That’s a Cheap Shot!

Angel - Adopted from a County Shelter
Angel – Adopted from a County Shelter

OK, so you went to Tractor Supply Company (or wherever) and you ASKED THE SALESPERSON TO GET THE VACCINE FOR YOU BECAUSE THEY ARE KEPT IN A LOCKED FRIDGE.  And, if it’s hot weather,  you took a cooler with you and kept it cool on the way home, and in your fridge when you get home.  Now it’s Go Time!

I’m not a veterinarian, but I did used to be a people nurse and have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing – so I’m going to walk you through preparing and giving a Subcutaneous Shot.

The package contains two little vials; one is the vaccine – powdered.  The other is saline (salt water basically) to reconstitute it with.  And there is a syringe (the needle).  Everything is pre-measured and you do not have to worry about amounts if you got a SINGLE DOSE vaccination.   NOTE: THERE IS A TINY LABEL ON THE VIAL THAT COMES OFF EASILY. YOU NEED TO KEEP THIS FOR YOUR RECORDS. dog vaccinations

Take the syringe out of it’s plastic tube container.  The needle base screws into the syringe- make sure it’s screwed-on well before you take off the cap. Take the cap off the needle and don’t touch the needle. Pull the syringe back and forth a few times to get the feel of it. Now try pulling the “plunger” part with your pinky – this let’s you do it with one hand.

Suck-up a syringe-full of AIR.  Take the tiny metal cap off the Saline vial, exposing it’s little rubber top.  Stick the needle in the rubber top and inject the air into the vial (the vial is a vacuum, it’s easier to withdraw from if you pump some air into it first).  Pull the plunger with your pinky and suck-up the saline.  You’ll feel it coming out on it’s own because you created pressure in there by pumping in the air.

You’re pretty much a Pro now – so you know what to do – inject the saline into the powdered vaccine vial and if you also inject air – that’s fine.   Withdraw the needle – empty! and shake the vial mix up the powder and the saline.

When it’s mixed, suck-up ALL of the liquid.  Do not bend your needle trying to get the last drops! This is where you get to do the Movie scene thing – of tapping the syringe to get the air bubbles to the tip and then squirt a teeny bit to get the air out so you have only liquid and no air in there.  Put the cap back on the loaded syringe and get your victim…. I mean your Dog!

It’s fine if you do not have a helper.  I like to give the dog something that takes some time and effort and holds their focus… peanut butter works!  While the dog is innocently licking at that – you pounce!  But in a nice way !  Talk sweetly (make this a nice experience if you want to have an easy time of shots in the future).

While telling your Dog what a Good, Good Girl or Boy he/she is….. Pull-up some Dog-Flab from the scruff of the neck and give the shot into the flab.  You do not have to swab with alcohol first like they do for people, it is not usually done with animals.  Don’t be surprised if the skin is tough! Be firm! Have confidence and give it a good enough jab to make sure you are in the flab.   OK, yes… that would be a “Flab Jab” but I didn’t write that on purpose.  

Here is Drs Foster & Smith version of How To Give a Vaccination At Home:   CLICK TO SEE

You don’t want to accidentally inject into a vein but it is very unlikely that you will.  It’s good if you can pull-back the plunger just a bit when it is in the dog flab. This is where it’s VERY handy if you mastered the “pinky pull” technique!  If you happen to be in a vein, the blood would tend to jump out into that syringe very easily – very much like the saline squirted in of it’s own accord – because of pressure… in this case Blood Pressure from in the vein.  If it looks like you’re in a vein –  then you would re-position and give it in a slightly different part of the Dog-Flab you have pulled-up.


dog beds(put the cap back on the needle and dispose safely)


write and tell us how it went!

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