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(11 Vital Tips) Dog Behavior Change After Vaccination [2023]

Dog Behavior Change After Vaccination

You took your dog for a vaccine shot… 

Thinking everything will be fine once it’s done. 

But suddenly, your furry friend starts acting strange…

What’s going on?

Although it’s alarming…

It’s a normal vaccine reaction. 

Still, most of us can’t sit tight while our dogs behave differently.

So what can we do to comfort them after vaccination?

Read on to find out.

  • Effective ways to give vaccine aftercare to your dog. 
  • 11 essential tips on how to handle dog behavior change.
  • Whether you should be worried about this behavioral change after vaccination.
  • And much, much more…

Dog behavior change after vaccination: 11 vital tips

#1: Treat allergic reactions

Many dogs undergo behavioral changes after vaccination.

It happens because they don’t feel well.

What causes this?

Well, according to research… 

Some dogs can also be sensitive and allergic to vaccines.

Knowing this, vets will give your dog antihistamines.

These are drugs used for treating allergies.

But not all antihistamine drugs are safe for dogs.

Only a few are dog-friendly.

So even if they’re safe…

Some dogs can only take a certain amount of dosage.

Only vets can give an accurate amount that your furry friend needs.

So don’t give them an antihistamine without an expert’s approval.

With that said…

Here are 5 common vet prescribed medicines for dogs:

These drugs are often used to help with fever, swelling, and soreness in your dog.

Note: Don’t give medicine to your dog without a vet’s prescription. Giving them the wrong medicine can only make them feel worse.

“How to tell if my dog has an allergic reaction?”

Most allergic reactions in dogs are not alarming. 

But, there are severe cases that need a vet’s attention ASAP.

So how can you tell if your dog’s behavior is a sign of an allergic reaction?

Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Seizures.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Aggression.
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Turning blue a.k.a Cyanosis.

If your dog experiences one or more of these signs, take them to the vet.

#2: Ask for pain relief medicine

As mentioned above… 

Some dogs feel sore after getting their shots. 

Other dogs develop nodes around the injected area. 

This could lead to pain or discomfort. 

Due to this, your furry pal will start acting unusual. 

“How to tell if my dog is in pain?” 

Pain can be hard to spot if there are no physical injuries. 

But there are still ways to find out if your dog is in pain.

Here are 7 signs that your dog could need pain relief: 

And if you can tell that your dog is in severe pain…

Then the best way to make them feel better is through pain relief drugs.

But once again, don’t give them any kind of medicine. 

Some drugs aren’t safe for dogs. So you have to inquire with your vet about this. 

Most of the time… 

Vets only suggest anti-pain meds if your dog truly needs them. 

This is because dogs often feel better within a day or 2. 

To give you an idea of what medications are safe for dogs…

WebMD says that NSAIDs are among the safest options.

But they can still cause a few side effects.

Here are 5 examples of NSAIDs for dogs:

Note: For safety, never give your dog any medicine without the vet’s approval.

#3: Check for fever

Fever Causes Dog Behavior Change After Vaccination

Fever is another cause of behavioral change in dogs. 

Based on a study, fever is one of the most common side effects of vaccines in dogs.

It’s a normal immune response that often goes away within 24 to 48 hours. 

So, don’t panic if your dog is acting weird.

“But how can I find out if my dog has a fever?” 

Most people rely on touching their furry friends…

But this method is not 100% effective. 

The best way to get a dog’s temperature is by using a thermometer.

To be specific, a rectal thermometer for dogs is the ideal tool.

You can check for fever in 3 simple steps.

  • Coat the thermometer with a lubricant.
  • Insert it in your dog’s anus for about 1 inch deep.
  • Wait for at least 30 to 60 seconds to get the best result.

A dog’s normal body temperature is around 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C). 

If your dog has a temperature above 103°F (39.4°C), then they have a fever. 

Note: If it’s around 106°F (41°C), their fever is severe, and they need vet attention ASAP.

Of course, this isn’t an easy task if you’ve never done it before. 

If you’re not confident, ask for help from someone to show you how to do this. Or, you can also watch videos online. 

If none of those options can help, your last option is to go to the vet. 

In case your dog does have a mild fever… 

You don’t have to worry too much. The fever goes away on its own. What you can do instead to comfort your furry friend is easy. 

