Do Puppies Have Good Immune Systems

Do Puppies Have Good Immune Systems

The canine immune system is at action constantly, defending against viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other dangerous pathogens. But when does this defense fully develop? Do puppies have good immune systems? Let’s take a look at this:

Maternal Antibodies in Puppies

Did you know that when a puppy is born, they have passive immunity to some diseases from their mother’s maternal antibodies?

However, it’s difficult to tell how long maternal immunity will last for a puppy. This variance is because the duration for maternal immunity is directly proportional to the puppy’s mother’s immunity level.

If the mother’s immunity to a certain disease is very high, her puppy’s maternal immunity against some diseases could last for up to three months. However, a puppy’s maternal immunity will usually typically only last for around five weeks.

Vaccinations for Puppies

As previously mentioned, a puppy’s maternal antibodies provide great protection against several life-threatening diseases for a puppy in their very early life.

But these antibodies will only last so long – soon, a puppy will have no protection whatsoever against some of the highly contagious and life-threatening canine diseases out there. Because of this, a puppy’s immune system requires being vaccinated against some diseases.

The existing antibodies associated with passive immunity can actually interfere with vaccinations, even vaccinations against diseases that your puppy has no maternal antibodies for.

So, under normal circumstances, a puppy will be offered vaccinations at 8 to 10 weeks. However, If you know that your puppy definitely will be exposed to an infectious canine disease sooner than this, get in contact with your vet about setting up a different, more frequent vaccination schedule.

Boost Your Puppy’s Immunity Through Their Diet

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Even after being fully vaccinated, puppies really don’t have great immune systems at all yet.

But if you are worried about your puppy and want to help increase their immunity, there are some other ways to boost your puppy’s immunity. For example, you could consider occasionally adding some dog-friendly antioxidant-rich foods to your pup’s bowl.

If your puppy likes them, small red berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries are foods that are a great source of antioxidants that are also suitable for a dog. Apples too, with all seeds removed, make an amazing immune-boosting treat for your puppy.

Other sources of dog-friendly antioxidant-rich foods include cooked potatoes, cabbage, and broccoli. Unusually, plums and barley grasses also contain antioxidants if you can get your hands on them.

But the ultimate source of antioxidants for a puppy has to be dried beans, like red beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.

Not only do dried beans contain the highest amount of antioxidants per half-cup, but they are also the most accessible and convenient source of antioxidants.

You only need to feed your puppy a small portion of any of these foods for them to be effective. Not only this, but you only need to feed them this food once a week or so.

Keep Your Puppy’s Things Clean

Everyone knows that dogs spend their lives running around licking and sniffing the world around them while on walks and during play. This is especially true for dogs who are currently young puppies. Then, when they come indoors, washing their mouth out isn’t exactly a priority.

Because of this, it’s important to wash things like your puppy’s bowl and favorite toys regularly. This will prevent the germs transferred from your puppy’s mouth or from outside from multiplying.

Of course, not all toys are washable. But for those that are, warm water should do the trick in ridding them of the unnecessary bacteria that your puppy’s immune system doesn’t need to cope with.

But consider avoiding using dish soap, especially when you’re washing your puppy’s bowl. Any residues of dish soap left on the bowl could be toxic, especially for such a young dog.

Also, be sure to thoroughly dry out your puppy’s bowl and toys after you wash them because any moisture left creates perfect circumstances for bacteria to grow.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?

As mentioned previously, the typical puppy likes to explore their surroundings. They might roll in something that smells interesting to them or chase a rabbit or bird through puddles, mud, and grass without minding any of this. Is your puppy like this?

Since the average puppy gets so dirty from all this exploring, keeping them clean is of paramount importance.

A certain amount of parasites and bacteria will strengthen your puppy’s immune system for the long term, of course – you shouldn’t wash your puppy too often. But if you don’t keep your puppy reasonably clean, they may clean themselves, licking off the excess dirt.

Therefore, you should get into the habit of bathing your puppy every now and then.

Form this routine early in their life. Once a month is usually fine, although it’s okay to bathe your puppy more frequently if they make themselves very dirty all the time.

I have written a full article here called How Often do You Bathe a Puppy.

Eliminate Stress For Your Puppy

Just like humans, being stressed for a long period of time can impair your puppy’s ability to fight off diseases.

Stress greatly hurts a puppy’s immune system, especially when they are very young. But what possible stressors are there in the life of a pampered pooch?

Well, even though your puppy probably spends most of their day napping – especially when they are very young – there are actually several common stressors out there that your puppy is likely to experience in their daily life.

For example, loud sounds like large vehicles passing you when you’re out for a walk or other dogs barking in the park are common things that are known to cause stress in a puppy.

Another good way to keep your puppy relaxed is to form a routine. Always take your puppy out for a walk at around the same time of day, feed them at the same time and have a nap at the same time every day. This way, your puppy has a better idea of what to expect.


So in conclusion, no – puppies do not have good immune systems and there are a few diseases your puppy requires being vaccinated against. But fortunately, there are some simple measures you can take to boost your puppy’s immune system and to protect your puppy from exposure to excessive bacteria.

By Michelle McDaid

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