Can Unvaccinated Puppies be Around Vaccinated Dogs

Can Unvaccinated Puppies be Around Vaccinated Dogs? [are vaccinations bad for dogs?]

Pet owners may wonder if there is a risk when you have an unvaccinated puppy around a vaccinated dog? Is there a chance the unvaccinated puppy will get sick? The answer is yes, they can.

Since the early 1900’s the medical profession has been using vaccines on dogs to prevent them from getting Bordetella Bronchiseptica, Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus (parvo), Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Rabies, Lyme disease, and other illnesses.

are vaccinations bad for dogs
Are Vaccinations Bad for Dogs?

Are Puppies Born With Natural Protection From Diseases?

There is something called maternal antibodies that puppies get from their mother while they are still in the womb. It can last up to around three months or so after birth and it helps protect the puppy against diseases. 

This will help protect the puppy from diseases for several months to maybe a little longer depending on the individual dog.

Puppies Immune System

At some point though, usually by the 16th week, there are no protective antibodies left from the puppy’s mother in their bloodstream. 

Puppies Immune System
Puppies Immune System

So yes, you could have a vaccinated dog around an unvaccinated puppy and they may not get sick. But your young dog’s immune system is not perfect.

It’s possible that if given enough exposure to an infected dog while being unprotected themselves, your puppies may catch something.

When Should Puppies Get Their First Shots?

New puppy owners should contact their vet right away for recommendations on puppy vaccinations. In general, vets usually start the first round of vaccinations at six to eight weeks of age.

They will probably set up a puppy vaccination schedule for you with a recommended series of shots that take place during the first year of the puppy’s life.

When Should Puppies Get Their First Shots
When Should Puppies Get Their First Shots?

NOTE: Keep in mind that if you purchased your puppy from a breeder or you adopted from an animal shelter they may have already gotten some or all of their needed shots.

Make sure you ask and also get a copy of any existing medical records for your new pup!

What Types of Shots Should My Puppy Get?

There is a large variety of shots your veterinarian may recommend for your new puppy. In general, every dog will not need to be immunized against all possible ailments.

Your vet will customize your puppies shot regiment based on several factors including:

  • Age of your dog
  • Their living environment
  • Any health issues they may have
  • If they will be traveling and to where
  • How often they are exposed to other dogs 

How Much Do Puppy Shots Cost?

The cost of shots for your puppy’s first year of life can vary by where you live and where you get the shots. If a shelter administers the shots it is usually much less expensive.

How Much Do Puppy Shots Cost
How Much Do Puppy Shots Cost?

In general, first-year puppy shots can cost between $100 and $200 based on a survey of several vets we called.

How Long Do Puppy Shots Stay Effective?

Most puppy shots will be effective for about a year but it can vary based on what the shot is for.

Remember, an adult dog needs the protection of a vaccination to help fight off diseases.

How Do I Know If My Dog Needs to Be Re-Vaccinated?

Always consult your vet for specific guidance concerning how often your dog should get immunizations.

There are differing opinions about how often a dog should be vaccinated throughout its life.

What are the Risks for Unvaccinated Puppies When in Contact with a Vaccinated Dog?

The key here is the word ‘vaccinated’ and what that means to different dog owners. 

Since it is very difficult to really know if a dog has been fully vaccinated (and when) by simply asking the dog’s owner it is better to err on the side of caution.

Contact your vet and ask but it makes sense to just keep your healthy puppy away from other dogs until they are fully vaccinated and protected.

Ways to Protect an Unvaccinated Puppy

The risk of catching something from another dog will be lower if:

  • The other dog has been completely vaccinated for more than two weeks.
  • Your dog does not come in direct contact with the other dog (is that even possible?)
  • The two dogs stay more than five feet apart at all times.
  • Don’t let the two dogs play with each other. Avoid public places.
  • Don’t take your unvaccinated puppy to dog parks, doggie daycare, or boarding kennels.
  • Avoid unvaccinated dogs of all ages

Is It Healthy For a New Puppy to Be Sheltered from Other Animals?

This is a great question! There is always a risk versus reward type of scenario. 

While your natural instinct is to protect your puppies’ health, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has published some interesting information on this very topic!

They point out that the most important time of a dog’s life is the first three months as far as socialization goes.

Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters.

Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age. 

While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem.

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Definitely something to keep in mind! Again, ask your local vet for guidance.

Related Puppy Vaccination Questions

What are the Risks of Not Vaccinating My Puppy?

The consequences of not vaccinating your dog can be serious.

Most veterinarians state that if a puppy is not vaccinated at a young age they will be much more susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases.

Many of these diseases could lead to serious health issues or even death.

While prevention is important, keep in mind that many diseases are highly contagious. If one dog in a home is infected, the entire household will likely be exposed. 

This could lead to every unvaccinated dog in the house becoming an infected dog. 

While it is true that young dogs have a stronger immune system than older dogs it is still important to get them immunized.  

What Age Should a Puppy Get a Rabies Shot?

Rabies shots are considered one of the core vaccines for a puppy and it is usually recommended they get one around 14 to 16 weeks of age.

Are Rabies Vaccinations Required by Law?

The state you live in will have its own legal requirements as to when a dog should have their rabies shots. Contact your local veterinarian for guidance as they will know all the details.

Will Being Vaccinated Mean My Dog Won’t Get Sick?

No, it is still possible for them to get sick even if they have been immunized.

Can a Fully Vaccinated Dog Get Parvo?

Yes! A dog that has gotten all its recommended vaccinations can still get Parvovirus. Parvo vaccines are not a guarantee. 

Can a Fully Vaccinated Dog Get Parvo
Can a Fully Vaccinated Dog Get Parvo?

That is why it makes sense to limit how much exposure your dog has to other dogs.

What Are The Symptoms of Parvo?

Since your dog can still get a parvovirus infection even if they have all the core puppy vaccines it is important to know the signs of parvovirus.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, these are the signs of parvovirus.

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Diarrhea (could be bloody)
  • Vomiting
  • Fever or Low Body Temperature

If you suspect your dog may have parvovirus contact your vet immediately as they could go into shock and die. Death can occur within 48 to 72 hours of the first symptoms showing up.

Can Unvaccinated Dogs Still Get Medical Treatment for Diseases?

Yes! Medical treatments for illnesses are always available from your vet whether your dog has been vaccinated or not against a particular disease.

Can Unvaccinated Cats Be Around Puppies?

Most experts agree that the biggest risk you could have with your puppy being around an unvaccinated cat is that of rabies. Rabies can easily be spread from a cat to a dog with a bite.

Can Unvaccinated Cats Be Around Puppies
Can Unvaccinated Cats Be Around Puppies?

If you want to protect your new puppy in the most effective way, keep them away from unvaccinated animals until they have their own vaccines.

Remember, rabies is a deadly disease and infects cats as well as dogs.

What are the Common Symptoms of Rabies in a Dog?

  • Change in personality
  • Drooling (excessively)
  • Fever
  • Trouble walking (unstable)
  • Seizures
  • Trouble eating and drinking (swallowing)

NOTE: Rabies can be transmitted from a dog or a cat to a human!

Can a Rabies Shot Kill a Dog?

Rabies shots can cause a variety of side effects in a dog which include:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Loss of Energy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

While most vets say a rabies shot is safe for your dog some people say there have been instances where the shot caused death.

Do Older Dogs Need Vaccines?

Most vets will suggest that older dogs still receive appropriate vaccinations but consult with your vet for guidance related to your particular dog.

Are Vaccinations Bad For Dogs?

As with any medical question, professionals have different opinions. It is possible there will be some side effects with dog vaccines but most agree the good outweighs the possible bad.

Many state laws require some vaccines for dogs. Your local veterinarian can help answer any specific questions you may have as they relate to your puppy.


It is not safe to expose puppies who have not been vaccinated yet to other dogs, however, it is okay for them to be around humans.

The best way to protect young puppies from a contagious disease is with vaccinations. 

 If you are considering adopting a puppy, it is important to understand how your dog will be protected via vaccinations. 

Some puppies may not have received all of their vaccinations yet and could infect other dogs in the household that are fully vaccinated for certain viruses. 

Taking precautions when introducing new pets into the home is a good idea. 

Contacting your vet as soon as possible and following your vet’s advice is the best way to protect your dog from a dangerous virus.

Can Unvaccinated Puppies be Around Vaccinated Dogs

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