Can you vaccinate your dog at home? Can I vaccinate my cat myself? The answer is yes! However, a big frustration for pet owners, breeders and shelters and rescue workers is ensuring that the vaccines for their animals are shipped safely. At Revival Animal Health, we are proud to be the Pet Vaccine Experts. We take steps to ensure our animal vaccines arrive to your doorstep safely and the right temperature. So what is the best way to ship vaccines and how are vaccines shipped from Revival Animal Health?
What Happens if a Dog Vaccine Gets Warm?
Most vaccines for companion animals are modified live viruses. These are very stable in the powder or cake form, but both temperature extremes will shorten the shelf life of the vaccine. The trick is to ship the vaccines and have them arrive cool but not frozen. In the winter, keeping vaccines from freezing is key and in the summer months, keeping pet shots cool in the heat is just as important.
Tips to Ensure Your Modified Live Vaccines for Dogs and Cats Arrive Alive
- Ship pet vaccines on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, not at the end of the week.
- Avoid shipping vaccines on Thursday or Friday, unless it is shipped overnight to your door.
- Add one ice pack if it’s under 80° F with two-day shipping or less. If it’s over 80° F, add two ice packs, and if it’s over 100° F, overnight shipping is the best.
- Ground shipping? Good luck! You cannot reliably ground ship vaccines in the winter or summer.
- 10 dose vials of liquid are the least stable, so be generous with the shipping and ice.
- Dry ice cannot be used since it will freeze the vaccines early in shipping. It’s great for frozen food, but we don’t ever want vaccines to freeze.
- After ordering your vaccines, we recommend signing up for text or email shipping notifications from the shipping company. To do this, once you receive your order confirmation through email you will receive a tracking number. With that tracking number, you can log into UPS or USPS and check the box for notifications. This is a free service and allows you to track the package and be notified when the box of animal vaccines has been delivered. This way you’ll know when to be on the lookout for your box of dog, cat or horse vaccines!
- Have UPS, USPS or FedEx drop off the vaccines in the same place every time, and talk to them about your preference. Maybe you have a refrigerator inside the garage door, or a cooler spot on the porch that always stays out of the sun. They do their best to accommodate you if it does not take extra time.
- Refrigerate vaccines as soon as possible. On 100° F days, you should watch for the vaccines to arrive. A perfect shipment of vaccines can be destroyed after sitting on the front porch for a few hours.
- It’s ideal if the ice pack is melted when it arrives – we don’t want the vaccine to freeze.
- Freeze-dried vaccines are stable to 78° F, so if they are cool to the touch when they arrive, they are good.
Maximize the Efficacy of Your Animal Vaccine
- Once you mix a vaccine, use it as soon as possible. Even 30 minutes after it is mixed, the number of live vaccine viruses in the vial has decreased.
- Take out just the vaccine to be mixed and return the tray to the refrigerator. Manufacturers are more concerned about the vaccine getting warm repeatedly than getting a little warm in shipment once.
- Place a re-frozen ice pack from shipment in the bottom of a tray with a towel over it. Set the mixed vaccine on the towel to maintain the constant cool temperature. I prefer a tote with compartments to put everything you need, including a place to put used syringes and vials.
We protect our animals’ lives with the pet vaccines that prevent disease, so we need the modified live vaccines to arrive safely. If you take time to prepare for the shipment and help the shipping company understand your temperatures and schedules, you can be sure your animals get the insurance they need against disease.
Not sure which vaccines you need for your pet? Use the Revival Vaccine Finder to help choose the right vaccines for your dog or cat.
If you need additional help with how to give a dog shot at home, call us at 800.786.4751.
The Revival Warehouse Safely Ships Your Vaccines
Watch the video below and see how we store and package pet vaccines at Revival Animal Health. You’ll also learn why we place the ice pack on top!
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Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.