Can you vaccinate a pregnant female dog?



It is common for a dog's pregnancy to become an uncertain phase for many caregivers. All changes that appear week after week, and above all those that are not visible, such as the growth of puppies, lead to many veterinary consultations and extreme precautions to avoid fears.

Thus, in this dog57 article, we will explain whether a pregnant dog can be vaccinated or if it is better to leave it for another time. 

What are dog vaccinations?

Before explaining whether or not a pregnant dog can be vaccinated, it is important to be clear about what the vaccination is. Vaccination is a veterinary procedure that consists of administering, generally by injection, a preparation containing some pathogen that has been modified to prevent it from developing the disease.

This way, once vaccinated, the body creates defenses against it. Thus, if a dog in the natural environment comes into contact with some of the pathogens against which it has been vaccinated, its immune system will respond immediately, so it will not suffer from disease or will suffer from a very mild case. Without vaccination, your immune system's response may come too late. These are serious diseases, and are very contagious, especially for puppies, hence the importance of vaccination, which begins at around 6-8 weeks of age. 

What happens if a pregnant dog is vaccinated?

On the other hand, the pregnancy of bitches lasts for about two months, which is about 63 days on average. During that time, our mission is to provide you with the best care. These are determined in veterinary follow-up, according to this professional, a good diet and, in general, a stress-free life. The recommended diet is the diet designed for puppies, it is the one that covers all the needs of this period, as we explain in this other article about feeding a pregnant dog. Regular exercise and being calm are the other two keys that will help us to terminate the pregnancy successfully.

As for the possibility of vaccinating a pregnant dog, the fact is that pregnancy is a particularly sensitive period for any medication, including vaccinations. It is therefore not recommended to apply or administer any pharmaceutical or even anti-parasitic product without an express prescription from your vet.

This is because some substances succeed in crossing the placental barrier to reach the puppies in a developing state. Thus, if a pregnant dog is vaccinated, it may cause a miscarriage or fetal abnormalities. In addition, although rare, vaccines sometimes cause side effects such as fever or even allergic reactions, which are rarely serious.  

Can a pregnant dog be vaccinated?

Based on the data presented so far, in general, a pregnant dog cannot be vaccinated. We say in general because every vet should evaluate every case. The recommendation is always that the bitch deworms well and is vaccinated before pregnancy, but this is not possible in all cases. For example, if we pick up a pregnant abandoned dog, we cannot know her immune status or whether she has received any vaccinations.

Therefore, if your vet sees that your dog is at high risk of developing a disease, they can decide, and assess the risks and benefits, to vaccinate them. Of course, vaccines that do not contain live viruses are always used, as they can cross the protective barrier of the placenta. Before vaccination, it is advisable to deworm internally. Your vet will tell us when and which product.

Vaccination provides protection for the handicapped against serious diseases such as parvovirus or canine infection. About 7-10 days after the vaccination, a reaction occurs from the dog's immune system. After about two weeks, the maximum amount of antibodies will be reached. In addition, through timely vaccination, this protection can cover puppies that are carrying, especially through colostrum, so they will be in better immune conditions.

Can I vaccinate a pregnant dog against rabies?

We have already seen that under normal circumstances, a pregnant dog cannot be vaccinated. It is best to do this before, if possible, or wait until the maternal stage is over. If the bitch is well vaccinated and any revaccination coincides with the gestation period, then it will have to be postponed. But doubt may arise with the rabies vaccine. This is mandatory in many areas.

Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease, that is, it can be transmitted from animals, in this case, dogs to humans. Hence, giving rabies vaccinations has become a commitment in many countries as a way to protect not only vaccinated animals but public health as well. Failure to vaccinate a dog as required by law is considered an administrative offense that entails an economic fine.

For this reason, if our role is specifically to re-vaccinate our dog against rabies the moment she is pregnant, we would naturally have doubts. The recommendation is still not to vaccinate, but there are rabies vaccines that are suitable for pregnant dogs. As always, the decision to administer it or not is up to your vet.

This article is informational only, at we do not have the authority to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in case he is under any type of condition or discomfort.

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