic reactions to these components, leading to more pronounced behavioral changes. Discuss any concerns with your veterinarian to ensure the right vaccines are administered.
  • Stress and Anxiety - Veterinary visits, including vaccinations, can induce stress and anxiety in dogs. The anticipation of discomfort, strange environments, or unfamiliar people can trigger temporary changes in behavior. Comforting your dog with gentle reassurance and positive reinforcement can help alleviate stress during these visits.
  • Individual Sensitivity - Some dogs may be more susceptible to experiencing behavioral changes, while others may show no noticeable difference.

Do I need to see a vet?

If your dog or puppy is acting weird after a shot they have received, these symptoms should go away after a day or two. However, some situations may require veterinary attention if they last longer than this period. Contact a veterinarian if you notice:

  • Allergic Reactions - If your dog exhibits signs of an allergic reaction, such as excessive swelling, difficulty breathing, or vomiting, seek emergency veterinary care. Allergic reactions are rare but can be serious.
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior - If your dog displays unusual behavior unrelated to the common changes mentioned earlier, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can help determine if the behavior is vaccine-related or stems from another health concern.
  • Severe or Prolonged Behavior Changes - If your dog's behavior changes are severe, persist for an extended period, or worsen over time, consult your veterinarian. These changes could indicate an adverse reaction or an unrelated underlying issue.

Vaccinations for Your Dog

It is quite common for dogs to experience behavioral changes after vaccinations, which are usually harmless. Don't let these temporary side effects prevent you from getting your dog the vaccinations they need. As long as you keep an eye on them for the next few days, even if they do have unusual behavior, there is nothing to worry about.

If you have concerns about the safety of dog vaccinations, don't hesitate to contact your vet. They can evaluate your dog's general health, lifestyle, and risk factors, helping you make an informed decision that you think is best for your pup.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Looking to have your dog vaccinated? Contact our San Diego vets for more information or to book a consultation for your companion.

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Kearny Mesa Veterinary Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Diego companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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