Puppies need socialization after first vaccination
Question: Our veterinarian has recommended that we keep our puppy isolated from other animals until his last vaccinations. Is that much caution really necessary? He's so eager to meet our other pets.
Answer: For the best protection, veterinarians have traditionally recommended that young animals be kept isolated from other pets until completion of their full series of vaccinations, which is about age 3 months. Behaviorists counter that puppies and kittens begin learning at birth, and their social-interaction style -- as well as their ability to accept new situations, people and animals -- is largely defined by 4 months of age.
More and more veterinarians, behaviorists and others in animal welfare have come to agree that young animals socialized at an early age are most likely to have fewer behavioral problems as adults. In fact, the risk of a dog dying because of infection from distemper or parvovirus disease is far less than the risk of an adult dog being euthanized because of a behavior problem.
Q: Would classes help with socialization?
A: Puppies in particular need experiences with other dogs, as well as with children and adults, during the critical, formative period from birth to 16 weeks. New owners are encouraged to enroll puppies in socialization classes as early as 8 to 9 weeks of age, as long as they have received their first vaccines.
Of course, owners and those who offer puppy classes should ensure that the training environment is clean and that participating pups have good hygiene.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.