Grab a soft towel, soak it a little, then use it to wipe your dog’s paws and ears. 

This will help bring down their temperature a bit. 

#4: Avoid contact with the injected area

Dogs may develop nodes or lumps in the injected area. 

This can cause your dog to limp or start acting strange

To help your furry friend feel better, the best thing to do is simple: 

Don’t touch them. 

And it’s normal to worry if your dog has a lump. 

But in most cases, the lump goes away within a few days. 

“When should I worry about it?” 

If the bump doesn’t go away within 2 to 3 weeks… 

Immediately notify your vet or drop by the clinic for a check-up. 

#5: Let your dog rest as much as possible 

In most cases, all we need to do after our dogs get a vaccine shot is nothing. Apart from monitoring them and continuing the proper care that you’ve been providing. 

And I know it’s hard not to worry. 

But examining your fur baby too much can only stress them out. 

You need to give them space, and they’ll be fine in a few days. 

With that said, remember to tell other people at home to do the same. 

If there are kids in your house… 

Make sure to tell them not to play with their furry friend for now. 

But of course, it doesn’t mean we should ignore our dog all day.

Keep checking on your dog, let them hear your voice, and see your face… 

Give them a gentle head scratch or a small treat. 

It’s these simple gestures that dogs need the most when they’re recovering from the vaccine.

But if you find that their changes are alarming or dangerous…

Then the best solution is to contact the vet.

#6: Don’t force-feed or underfeed 

After vaccination, some dogs become lethargic and lose interest in food.

According to the VCA, appetite loss is a common side effect for dogs.

They’ll start eating less, and for any fur parent, this is alarming.

But this behavior will only last for a day. In some dogs, it can go on for 2 days. 

If this happens, you shouldn’t force-feed your dog. 

Doing this will only cause them stress.

Don’t reduce the amount of their food either. 

Just give your dog a choice to decide whether they want to eat more or not. 

But if they still refuse to eat after 24 hours… 

That’s the time you can contact the vet for their opinion. 

#7: Limit their physical activity 

After vaccination, it’s a good idea to limit your dog’s physical activity. 

The reason for this is to avoid making their condition feel worse. Their body is busy fighting off the foreign elements from the vaccine. 

Picture this scenario: 

Your home suddenly got invaded by unknown creatures. 

What would you do? 

You’d fight back for survival and to keep these intruders out.

The same thing is happening to your furry friend’s system. 

So, you don’t have to take your furry buddy out for a walk. You also don’t need to force them to play or do regular exercises.

Hold off their training for now until they’re back to normal. 

“But what if my dog needs to use the bathroom?” 

If your furry companion needs to do their business, you can go for a short walk. 

In case you have a yard, letting your dog go out there to poop is also fine.

As much as possible, stick to the closest option for your pooch.

If your dog is still being hyperactive after getting vaccinated… 

While it’s a good sign that they’re healthy, you should also help them calm down. 

You can do this by cuddling together or sitting down next to them until they relax. 

Need visual guidance? You can watch this video on how to calm your dog:

#8: Observe your dog closely 

If you’re certain that your dog is acting unusual…

Then you need to make time for your dog. 

Your furry friend needs someone to watch over them…

To make sure they don’t experience severe side effects without anyone noticing. 

Even if it’s rare for dogs to have extreme reactions to vaccines…

It’s still better to be safe than sorry. 

So, it’s a good idea to plan your dog’s vaccination wisely. 

Before getting their shots, make sure you have time to look after them that same day. 

Ideally, it’s best to dedicate your day off to looking after your furry friend. 

And in most cases, vaccine side effects go away within 1 to 2 days. 

So you don’t have to take a long leave. 

But there are also cases when some effects only show up after a few hours up to a week.

An example would be anaphylaxis

It’s a combination of severe vaccine reactions in dogs. 

Following a study, here are 11 alarming symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  • Hives.
  • Fainting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Drooling.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Muscle stiffness.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Excessive swelling.
  • Itching and scratching.
  • Cyanosis a.k.a. blue gums and tongue.

And seeing how dangerous some side effects can be…

Our dogs need close observation after getting their vaccines.

In case you’re unavailable… 

Ask a trusted friend or family to look after your dog.

#9: Pay attention to signs of paralysis 

If your dog started limping after vaccination… 

This is a normal side effect. 

