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Dog Behavior Changes After Vaccination

There are far more benefits than risks to having your dog vaccinated. That said, some dogs will experience reactions or act weird after getting their shots. Read more about common reactions to vaccines in dogs, and how our Elk Grove vets can help in the event your dog's behavior changes after a vaccination.

Why should I get my dog vaccinated?

By ensuring your dog gets their vaccinations early in life and on a regular basis as an adult, you'll give your pooch the best chance to live a long, healthy life free of serious, highly contagious diseases. 

Vaccinations are essential to protecting your dog's health and preventing your pup from contracting numerous and potentially fatal diseases and conditions like hepatitis, rabies, and parvovirus. 

While you may hear some dog owners express concern over the safety of these vaccines, extensive research and testing have been done to ensure their safety. The risks related to the devastating illnesses these vaccines prevent outweigh any potential risks of vaccinations. It's always better to vaccinate against these diseases than to treat your pup for them after they have already manifested. 

That said, it's relatively common for a dog to experience certain behavioral changes after they've been vaccinated. Below, we'll share a few potential causes behind behavior changes in dogs after vaccines. 

What to Expect After Your Dog's Vaccinations 

You may notice your dog's behavior temporarily change after the rabies vaccination or other critical vaccines have been administered. While these changes may seem upsetting, it's important to remember they vary from dog to dog and should disappear after a short time. You may even notice your puppy becomes hyper after vaccinations. 

Here are some other responses you may notice in your dog after vaccinations:

  • Lethargy - Some dogs may feel lethargic or fatigued after vaccinations. This is a natural response to the vaccine as the body uses energy to build an immune response. It's critical to allow your dog time to rest and recover during this time. 
  • Decreased Appetite - Vaccinations can temporarily impact a dog's appetite. If your pooch seems less interested in eating immediately after they've received shots, this typically isn't out of the ordinary. Make sure they have access to fresh water and monitor their eating habits. If their decreased appetite persists for more than a day or two, contact your veterinarian. 
  • Mild Discomfort - In some cases, dogs may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the injection site. You may notice the area is sensitive to touch and your dog may avoid putting weight on the affected leg, especially if the vaccine site was in this region. This discomfort usually goes away within a few days. 

Why would my dog's behavior change after they receive a vaccination?

So why is your dog acting weird after their rabies shot or other vaccinations? Various factors can contribute to the behavioral changes you might observe in your dog following their vaccinations. It is essential to consider these factors when evaluating your dog's response to the vaccines they recently received:

  • Individual Sensitivity - Just like humans, dogs have different sensitivities and reactions to vaccines. Some dogs may be more susceptible to experiencing behavioral changes, while others may show no noticeable difference.
  • 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.

When You Should Seek Veterinary Care

While most behavioral changes after vaccinations are normal and resolve within a few days, some situations may require veterinary attention. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following:

  • 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.
  • 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. 

Should you have your dog vaccinated?

Behavioral changes in dogs following vaccinations are relatively common and typically harmless. Understanding the purpose of vaccinations, being aware of potential behavior changes, and monitoring your dog's well-being will help ensure a positive and healthy experience for your furry companion.

If you are concerned about the safety of dog vaccinations speak to your vet to determine whether your dog should your dog should be vaccinated. Your vet can assess your pup's overall health, lifestyle and risk factors to help you decide whether vaccinations are right for your dog.

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.

Is it time for your dog's routine vaccinations? Contact our Elk Grove vets today to book an appointment for your canine companion. 

New Patients Welcome at Bruceville Pet Hospital

We are happily accepting new patients at our conveniently located Elk Grove veterinary clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Reach out today to book your pet's first appointment.

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