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Hi folks – my husband and I are planning to bring home our first dog (a golden retriever) in July. We were planning to spend a week at a dog-friendly Airbnb in downtown Provincetown, MA in late August. It's a super dog-friendly town and dogs are allowed at the beach there, but wanted to gut check here to see if people think it would be unwise to take a 13-14 week old puppy on vacation that young/early. We'd definitely confirm with the vet first that it's safe with regard to vaccines.

Another caveat is we have a wedding in Maine the weekend before, so we'd have a friend watch the puppy at our house for two nights, and then we'd pick him/her up to take him/her to Provincetown. We're just worried all that activity would be confusing for such a young dog, but maybe we're overthinking it.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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I think it's a great idea IF it is safe healthwise. The best thing in the world for your puppy is to go on this trip with you, and bond with you, and experience all the new and exciting things there are to experience on a trip like this. I think it would be great for the puppy. (Of course, you're going to have potty issues, as the puppy won't know where it's okay to pee/poop and where it's not, but if you have a plan and are on top of it, you'll do great).

This is all dependent on it being safe in terms of parvo and distemper exposure. But yeah, the idea itself is fantastic for the puppy. :)
 

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You can call a vet in/around the areas you will be traveling to ask what the parvo and distemper risk is- they’ll know best if their region has a high or low incidence of cases. Sounds like a fun trip!
 

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If the vet gives you the go ahead as far as safety is concerned, it sounds like a fun time to me. We spent a lot of time at the beach with my last Golden. Just make sure puppy doesn't lap up the water much or put any washed up sea creatures or plants in his mouth. It can make them pretty sick.
 

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There's no way your puppy will be fully vaccinated by 13-14 weeks. At least, I'd heavily recommend the final booster be at the 15-16 week mark for a large breed puppy (this isn't from me, but from my partner who takes her final exam to get her veterinary degree.... well it was supposed to be 3 days ago but she got COVID so I guess it's in two weeks now).

However, I do think most people go over the top with worrying about a puppy's lack of vaccinations. No, they shouldn't be going to the pet store, or off-leash park, or anywhere with tons of dogs. I think a beach that allows dogs would be included in this. BUT, going on vacation is an AWESOME thing to do with your puppy. It's both super fun for you and helps them get socialized to so many new experiences. But I'd keep that to places without too many dogs (think along the lines of a normal park- gets some dogs but not an overbearing amount).
 

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I say definitely take your new puppy with you! We took our pup with us when he was 12 weeks. He had already had two rounds of vaccines and we were in an area where we could easily control his surroundings. I say it's good for them to get that social exposure as long as you can keep them away from dogs you don't know the vaccine history of and common sense areas that are to be avoided.
 

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There's no way your puppy will be fully vaccinated by 13-14 weeks.
My vet disagreed. She advised that my puppy should be in public spaces from 11 weeks - he had all his vaccinations by 10 weeks, allowing 1 week for the antibodies to reach full strength. He then had his first round of annual booster at 12 weeks, but that is a booster, and our pets get a booster every 12 months.
 

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The studies show passive immunity is always gone by 16 weeks-
so last booster is recommended anytime after that.
But that trip sounds SUPER fun and I'd just be careful where I put pup down to potty, etc
 
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My vet disagreed. She advised that my puppy should be in public spaces from 11 weeks - he had all his vaccinations by 10 weeks, allowing 1 week for the antibodies to reach full strength. He then had his first round of annual booster at 12 weeks, but that is a booster, and our pets get a booster every 12 months.
The reason puppies get vaccinations every 2-3 weeks from 7-8 weeks on is because maternal antibodies interfere with vaccine efficiency. We do 7, 10, 13, 16. You give them the vaccines so that they don't get sick (obviously), but then the antibodies will destroy the disease antigens. That passive immunity often wears off by 12-14 weeks, but to be on the safe side, most vets will advise waiting until 16.

That said, this often isn't necessary if the puppy never received that immunity from their mom, whether due to the mom not being vaccinated or something else.

However, none of that holds for rabies. If your vet gave your puppy a rabies vaccine at 10 weeks, I would suggest finding a new vet. United States law does not accept rabies vaccinations before 12 weeks, and I believe some states don't before 14 weeks. You might not live in the US but if the CDC says so, there's probably a very good reason for it.

Edit: okay, so scratch everything I just said LOL- there are a lot of caveats. I asked my partner and TIL many new things.
1. The UK and US DHPP vaccines are actually different (just like the bajillion different kinds of COVID vaccines out there I guess). They vaccinate against the same things, but the mechanisms are different. US manufacturers recommend 8, 12, 16 week doses, but a part of that is that in the US, rabies are given at 14 weeks anyway. So your pup is going to have to go in for that anyway. Since as ceegee pointed out, rabies isn't required in the UK unless you're traveling, it's more common for two DHPP doses.
2. The only reason we had so many vaccinations in the past was we've had rescue dogs, where you have no idea about the parents' health history. From a reputable breeder with healthy dogs, the recommended 3 in US, 2 in UK, is more than enough. With my Kira, the only reason we did 4 was because of a miscommunication with the breeder.
3. Passive immunity actually wears off between 6 and 12 weeks.
The only thing you said that wasn't correct is that "full vaccination" includes that second shot (at 12 weeks for you UK folks). The pup is pretty safe before that, which is why public spaces are okay. But you shouldn't feel comfortable around unhealthy/sick dogs until that second.
 

