Is a comfort feed pre-vaccination a good idea?

Pet Care

As a new puppy parent, you want nothing more than for your little fur baby to get the best start in life and ensure their protection from anything that may cause them harm. Vaccinating your pup is an essential part of protecting them from contagious and even potentially fatal diseases, which are very common, but fortunately, preventable. But what is the best way to ensure your pup is prepped and ready for their vaccination program when all they seem to want to do is eat? Hungry little puppies are lots of fun to feed, but is a full tummy the best idea come vaccination time?

Our pets become quite accustomed to the vaccination process, as there is a set program for them to undergo to ensure full protection against all the nasties that they could potentially be exposed to. Their first vaccination should be between 6 – 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster at 10 – 12 weeks, and the final shot in the series, before they move onto an annual program at 14 – 16 weeks. This means that you too will become more comfortable with the preparation involved, the dos and don’ts that work best for your puppy, and your understanding of how your pet reacts, if at all, to their vaccinations as they grow.

A happy and healthy mind and body will respond best to any vaccination intervention, so ensuring that your pup feels calm and content prior to undergoing their jabs is ideal. We often think that a full tummy breeds content, but there are a couple of considerations worth noting that may have you reconsidering that comfort feed.

If you are worried about your pup needing a little encouragement to get in the car, or to comply once at the Vet, and they are used to having treats to calm them down, then you may want to consider a lighter meal on the day of the vaccination. This will mean their tummy is not so full that the treat is of no interest to them and can still be an enticement.

Also, because vaccines stimulate the animal’s immune system, minor reactions may sometimes occur afterwards. If this is your pet’s first vaccination, or if it is a new vaccine, it may be advisable to lighten their food intake on the rare chance that a reaction may occur. Most commonly, if a reaction does occur, it will be in the first few hours post vaccination, and may include localised redness or sensitivity at the injection point, or slight fever. These symptoms pass within a day or two though.

Very occasionally, a pup may experience vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite or breathing difficulties. If you see any of these signs, contact your vet immediately. This may also be due to eating pre-vaccination and eating too much. Vomiting or diarrhoea will be less distressing for everyone if there has been less food consumed. Not only that, but a loss of appetite will be easier to spot if you know that your pup should be hungrier than they appear, from not having eaten much prior to the vaccination.

As the saying goes, ‘there’s always a first time for everything’ and there will be many ‘first’s’ for your pup, including vaccinations. The key though is to ensure that every trip to the vet is a positive one, where your pet will breeze through their vaccination program without a second thought or reaction. Your experience will provide both you and your vet the confidence to know how much is ok to feed your pup once they settle into their annual vaccination routine. Annual vaccinations are an important part of maintaining a happy and healthy pet, and at Vetmed, we make it our mission to support you when it comes to being the best puppy parent you can be, by keeping up with your pet’s health regime. Life gets busy and time seem to run away with us, so book your pet’s vaccination in advance to ensure you never miss a shot.

We all want the vaccination experience to be uneventful and even something for your pup to look forward to, so chat with our experienced and caring team at Vetmed today for more tips and advice on how to optimise your vaccination experience for your puppy.