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Puppy Vaccine Guide: Shot Schedules, List of Vaccines & More | Pupford

December 11th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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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 puppy 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 puppy 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 and common puppy shot schedules.

Let's get to it. 👇


different ages dogs and puppies need to get different shots

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…

🐶 Learn life-saving dog first aid skills like CPR, at-home wound care, and more in an online video course! Get access here.


list of vaccines that dogs need to get

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 discharge from the eyes 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 dehydration which can be fatal to a dog.

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.


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 of 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.


dog waiting in vets office to get their shots

The next three vaccines are ‘optional’ vaccines, but it is always good to ask your veterinarian for their recommendation on whether 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. Three elective vaccines you can get for your puppy include:

  1. Parainfluenza vaccine
  2. Bordatella vaccine
  3. Lyme disease vaccine

More on each below. 👇


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 sneezes, 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 inflamed bronchi and trachea and is very contagious.


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.

To learn more about these vaccines and more, check out our Dog First Aid Course taught by Dr. Shelby Baden, DVM, in Pupford Academy Plus.


documents you need when you get a new 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 dogs into competitions, as proof of pedigree will be required. However, 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.
🐶 Learn life-saving dog first aid skills like CPR, at-home wound care, and more in an online video course! Get access here.


different costs of vaccinations for dogs

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 vaccine costs for dogs:

  • 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


Dog Shot Schedule

As a recap, here is a timeline of vaccinations to help you and your puppy 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


a dog about to get a vaccine | Pupford

Getting a new dog or puppy can be challenging and overwhelming, especially when it comes to health-related issues. Hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of what your puppy's vaccine schedule may be, what ones they need, and what ones they need to keep them happy and healthy!

To learn more about dog vaccines, as well as get information on dog first aid, heartworm and preventative products, at-home dental, nail, and wound care, and more, get access to our Dog First Aid Course in Pupford Academy +. Learn more here.

🐶 Learn life-saving dog first aid skills like CPR, at-home wound care, and more in an online video course! Get access here.


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