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However, none of that holds for rabies. If your vet gave your puppy a rabies vaccine at 10 weeks, I would suggest finding a new vet. United States law does not accept rabies vaccinations before 12 weeks, and I believe some states don't before 14 weeks. You might not live in the US but if the CDC says so, there's probably a very good reason for it.
Rabies vaccines aren't normally given to dogs in the UK (where Howler is from) unless they will be travelling in Europe. Rabies has been eradicated from the UK so the vaccine isn't required for dogs that don't leave the country. If the dog is going to travel, the vaccine is never given before 12 weeks of age.
 

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Rabies vaccines aren't normally given to dogs in the UK (where Howler is from) unless they will be travelling in Europe. Rabies has been eradicated from the UK so the vaccine isn't required for dogs that don't leave the country. If the dog is going to travel, the vaccine is never given before 12 weeks of age.
Oh gotcha, I stand corrected.
 

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Here's the thing about puppy vaccinations and immunity to things like parvovirus:

The question you should be asking is why do we give a series of puppy shots? Why not just one? Well, there's a rather complicated answer, but to jump to the end, the answer is that we don't know when the puppy's immune system will be receptive to the vaccine, and until it is, any vaccines we give are useless. So we give a series of them on the theory that one of them will probably work.

Here's the why:

Puppies are born with their mothers' immunity, which decreases over time. As Prism says, the functional immunity is usually gone by 16 weeks. While the puppy has mama's immunity, the vaccine won't "take." It will be killed off by the puppy's maternal immunity. If you give a parvo shot at 8 weeks, and the puppy still has mom's immunity, the vaccination will be killed off by the immune system and won't work. So when mom's immunity wears off, the puppy will be left without the benefit of the vaccination, and will have no immunity against parvo.

So we give a series of vaccinations, every 2-3 weeks until we figure mom's immunity must have worn off, on the theory that one of them will take. Maternal immunity doesn't magically wear off at 16 weeks. It wears off slowly, and the point at which the puppy's body will be receptive to the vaccine could be anytime between 8-16 weeks, or even longer sometimes. It all depends on the level of mother's immunity that she imparts to the puppies. If mom has lots of antibodies, the maternal immunity will wear off slower. If she has less, it wears off faster. The big secret vets don't tell you is that all but one of the shots they give your puppy are 100% useless. And they don't know which one will be the one that works. In fact, occasionally mom's immunity lasts past 16 weeks, and none of the puppy shots work, and your puppy is left without any immunity to parvo (or distemper, or whatever), whatsoever. So it's all a big guessing game!

So, Emma's puppy may be completely safe at 11 weeks. Or may not. There is just no way to tell.

Or, rather, there is a way to tell, but it comes from the mother, not the puppy. Around the time the mother whelps the litter, you can take the mother's blood and have it analyzed for the amount of antibody protection mom has to parvo and distemper. And since we know the rate at which maternal immunity decays, we can calculate when the puppy will be receptive to a vaccine. The problem is that very few breeders actually do this. The ones who do can tell puppy buyers something like, "Give the puppy a vaccine at 8 weeks and then again at 11 weeks [or whatever, according to the number of antibodies and the rate of immune decay], and you'll be good to go." But absent that, we have only the "shotgun" approach of the traditional puppy vaccine series.

The lesson here is that we won't know whether Emma's puppy will be immune when they go on their trip. So you give the puppy shots, try to keep the puppy out of any areas that are risky for infection as we guess which shot will take, and hope for the best.

Not very scientific, is it?
 
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Or, rather, there is a way to tell, but it comes from the mother, not the puppy. Around the time the mother whelps the litter, you can take the mother's blood and have it analyzed for the amount of antibody protection mom has to parvo and distemper. And since we know the rate at which maternal immunity decays, we can calculate when the puppy will be receptive to a vaccine. The problem is that very few breeders actually do this. The ones who do can tell puppy buyers something like, "Give the puppy a vaccine at 8 weeks and then again at 11 weeks [or whatever, according to the number of antibodies and the rate of immune decay], and you'll be good to go." But absent that, we have only the "shotgun" approach of the traditional puppy vaccine series.

The lesson here is that we won't know whether Emma's puppy will be immune when they go on their trip. So you give the puppy shots, try to keep the puppy out of any areas that are risky for infection as we guess which shot will take, and hope for the best.

Not very scientific, is it?
And that way is very popular in the western part of the US, the nomograph.. that blood test will tell you when mama's immunity is gone from puppies and when those puppies should get first shots. They're pretty interesting- I did nomographs for a while, but all my girls results said 11-14 weeks so to me, it was pretty useless since I live in a state that requires 8 week vaccines to sell a puppy. .. but had I ever had one say less than that (and I know some people's girl's nomographs do come back like 5-6 weeks) it would have been super useful imo.
 
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