How to Give a Distemper Shot

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Things You'll Need

  • Syringe

  • Vaccine vial


Monitor your dog closely after administering a distemper shot. If it shows any symptoms indicating an adverse or allergic reaction, contact a veterinarian immediately.


If your dog easily becomes excited or is extremely antsy, have someone else hold it while you administer the vaccine.

Dispose of used syringes immediately. Do not reuse a syringe for any reason. If you have more than one dog, use a different syringe for each one.

Check the vaccine’s expiration date. An expired vaccine has lost its potency and will not be as effective.

You can administer a distemper shot on your own to save money.

Distemper vaccines are vital to a puppy's health because they prevent harmful diseases such as Parvo. Although any veterinarian can administer these vaccines, they can be costly, especially if you have more than one dog. To save money, you can give the vaccines at home, but you must follow proper administration procedures.

Mixing and Extracting The Vaccine

Step 1

Mix the vaccine. There should be two vials, one with sterile water and one with a powder. Insert the needle into the syringe and turn it clockwise until it tightens completely. Remove the cap from the needle and insert the needle into the vial holding the water. Extract all of the water from the vial and inject it into the vial holding the powder. Shake the vial until the powder and water mix completely.

Step 2

Insert the syringe into the vaccine mixture. Pull up on the syringe's lever until all of the liquid from the vial is inside the syringe. If the vial holds multiple doses, make sure you only extract one milliliter. Remove the syringe from the vial after extracting the proper dose.


Step 3

Push any air out of the syringe by slowly pressing down on its plunger. No air should be left in the syringe. If all air is gone you will see nothing but the vaccine liquid from the tip of the needle to the top measuring area of the syringe.

Administering The Vaccine

Step 1

Find a good space to administer the shot. If your dog is large, sit on the floor and have it sit next to you. For smaller dogs, such as toy poodles or Chihuahuas or puppies, use a counter or table.


Step 2

Restrain your dog's body. This is important because any jerky movements can cause you to improperly insert the syringe. Hold your dog closely to your right side so that its head is facing slightly behind you. Wrap you right arm around his mid section and hold him tightly. If it's an inactive puppy that's receiving the vaccination, you may not need to use restraint.

Step 3

Pinch a small amount of skin on your dog's shoulder and lift it above the shoulder blade. Look for a 'V"-shaped fold of skin. This is the best area to insert the needle because it's less sensitive to injections. Make sure to keep your dog from moving around by continuing to hold him steady with your hand.


Step 4

Gently insert the syringe into the fold of skin on the shoulder area. Pull back slightly on the syringe to ensure it is not puncturing a blood vessel. If this happens, you will see blood enter the syringe and you must readjust the syringe away from the vessel. Do not remove the needle or reinsert it if this happens. Instead, readjust it away from the vessel by moving it into a different position.

Step 5

Push the syringe's plunger to release the vaccine. After you inject all of the liquid, remove the needle. Place the needle's cap back on and immediately dispose of the syringe.