If you're getting a new puppy, you might be tempted to let it roam about the house before it's had all of its shots. It may not have the full range of immunity it needs to fight off pathogens and keep themselves & others well.
Exposing your pet to other animals while they are still susceptible to illness carries certain hazards.
What dangers do pups pose when you give them access to your cat? When's the right time? What steps must they take before they can actually meet?
Before being vaccinated, let's learn more about the safety of canines keeping company among cats.
What Shots Do Puppies Need?
Puppies need shots to prevent disease. Let’s be honest. But which ones are necessary?
During the first several months of their life, these are broken down into a series of "prime shots" and "booster injections." This allows their mother's protective immunity, which interferes with the puppy's immunization, to fade while her own immune system fully develops with their actual "vaccine."
The American Kennel Club (AKC) advises that, “The core vaccines include the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Your pup will also need a rabies vaccination... (Some clinics include the cost of the rabies vaccination.).”
But what does each of these possible diseases you’re protecting against do?
Distemper - A viral illness that can lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation, or death.
Hepatitis - A severe, contagious viral disease in dogs that is caused by the canine adenovirus, this virus primarily attacks the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, the lining of blood vessels and occasionally other organs.
Leptospirosis - A bacterial disease that causes liver and kidney damage as well as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, muscle pain and jaundice in dogs.
Parvovirus - A highly contagious and deadly disease that affects the intestines, heart, blood cells, and spleen of dogs.
Parainfluenza - A highly contagious respiratory virus that is commonly associated with tracheobronchitis in dogs, this disease is also known as canine cough.
Rabies - A virus that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted through saliva or tissue from an infected animal.
The cost of the DLHPP with a rabies shot typically ranges from $75 to $125. Buying a pet health plan from an insurance company that specializes in pet insurance is another approach to reduce the cost of puppy health and wellness fees.
Health plans also cover basic and preventative care services including annual wellness checks, spaying/neutering, standard dental care, microchip implantation, and more in addition to vaccinations.
Typically, a puppy's first round of vaccinations starts between 6 and 8 weeks of age, and new shots and boosters are given every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is 16 to 17 weeks old. Some puppies may need an additional booster at around 20 weeks of age! It really depends on your dog's specific needs.
Playing with "unfamiliar dogs": As long as there aren't too many and they don't exhibit any overt symptoms of illness or poor health, puppies can normally start to broaden their circle of pals after this visit to include new dogs (such as dogs you meet on walks).
Vaccine side effects can occur in some dogs, so keep an eye out for any strange signs or behaviors. You and your physician will work closely to create the most efficient vaccination program for your new puppy that will lower his or her risk of catching diseases.
When Is It Safe for Puppies to Be Around Cats?
Can puppies who haven't had all of their vaccinations be near cats? The answer to this varies.
Puppies under 16 weeks old should generally stay away from cats since there is a high risk of infection. However, there shouldn't be any issues with interaction between the two animals if the cat has received a rabies vaccination and has been completely immunized.
But, you shouldn't just think about rabies when it comes to your cat. The immunizations, flea and tick medications, and deworming treatments for your cat should all be current. But when your dog's vaccines haven't had time to take effect, there are some diseases to be careful of.
These diseases include those that are transmitted by cats, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
What are the risks? This is the more crucial issue to think about.
If a dog contracts a sickness from a cat, it can take months or even years for the dog to show signs. This implies that it's not always simple to pin down the source that caused an animal to contract a virus like parvovirus or feline distemper virus. After being exposed to these viruses, previously healthy pets might become gravely ill within a few days.
In some situations, it's likely that a pet came into contact with an infected cat while walking down the street and then brought the virus back home without initially exhibiting any symptoms of disease.
Through licking and sniffing, your puppy will come into contact with the cat's hair and saliva, which is enough to make them sick. Additionally, cats can transmit parasites to your puppy. Until their vaccination schedule is complete, the best way to protect your pet against not only feline diseases, but all pathogens of the like is to keep them away from other animals.
The danger varies depending on the virus or bacteria that are being spread. Some are worse for dogs than others, while others are worse for cats. It's crucial to consult your veterinarian about the dangers of bringing an unvaccinated dog into a home with a cat so you can make an informed choice.
How to Introduce a Puppy to a Cat
It might be challenging to get a cat used to a new puppy. But with the proper strategy and actions, everything should happen without a hitch. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, while it's never simple, introducing a new pet doesn't have to be stressful.
The following are some pointers for doing it successfully:
Make sure your puppy's vaccines are at least halfway complete before introducing them to your cat for the first time to ensure a seamless introduction. In this manner, your pet won't be as at risk if the cat contracts an infection.
The second thing to bear in mind is that it's usually best to introduce cats and dogs when they're still very young since they tend to get along better. Older animals might not be as eager or willing to welcome a new canine into their domain.
Another thing to consider is that, if you already have a dog, your cat may perceive it as a threat and become aggressive against both animals. To avoid a stressful or hostile meeting, it would definitely be preferable to reintroduce your dogs one at a time before bringing them all together.
After some time apart, if both animals appear equally accepting of one another, introduce them gradually by confining one while allowing the other to wander free in a room. Increase their exposure progressively until they are able to interact face-to-face without being constrained or in any danger.
If the dog and cat are getting along well, you can ask the dog to sit or lie down and remain (if it knows these signs) so that the cat can feel free to walk around and smell the dog as desired. Dogs who ignore cats deserve praise and rewards.
You should try using alternative techniques if the dog is very obsessed with the cat (for instance, if the cat looks at you, displays stiff body language, or does not respond when you call its name) or if it swoops and attempts to chase the cat.
These are generalizations, keep in mind. If they are socialized as pups and trained to ignore the cat, the majority of canine breeds can live in harmony with felines. Having your dog learn the commands "leave it" and "stay" might assist maintain order.
Additionally, it's a good idea to make sure the cat always has a method to leave and that proper introductions are made. If you're not certain there won't be any issues, never leave your new dog alone with your cat.
When you are sure that they are getting along, supervise them. Only let your dog off the leash when you know that he is not reacting or attempting to pursue your cat. Ensure that your cats can escape if they become angry and that they have access to places where dogs can’t follow.
We all love our fur babies and want everyone to get along, but when and how everyone is introduced to each other is key. Ensuring the safety of all loved ones is a top priority. Be mindful of the signs when you introduce your cat and dogs or else it could lead to some potential mass hysteria. Nobody wants that.
And make sure your dog has the right vaccinations before meeting any feline friends.
If you’re ready to bring home your newest fur-ever friend to introduce them to your kitty, check out JLDD’s multitude of wonderful pups and start your application today!
Jenna and the JLDD Team