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Essential Puppy Vaccination Schedule: What You Need to Know

Raising a puppy is an exciting and rewarding experience. Ensuring your puppy’s health includes following a proper vaccination schedule. While you can take a puppy home at 8 weeks old, they aren’t fully vaccinated at that age. Puppy shots need to continue until they are at least 16 to 18 weeks old, with booster shots every one to three years.

How Many Puppy Vaccination Do I Need?

Puppies need eight vaccines by the time they are 4 months old. These include four core vaccines and four optional ones. Core vaccines protect against canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine rabies, and canine parvovirus (CPV). Optional vaccines protect against bordetella, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and canine influenza.

Core Vaccines Schedule:

  • Canine Distemper, CPV, and Hepatitis: First shot at 6-8 weeks, followed by shots every two to four weeks until 4 months old. Boosters at 1 year old and then every three years.

  • Rabies: First shot at 3 months old, with boosters annually or every three years, depending on state laws.

Optional Vaccines Schedule:

  • Bordetella: First shot at 6-8 weeks, with a booster at 1 year old, and then every six months to a year.

  • Lyme Disease: First shot at 12 weeks old, with a booster three weeks later. Annual boosters thereafter.

  • Leptospirosis: First shot at 8-9 weeks, with a follow-up shot two to four weeks later. Annual boosters recommended.

  • Canine Influenza: First shot at 10-12 weeks old, with a booster at 14-16 weeks. Annual boosters recommended.

Why Are Multiple Puppy Vaccination Necessary?

Puppies initially rely on their mother’s milk for immunity, but this protection fades over time. A vaccination schedule ensures puppies develop the immunity needed to combat potentially life-threatening diseases.

Combined vaccines like the DHPP or DA2PP shots help protect puppies from multiple diseases with one injection, reducing the number of shots needed. Puppy Vaccination

Core Puppy Vaccination

Canine Distemper: Affects respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, coughing, and seizures. No cure exists, so vaccination is critical.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV): Highly contagious and fatal, especially in puppies. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Treatment requires hospitalization and intensive care. Vaccination is essential.

Canine Hepatitis: Affects liver and kidneys. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, and jaundice. No specific treatment exists, so prevention through vaccination is crucial.

Canine Rabies: Fatal and poses a high public health risk. Symptoms include aggression, foaming at the mouth, and seizures. Vaccination is mandated by law due to its severity.

Optional Puppy Vaccines

Bordetella (Kennel Cough): Causes respiratory infections. Symptoms include coughing and nasal discharge. Vaccination is important for dogs frequently in contact with others.

Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease affecting kidneys and liver. Symptoms include vomiting, jaundice, and lethargy. Transmitted through contaminated water or soil. Annual vaccination recommended.

Lyme Disease: Transmitted by ticks. Symptoms include lameness, fever, and swollen joints. Vaccination is important for dogs in tick-infested areas.

Canine Influenza: Causes respiratory infections. Symptoms include coughing, fever, and nasal discharge. Vaccination is recommended for dogs at high risk of exposure.

Preventing Other Canine Diseases

Heartworm: Spread by mosquitoes, it causes severe lung disease and heart failure. Prevention includes regular testing and monthly preventive medications.

Canine Coronavirus: Causes mild intestinal disease. Prevented through combination vaccines and maintaining good hygiene.

Keeping Your Puppy Healthy

Sticking to a proper vaccination schedule ensures your puppy is protected from deadly diseases. Vaccines help puppies build strong immune systems and stay healthy.

For more information and guidance on vaccinations, visit

Puppy Vaccination
Puppy Vaccination


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