How to Give Your Puppy Shots

Authored by Anita Saran in Dogs 
Published on 09-30-2009

This article describes only how to give subcutaneous injections (vaccinations), not intramuscular ones as these are more complicated, may cause reaction and are better done by the vet.

Learning how to give shots to your pet puppies can save you a lot of money and time. No more having to drag your puppy to the vet and maybe wait in line until your turn comes around.

Besides, your puppy will feel more comfortable with you giving the shot. That’s if you make sure you do it right. Follow the tips below carefully, and you could do it yourself without causing any pain to your pet.

One thing to keep in mind is that giving shots to a puppy is not the same thing as injecting a dog. You have to be extra tender and careful. It’s preferable to have someone help you with this procedure, especially if it’s your first time.


  1. Clean the top of the two vials (there will be one vial with liquid and another with powder) with some cotton wool soaked in alcohol.
  2. Get yourself a fresh disposable sterilized needle and syringe.
  3. You need to blend the medications from the two vials (usually one with powder and another containing liquid) in the syringe. First extract the liquid medication with the needle, and then insert it into the vial containing the powder. Roll the vial between your palms to ensure that the vaccination is properly blended.
  4. Don’t shake it as it will create bubbles and may even damage the medication.
  5. Extract the mixed vaccination mixture into the syringe.
  6. Tap the syringe to get rid of the air inside it. This is most important as the air bubbles won’t allow space for the full dosage.
  7. Placing the dog in the appropriate position, first swab the area of skin with some alcohol. Then gently pinch the skin between your fingers, lifting it into a “tent” shape. Doctors advise that shots be given to dogs behind the shoulder blades (or in front of the shoulder behind the neck). Giving it in the leg muscle will hurt.
  8. Insert the needle just under the skin (not into the muscles) and inject the medication slowly into the tent of skin.
  9. Rub the area for a few seconds after you withdraw the plunger to spread the serum and ease any discomfort.


Use the Medication Immediately

As soon as you get the vaccination medication, use it immediately or put them into your refrigerator.

Don’t Jab Or Use a Needle That’s Not Sterilized

Jabbing your pup with the needle or using one that is not sterilized may result in an abscess on the site of the injection. Jabbing will create a little hole and the infection will set in. If you don’t treat the abscess, your pup may either suffer from damaged skin or develop sepsis (septicemia ) – a condition where the blood is poisoned.

Calming Your Pet

It’s important for you to be relaxed if you want your pet to stay calm as he will simply sense your feelings.

Reward Your Pet

At the end of the procedure, make sure you reward your pet with a favorite treat. This is especially important if you need to muzzle him.

Another Way to Prevent Abscess Complications

It’s a good idea to administer the shot in the shoulder area. This way, if an abscess forms, it will drain easily.

Preventing Air Bubbles

You can make sure no air bubbles form by setting the syringe plunger to the dosage required. Then insert the needle into the top of the upright vial and push out all the air from the syringe. Next slowly draw the medication from the vial turned upside down.

This will further prevent air bubbles. If you are wondering whether a few bubbles of air injected subcutaneously (which is what you will be doing – injecting just under the skin) will cause death or severe complications, don’t worry.

You need a lot of air to cause such grave complications. Check the oxford journals website for more information on this.


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