Can puppies have side effects from vaccinations? A Step-by-Step Guide

How many pets develop serious side effects to vaccines?

There is always some level of risk associated with veterinary procedures and vaccinations are no exception. But, the risk of your pet actually having a serious side effect to a vaccine is very minimal. However, it can be scary for the owners of a pet that does develop a side effect.

Which Puppies Are Most At Risk?

Any puppy can have a bad reaction, or have nasty side effects from any vaccination.

But there are also a variety of risk factors that mean some puppies and dogs have a higher chance of reacting badly.

Research shows that young, male, small breed puppies (or dogs) who receive multiple vaccinations are at the top end of the scale when it comes to risk.

They are the group most likely to show adverse reactions to puppy shots and/or booster shots, both in the short term and long term.

Specific breeds who are at a higher-risk for vaccination reactions include:

  • Akita
  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Harlequin Great Dane
  • Irish Setter
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Miniature Dachshund
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner
  • Purebred dogs with certain coat colors also seem to have more chance of vaccine reactions, including:

    A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple weeks. If it persists more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact your veterinarian.

    It is common for pets to experience some or all of the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the vaccination. If these side effects last for more than a day or two, or cause your pet significant discomfort, it is important for you to contact your veterinarian:

    More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies.

    Always inform your veterinarian if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. If in doubt, wait for 30-60 minutes following vaccination before taking your pet home.

    Vaccine Reactions in Dogs

    Are you wondering what the most common reactions to vaccines are in dogs and what you should do to handle them? Our Westport vets answer questions we often receive from our clients.