Can I give Puppy Vaccines At Home?

If you know me, you know that I’m pro-vaccination for dogs. I believe that, before meeting other dogs or going to a dog park, your puppy should have all their shots. It’s the best way to ensure that they don’t catch, and suffer from, many communicable doggy diseases.

I was thinking about this subject the other day when one of my readers asked me my opinion on dog vaccinations. I told them exactly what I said just a moment ago, that I believe they should get them without fail.

That same person then asked me something I haven’t heard very often: Can I give puppy vaccines at home?

The answer, surprisingly, is that yes, there are several vaccinations you can purchase and administer to your puppy in your own home. Frankly, though, many veterinarians will tell you that they’re against home vaccinations. 

However, you take several risks when giving your puppy vaccinations at home. 

One of them is they can suffer an adverse reaction to the shot, which would mean you have to take them to the vet anyway. Another is that, without experience, you could hurt your pup. Also, in almost all states, it’s legally required that you have a veterinarian give your puppy their rabies vaccination. 

Now that you know you can give your puppy some vaccines at home, I’m betting you have other questions about this essential task. For example, how to give your puppy their shots at home, and where do you get the vaccines to do it?

If yes, read on for the answers to those questions and several more. I’ve got them for you below, plus advice and tips on how to give vaccinations to your puppy. (And why it’s best to leave it to a vet.)

Is it Safe to Vaccinate a Puppy at Home?

If your puppy trusts you and you have a modicum of skill, administering some of their vaccinations at home can be safe. There are, however, several things that you should be aware of and avoid. They include:

  • Verifying that the vaccine you purchased is the correct vaccine and was also handled correctly from the manufacturer to your home. For example, some vaccines need to be refrigerated properly, and if they aren’t, they won’t be effective.
  • Be sure to check the vaccine’s expiration date. If you find it has expired, you should dispose of it correctly and purchase another new and non-expired vaccine.
  • Some puppies might react to a vaccination. If they do, having access to a 24/7 veterinarian is essential, especially if their reaction is severe.
  • Administering the vaccine should be done correctly and in the correct location on your puppy’s body.

How to Give Puppy Shots at Home

There are several steps to administering a vaccination to your puppy at home. Some are much easier than others, as you’ll see below.

  1. Purchase a puppy vaccination pack from a  reputable retailer. These packs typically contain everything you need to administer your puppy’s vaccines at home, including the hypodermic needle, vials with the vaccine, and paperwork explaining the process.
  2. Keep the vaccination pack in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. If you purchase your vaccination pack online, make sure that it arrives at your home in a container that has kept it cold.
  3. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by the vaccine manufacturer. You should read their instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
  4. Determine which shots are subcutaneous, which means under the skin, and intramuscular, which means injected into one of your puppy’s muscles. One thing to note is that most vaccines are not intramuscular, which is a good thing because they can be painful.
  5. Take the protective cap off the syringe included in your vaccination pack, being careful not to stab yourself with it. (It happens.)
  6. Push the syringe’s needle into the container of liquid diluent, which is the liquid that mixes with the vaccine powder. Draw up enough diluent liquid until it reaches the limit recommended in the instructions.
  7. With the diluent liquid in the syringe, insert the needle into the vial of vaccinations powder. Push down on the plunger and make sure all the liquid goes into the vial.
  8. Pick up the vial with the diluent liquid and powder and shake it gently for a couple of minutes. Keep shaking the vial until all of the powder is dissolved.
  9. Open a new syringe and remove the protective cap.
  10. Push the needle into the vial with the mixture of diluent liquid and vaccinations powder and pull the plunger until the syringe is filled with the correct amount of vaccine.
  11.  Place your puppy in a lying position on the floor or a stable table. Some vets recommend tucking them lightly under your arm. Keep in mind that you need to keep your puppy still when injecting the vaccine to inject it correctly.
  12. Grab your puppy by a small amount of loose skin at the injection site.
  13. Wipe the skin with an alcohol wipe or cotton ball with alcohol.
  14. Slide the needle gently into your pup’s skin, keeping it raised as you do. (For a thigh injection, release their skin after the needle is inside.
  15. Pull back on the syringe slightly. If you see blood, you’ve hit a vein and will need to remove the needle and try again.
  16. If there’s no blood, push down the plunger on the syringe slowly and surely until all the vaccine has been injected.
  17. Massage the injection site gently for about 30 to 40 seconds.
  18. Dispose of the needle and other products in the correct container. (I recommend placing the cap back on the tip.)
  19. Monitor your pup for reactions for the next 24 hours.

Pros and Cons of Puppy Shots at Home

There are two pros and several cons of giving your puppy their vaccination shots at home.

PROs

  • You will save a small amount of money.
  • You will save several trips going back and forth to your veterinarian.

CONs

  • Unless you have experience, there is a risk when giving any type of shot to your puppy. (Even if you have experience, there’s a risk.)
  • There is a higher chance that the vaccine you receive was not kept cool somewhere along the line and might be ineffective.
  • Getting rid of syringes and needles after vaccinating your puppy isn’t the easiest thing to do. 
  • Your puppy might have an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine, which would demand immediate veterinary help.
  • Except for possible receipts from your vaccine pack, you won’t have any record from a licensed veterinarian that your puppy was vaccinated. 

Where Do I get Vaccines for my Puppy to Do at Home?

There are several online options for purchasing puppy vaccination packs. You can also get them from some big box pet stores and feed and pet supply stores. Some online sources include Petkit, Petco, Allivet, and others.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can give your puppy vaccines at home. My opinion, however, is that you should leave this critical task to an expert, your local veterinarian. Unless you’re a health professional or possibly a dog breeder, you simply won’t have the skill or knowledge to do it correctly. (No offense.)

Another fact to remember is that administering your puppy’s vaccines at home typically won’t save you that much money. From what I’ve seen over the years, you might be able to save between 20% and 30% of the cost of having your puppy vaccinated by your local veterinarian. 

Going even further, having your veterinarian administer your puppy’s vaccines ensures that they’re as safe as possible in case of allergic or other types of reaction. Plus, your veterinarian will keep records on your puppy’s vaccinations should the need arise in the future to prove that they’ve been vaccinated.

In any case, I hope today’s blog gave you all of the information and answers you were seeking as to whether you can give your puppy their vaccines at home. Please see my other blogs if you have more or would like more information on raising your precious puppy. Until then, enjoy this precious time raising your pup. Trust me; it goes fast!