7 Places to Avoid Taking Your Unvaccinated Puppy
Parvo is a highly contagious, potentially fatal viral disease in dogs. Although it’s known to affect dogs of all breeds and ages, unvaccinated ones are found to be more at risk. For that reason, it’s recommended that puppies get their first round of Parvo shots at 6 to 8 weeks of age—the time when they start losing their maternal antibodies and become significantly more vulnerable to infection.
Parvo vaccines are extremely effective in providing protection against the virus, so once your puppy completes the vaccination series, you’ll be free to spend quality time with them outdoors. But before then, it’s best to avoid taking your puppy to the following places:
1. Pet supply stores
You may be tempted to show off your new pup and take them with you everywhere—even as you shop for puppy supplies. However, pet supply stores are one of the most high-risk environments when it comes to Parvo, given the number of people and pets that go in and out of the place. In fact, you can even pick up the virus while you’re there.
Our hands, clothes, and footwear can serve as a vehicle for Parvo to move to new locations and infect other animals. So when you get home, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and running water before handling your puppy.
2. Pet grooming facilities
Just like pet supply stores, pet grooming facilities accommodate a lot of different animals throughout the day. Since Parvo is a tough virus that’s resistant to regular disinfectants and can survive for long periods without a host, it can easily stick to unsanitized grooming tools and equipment, awaiting a new victim.
Until your puppy finishes their Parvo shot series, steer clear of pet grooming stations or salons. Invest in high-quality grooming tools that you can use at home instead. (You can check out some of the most top-rated at home pet grooming tools here.) Remember, it’s better to spend a few bucks to prevent your pet from getting Parvo that to spend thousands to get them treated.
3. Animal shelters
Whether you volunteer at a shelter, work at one, or simply like dropping by, avoid bringing your puppy with you. The more animals are in an area, the more likely it is to be crawling with Parvo and other disease-causing pathogens. Vaccinated adult dogs with strong, developed immune systems may be able to fight off the virus, but a young, unvaccinated puppy with an underdeveloped immune system might not.
4. Dog parks
Dog parks aren’t called ‘dog parks’ if they’re not for dogs to enjoy, right? However, it’s not a great idea to let your puppy in on the fun just yet. Dogs with Parvo shed the virus in their feces and we all know dog parks are filled with those! One little sniff of an infected dog’s business can send the virus straight into your puppy’s body.
5. Dog shows, parties, or events
If you’re a dog lover, then we bet that you enjoy going to different doggie events like dog shows, dog parties, or maybe even doggie pageants. However, no matter how much you want to bring your puppy along, it’s better to wait until they’re fully protected from Parvo. It’s common for infected dogs not to show any outward signs of infection during the early stages, so dog owners, not knowing their dog is infected, may take them to these events and spread the virus.
6. Doggy daycare or pet boarding establishments
Doggy daycare and pet boarding establishments are one of the most dangerous places for vulnerable, unvaccinated puppies. Tons of dogs go in and out of these areas, and on top of that, they come into contact with the same toys, bowls, equipment, and surfaces while they’re there. Exposing your puppy to these kinds of social settings greatly increases their chances of ending up with a Parvo infection.
If you’re going away for a few days and you need someone to look after your puppy until you come back, then ask a relative or a friend pet-sit instead. If your pup will be staying at your pet-sitter’s home, go with someone that doesn’t have pets or has older, vaccinated ones.
7. Ponds, rivers, and lakes
Did you know that Parvo could also be lurking around ponds, rivers, and lakes? These areas are pretty open and you never know who has been there before you. Raccoons are also known to be carriers of Parvo, and they like hanging out in bodies of water, especially rivers.
Parvo is pretty much everywhere and can survive in the outside environment for years if protected from direct sunlight. Shaded ponds, rivers, and lakes are the perfect areas for Parvo to thrive, so as long as your puppy is vulnerable, it’s best to steer clear of these areas.
However, when your puppy completes their Parvo shots and you go to these areas, it’s important to keep a close eye on them and make sure that they don’t drink from ponds and lakes. Since they’re stagnant bodies of water, they often harbor pathogens and parasitic worms. For your pup’s safety, always bring a portable pet water bottle with you. If you’re on the hunt for one, feel free to check out our top picks here.