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Are Puppies Sore After Shots?

Yes, puppies feel sore after shots. It’s the same as how we humans also feel sore after we get the shots.

The good news for you and your puppy is that this is a mild side effect that will usually be gone in just a few days.

Puppy shots are essential in developing immunity against life-threatening canine diseases like Distemper and Parvo.

Keep in mind that the benefits of these shots far outweigh the inconveniences and health risks that come with them.

puppy at the vet

In this article, we’ll discuss why soreness happens and how you can make your puppy more comfortable during this time.

Why Do Puppies Feel Sore After Shots?

Puppies usually feel sore after shots for a variety of reasons:

  • The immune system in their body is appropriately responding to the vaccine. This is exactly what vaccines are for; to jumpstart the immune system.
  • Soreness is an indicator that your puppy’s defense mechanism against dog diseases is actively engaging previously unknown matter that is getting inside the body.
  • The spot where the needle has punctured has developed a sensitive bump that is sore. Puppies don't want to be touched or handled at this time.

What to Expect In Puppies After Shots

Expect these mild side effects to show up in your puppy after shots.

You will notice some unusual behaviors in your puppy that might be strange for you. Usually, it would take around a day to a couple of days later after the shots for these to show up:


Your puppy might avoid you touching them at this point. This is because their tender puppy muscles might be a bit painful to touch.

Puppies will show signs of lethargy

You will notice that your puppy isn’t as active or playful as usual and would prefer to stay in one place and just stay there or sleep.

They develop a slight fever

When you hold your puppy, you may notice that it might feel warmer than usual. Chances are, your puppy has a slight fever. It’s a common reaction associated with the shots.

Loss of appetite

Your puppy might avoid eating for a while. No need to worry; it's only temporary.

Mild swellings

Mild skin allergic reactions can affect the face, ears, mouth, and some parts of the body.


A small raised lump may appear on the spot where the needle pierced through the skin to deliver the vaccine.

How Long Can These Side Effects Last?

Symptoms of vaccination side effects won’t show immediately; your dog’s immune system at that point is still figuring out what happened and who to target.

After 24 hours, symptoms would now begin to show.

The symptoms associated with these side effects would normally last for about 48 hours in healthy puppies. If these symptoms last for more than 2 days, get in touch with your puppy’s vet.