But what we need to be wary of is the risk of paralysis. 

“How can vaccines cause paralysis?” 

Research shows that the rabies vaccine can infect a dog’s brain. 

This leads to a neurological problem, eventually causing paralysis. 

Though this can be rare, it’s still best to keep a close eye on your dog…

Just as mentioned in tip #8. 

And paralysis in dogs won’t happen right after they get their vaccine… 

It sometimes appears after a week or more.

“What can I do if this happens?” 

The problem is you can’t cure this on your own. So, you’d need to take your dog to the vet. 

This is to make sure that the paralysis won’t leave any permanent damage on your dog. Usually, this issue is curable, and your dog can go back to normal after treatment. 

But that’s only if they’re given proper care as soon as possible. 

“How can I tell if my dog is paralyzed?” 

Paralysis can affect one or both legs in dogs. 

Check for muscle stiffness by touching them. 

A paralyzed dog will show little to no reaction. 

Some dogs will try to move, but you’ll notice their struggle.

In case they can still move their face…

Some dogs will start crying or make weird noises.

If your dog has been sleeping all day, too, keep checking on them.

There’s a risk that they’re not sleeping. And they just can’t move due to paralysis. 

#10: Don’t bathe your dog 

You may already be familiar with this tip… 

But just in case. 

After vaccination, avoid bathing your dog. 


For one, your furry friend needs all the rest they can get. 

So even if your pooch is the type to enjoy baths… 

They won’t be able to enjoy them to the fullest if they’re freshly vaccinated.

Most dogs will feel weak after their shots. 

A bath won’t only cause them stress, but it can also worsen their health.

It can even cause them a cold or severe fever. 

The reason for this is that their body is vulnerable at the moment. 

Their immune system isn’t in the best state since they’re fighting off the vaccine. 

So, fur parents shouldn’t make it any worse by bathing them.

“What if my dog is really dirty?”

Most of the time, you can wait until your furry friend feels better. 

But if not, another thing you can do is wipe them clean. 

This will not stress them out, and it’s a good way to keep them fresh. You can use any soft cloth or use dog wipes to wipe your pooch clean.

Make sure to leave them dry to avoid making your furry friend sick.

Reading tip: 9 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Shivers After A Bath + 5 Easy Tips

#11: Check their breathing

You can also find answers to your dog’s behavior through their breathing. 

Abnormal breathing can happen when the vaccine causes a negative reaction. 

Typically, this isn’t an alarming problem. It’s another side effect that’ll go away on its own.

Moreover, breathing issues tend to stop within 1 to 2 days.

You can tell if this is a minor concern if your dog is not:

  • Drooling a lot.
  • Breathing loudly.
  • Making weird noises.
  • Has a hard time sleeping.
  • Constantly hyperventilating.

But if your furry friend seems to struggle too much for air…

This can be a critical concern. 

It’s even more alarming if your dog is a brachycephalic breed. Some examples of those breeds are:

  • Pugs. 
  • Boxers.
  • Shih Tzus.
  • French Bulldogs.

These dogs are described to have a “squashed face” and short muzzles.

Due to their body structure, dogs of this breed are prone to breathing problems.

And if left ignored, this concern can turn fatal. 

“What can I do to help with my dog’s breathing issue?”

The first thing is to ensure the room is well ventilated. 

Your dog could be acting strange because of the air inside the room. 

If the weather is too hot or too cold…

The room’s temperature must be normal as well. 

In general, the ideal room temperature for most dogs should be kept above 50°F (10°C).

This should be adjusted depending on 3 factors.

  • The season.
  • How thick their coats are.
  • Your dog’s tolerance of heat or cold.

Moreover, you don’t need to bring your furry pal for a walk or to do exercises too.

Let your dog feel relaxed and comfortable until they feel okay again. 

“How to tell if my dog has breathing problems?”

If you’re uncertain whether your dog has abnormal breathing or not…

Then there are certain signs you can look for. 

Here are 7 symptoms of breathing problems in dogs.

  • Snoring.
  • Slow breathing.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Coughing and drooling.
  • An abnormal heart rate.
  • Noisy breathing or excessive panting.
  • Making weird noises such as wheezing.

Note: If the issue persists throughout the day, it’s best to contact your vet ASAP.