Parvo: Avoiding Risk with Socialization

Vaccinated Puppies & Adult Dog make Safe Friends

I am getting an 8 week old Lab puppy. I already have an older Lab who is fully vaccinated. I am concerned about protecting the pup from parvo. I plan on avoiding dog parks, pet stores, and sidewalks. I will also avoid taking her to my parents’ house because their dogs, though vaccinated, visit the dog park. I want to expose her to as many things as possible, but also keep her healthy. Are my parents a risk if they were just playing with their dogs? Can I still take my older Lab for walks?

Dr. Nichol:
You are right to be cautious. Young dogs are particularly vulnerable to parvo, a highly infectious virus that’s especially prevalent in the springtime. Dr. Brent Megarry, of the 24 hour Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, reports a recent increase to 2-4 new cases daily.

Protecting your puppy is important but so is socializing her. Many dogs react fearfully (some with aggression) when encountering unfamiliar people and dogs because their sensitive period for learning social skills, ages 3 weeks to 3 months, was missed. Puppies need frequent, gentle interactions with multiple humans and dogs of all ages, ideally while still at home with mom and littermates until they reach 14-16 weeks.

Your girl can have it all.  Update her vaccination boosters every 2-4 weeks until she’s 4 months old. Arrange frequent play dates with vaccinated adult dog s and their people and invite them to visit your house too. Avoid high traffic areas like the dog park but don’t worry if your shiny new puppy’s well-vaccinated friends have been out on the town.

Puppy class is excellent for finger painting and learning to play nice. It’s also safe. A large study of vaccinated puppies attending weekly socialization groups found nobody getting anything infectious. You can be careful without being a helicopter.
Dog Behavior Seminar in Albuquerque
Unruly behavior, barking, destructiveness, house soiling, biting: the list of canine conundrums is almost endless. I’ll explain the problems and share the solutions in my class at the Animal Humane Adoption Center, 9132 Montgomery Blvd NE, from 6-9 PM Monday, May 11. Cost: $40. To register call 792-5131. Bring plenty of questions. I’ll give individual help.