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Dog Behavior Changes After Vaccination

After your pet receives their vaccinations, you may notice some changes in their behavior. In this article, our veterinarians in Franklin discuss dog behavior changes that can occur after vaccination (including rabies and other vaccines) and address common concerns of pet owners.

Vaccinations & Your Dog's Health

As a responsible pet owner, you should keep your dog's vaccinations up to date. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect your pet from a variety of serious and contagious diseases. Our veterinarians recommend vaccines as an important part of your pet's annual health plan. Although some people are concerned about the safety of vaccines, our veterinarians believe that the benefits outweigh the risks for most dogs.

Your dog's behavior might change after getting vaccinated. Here are some reasons why and what these changes could be.

Common Behavior Changes After Vaccinations

After getting their shots, many dogs may exhibit temporary changes in behavior that can vary from dog to dog. While these changes might seem worrying, knowing they are normal is important.

  • Decreased Appetite - Vaccinations can temporarily affect a dog's appetite. If your pet seems less interested in eating immediately after receiving shots, it is often nothing to be overly concerned about. Ensure they have access to fresh water and monitor their eating habits. If the reduced appetite persists for more than a day or two, consult your veterinarian.
  • Mild Discomfort -Sometimes, dogs may feel a little discomfort or soreness at the spot where they were injected with a vaccine. They might show sensitivity when touched or avoid putting weight on the affected leg, especially if the vaccine was given in the leg region. However, this discomfort usually goes away within a few days.
  • Lethargy - Some dogs may experience lethargy or fatigue after vaccinations. This is a natural response as the body diverts energy to build an immune response. Allowing your dog time to rest and recover is crucial during this period.

It should be noted that changes in behavior after vaccination is more common in puppies than in older dogs. This is because puppies have developing immune systems that may react more strongly to the vaccine, leading to temporary changes in behavior such as lethargy or increased restlessness.

Factors Influencing Behavioral Changes

Different factors can contribute to your dog or puppy acting weird following their rabies, or other, vaccinations and shots. It is essential to consider these factors when evaluating your dog's response to the vaccines they recently received:

  • Vaccine Components -Vaccines have certain elements like adjuvants or preservatives that make them more effective and increase their shelf life. However, some dogs may experience allergic reactions to these elements, which can result in noticeable changes in their behavior. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you may have to ensure that your pet receives the appropriate vaccines.
  • 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.
  • Individual Sensitivity - Some dogs may be more susceptible to behavioral changes, while others may show no difference.

Should I be worried about behavioral changes in my dog following vaccinations?

It is not uncommon for dogs to experience mild behavioral changes following vaccinations, such as those listed above (lethargy, decreased appetite, or soreness at the injection site). These symptoms typically resolve within a day or two and are considered normal reactions to the vaccine.

When to Seek Veterinary Advice

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:

  • Allergic Reactions - If your dog exhibits signs of an allergic reaction, such as excessive swelling, difficulty breathing, or vomiting, seek immediate veterinary care. Allergic reactions are rare but can be serious.
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior - If your dog displays unusual behavior that is not related to the common changes mentioned earlier, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian can determine if the behavior is caused by vaccination or another health concern.
  • Severe or Prolonged Behavior Changes - If your dog's behavior changes are severe (such as a puppy being incredibly hyper after vaccination for an extended period of time), persist for a long time, or worsen over time, consult your veterinarian. These changes could indicate an adverse reaction or an unrelated underlying issue.

Are vaccines right for your dog?

Most dogs may exhibit minor changes in behavior after receiving vaccinations. However, these changes are typically nothing to worry about. By understanding the purpose of vaccinations, being mindful of any potential changes in your dog's behavior, and taking good care of your furry companion, you can ensure that your dog remains happy and healthy. 

If you have any concerns about vaccinating your dog, it's best to speak to your veterinarian. They will consider your dog's individual health, habits, and potential risks to help you determine whether vaccinations are the right choice for your pet.

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 your dog due for the vaccinations? Contact our Franklin vets today to book an appointment for your pet.

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (615) 794-3838