A Guide to Puppy Vaccines: What Shots Your Dog Needs and When | Pupford
September 25th, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
It’s a joyful, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming experience to get a dog. It’s understandable to have some fear and anxiety about the unknowns of raising them the right way. You want to give your new pup the best life possible and you want to make sure they are healthy and happy. There are so many factors that go into that, including one very important factor – vaccinations.
This article is designed to ease your worries about doggy vaccinations by helping you understand the basics. We’ll talk about everything you need to know including the different types of diseases that vaccines protect your dog from, which ones are generally considered the most important, what official documentation you should be aware of, and information about the costs.
WHAT VACCINES DOES MY DOG NEED?
When it comes to dog vaccines, two core vaccinations are the most vital. These are generally the most important vaccines to get for your dog, but before we discuss them in detail it is important to remember this disclaimer: listen to the advice of your local veterinarian when making vaccine decisions for your pup. All pups are different and it is important to get facts from the experts who know your dog’s unique characteristics.
Having said that here are two of the most important vaccines to get for your dog…
1. DAP/DHP VACCINE (Protects against Distemper, Adenovirus & Parvovirus)
When is it needed? At 8, 12, and 16 weeks old, between 1 and 2 years old, and 2 to 5 years old.
Distemper – This is a serious disease that is spread through airborne exposure as well as ingestion. The virus attacks the puppy's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. The symptoms of this preventable disease are and nose, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, and paralysis, and it can be fatal.
Adenovirus (Hepatitis) – This viral infection will affect the puppy’s liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes if infected. Symptoms range from fever, congestion, vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and liver pain. A severe case can be fatal and unfortunately, there is no cure
Parvovirus – A very contagious virus that specifically attacks dogs under four months of age. The gastrointestinal system is where this virus will cause damage. This means you may see symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, and blood in the stool. This virus can lead to severe
These three viruses are potentially fatal, which makes getting the vaccine of the utmost importance. The good news is that all three of these viruses are covered with the DAP/DHP vaccine.
2. RABIES VACCINE
When is it needed? At 14 weeks old.
You may have heard of this one as it is a more commonly known disease. All mammals can get rabies, including humans. It attacks the central nervous system and induces headaches, hallucinations, drooling, paralysis, hydrophobia (fear of water), and death. This very serious disease is most often spread through the bite from an infected animal.
This is considered another core vaccination to get and is required in the USA.
Depending on where you live, some other vaccines may also be deemed necessary, like the Leptospirosis Vaccine. This vaccine is highly encouraged because dogs can contract this bacteria by drinking water that animals infected with this bacteria have urinated in.
The next three vaccines are ‘optional’ vaccines, but it is always good to ask your veterinarian for their recommendation on if you should get it for your dog. They can make suggestions based on their expertise and on factors specific to where you live and the risk of exposure in your area.
When is it needed? Between 6 and 8 weeks old.
This virus is commonly spread in places where there are many dogs living together in kennels for long periods of time. Dog shelters are a high risk for the spread of parainfluenza in dogs. It spreads through coughs and , which is the reason dog shelters and dog competitions are oftentimes vulnerable.
When is it needed? Between 6 to 8 weeks old and 10 to 12 weeks old.
This is a bacterial disease that causes severe coughing. It can also cause vomiting, whooping cough, and seizures. It is capable, in rare cases, to be fatal. Dogs are usually required to provide proof of this vaccine when they are going to be boarding in a doggy daycare, kennel, or group training. The bacteria causes an inflamed bronchi and trachea and is very contagious.
LYME DISEASE VACCINE
When is it needed? Between 8 to 9 weeks old and 10 to 11 weeks old.
This is another non-core vaccination that is necessary for dogs that live in an area where exposure to ticks is common. Again, consult your veterinarian for the best advice on the Lyme disease vaccine. Symptoms from Lyme disease include struggling to walk, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Lyme disease can cause serious damage to your puppy’s kidney in certain cases.
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED WHEN I GET MY DOG?
When you add a dog to your family you are responsible for their well-being. This is why it’s important to know all the necessary documents that a shelter should give you to make sure you are up-to-date with their veterinarian status. Here’s what you should expect to get from any reputable shelter in addition to a new fur-baby:
- Pedigree information and registration documents - This is most applicable for those who plan on entering their dog’s into competitions as the proof of pedigree will be required. Although, breeders and shelters should provide this documentation regardless, and if they don’t, it is somewhat of a red flag.
- Health history – This will be the formal documentation that shows their vaccination history. It should also include any other health issues that new pet parents should be aware of in order to take proper care of the doggy. This documentation will be needed when you set up your dog at your local vet.
HOW MUCH DO DOG VACCINATIONS COST?
Dog vaccination cost varies depending on many factors including where you live, how many vaccinations you choose to go with, and which vet you choose to go to (ex. The humane society may cost less than others). Here are some breakdowns of different vaccines.
- DAP/DHPP: $20-60 on average
- Rabies vaccine: $15-45 on average
- Bordatella: $20-50 on average
- Influenza: $45-65 on average
- Lyme: $20-40 on average
As a recap, here is a timeline of vaccinations to help you and your pup easily reference what to expect when scheduling vaccinations:
- Between 6 and 8 weeks - Distemper, Measles, Parainfluenza, Bordatella
- Between 10 to 12 weeks - DAP/DHP, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease Vaccine
- Between 12-24 weeks - Rabies Vaccine
- Between 14-16 weeks - DAP/DHP, Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease Vaccine
- Between 12-16 months - Rabies, DHPP, Leptospirosis, Bordatella, Lyme Disease Vaccine
- Every 1-2 years - DHPP, Leptospirosis, Bordatella, Lyme Disease
- Every 1-3 years - Rabies
To learn more about dog vaccines, as well as get information on dog first aid, heartworm and preventative products, at-home dental, nail, and owund care, and more get access to our Dog First Aid Course in Pupford Academy +. .