Vaccination Schedule For Puppies and Dogs – Complete Guide

vaccination schedule for puppies and dogs

If you’re like most pet owners, you want to do what’s best for your furry friend. That means ensuring they get the vaccinations they need to stay healthy and protected. But which vaccines should puppies be vaccinated against, and when should they receive them? In this Vaccination Schedule For Puppies and Dogs – Complete Guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about puppy vaccine schedules. From the most common diseases to when to vaccinate, we’ve got you covered!

Please seek veterinary attention immediately if your puppy becomes ill or develops complications after receiving vaccines.  

How Do Vaccines Work?

A dog vaccine is a small amount of dead or weakened viruses, bacteria, or other organisms that has been engineered to provoke an immune response in dogs.

When injected into your puppy’s body as part of their regular vaccination series, these antigenic proteins stimulate a vigorous antibody response against the disease-causing agent.

Whenever your pup comes into contact with something potentially harmful – like another dog who may have contracted one of the vaccinated diseases – the antibodies they generate will help protect them from developing the illness.

Core Vaccines versus Non-Core Vaccines

There are two different categories of vaccines; Core and Non-Core.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are administered to healthy dogs.

Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are administered selectively to dogs based on geography, lifestyle, and exposure risk.

When Should Puppies Get Their Vaccines?

A vaccination schedule (or puppy shot schedule) can start as early as six to eight weeks of age and then again four weeks later, followed by a final vaccination series at around 16 -18 weeks old.

There is no one “correct” puppy vaccine schedule for every pup; each pup will react differently to different formulations of vaccines, so it is important that you carefully research which puppy vaccinations are appropriate for your particular dog breed and lifestyle.

Make sure to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pup’s vaccination schedule- there can be serious consequences if done incorrectly.

Make sure to schedule vaccines ahead of time so your puppy is fully protected against all the diseases they might come in contact with.

Typical Vaccine Schedule

The vaccine schedule for puppies is typically six doses over the course of 16 weeks. Each dose should be given at least 2-4 weeks after the previous one, depending on the age of the puppy receiving that particular vaccine.

Vaccines that puppies need include the rabies vaccine, canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, canine adenovirus, kennel cough, and coronavirus. By following the vaccine schedule correctly, you can help protect your new puppy from common illnesses and injuries.

An adult dog vaccination schedule, which includes periodic booster immunizations, can be scheduled after the puppy vaccination schedule has been completed, or immediately upon welcoming an adolescent or adult dog into your family.

Vaccine Schedule as Recommended by the American Kennel Club

AgeRecommended VaccineOptional Vaccines
6 – 8 WeeksDistemper, Parvovirus (Parvo)Bordetella
10 – 12 WeeksDHPP : Combination Vaccine – Included Are Vaccines For Distemper, Adenovirus [Hepatitis], Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus (Parvo)Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease Per Lifestyle As Recommended By Veterinarian
16 – 18 WeeksDHPP, RabiesInfluenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease Per Lifestyle As Recommended By Veterinarian
12 – 16 MonthsDHPP, RabiesCoronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1 – 2 YearsDHPPInfluenza, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease per lifestyle
Every 1 – 3 YearsRabies (As Required by Law)None

So What Exactly are the Diseases Vaccines Guard Against?

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Inflammation of your dog’s upper respiratory system is caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica. Your dog may get secondary infections as a result of this inflammation, which causes coughing and illness.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica is often referred to as kennel cough as it is often transferred from canines that are in boarding facilities, grooming facilities, visiting a dog park, and other close interaction with other dogs who have been infected.

The good news is that Bordetella bronchiseptica is generally treatable. To avoid any secondary illnesses causing further complications, your veterinarian may recommend your dog get a few weeks of rest, cough medicine, and perhaps antibiotics.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and neurological systems in dogs and other animals. Distemper is highly contagious and can be deadly.

Distemper is transmitted through the air by the infected animal sneezing and coughing and through shared water bowls and equipment.

Symptoms of distemper include fever, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and death. There can also be eye and nasal discharge.

There is no cure for distemper.

Canine Hepatitis

Unrelated to human hepatitis, canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the dog’s liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes.

Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver.

Vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, pain around the liver and enlargement of the stomach are all symptoms of canine hepatitis. A low fever and mucous membrane congestion are other symptoms.

Though a dog can recover from a mild case of canine hepatit a severe case can be deadly.

There is no cure for canine hepatitis and treatment surrounds treating the symptoms.

Canine Parainfluenza

A highly contagious lung disease. It is one of the most frequent contributing factors of Kennel cough.


Canine coronavirus is not the same as covid 19. It is a highly contagious intestional infection especially in puppies.

Many cases are spread through oral contact with fecal matter and also though direct contact from contaminated food bowls or with being in contact with an infected dog.

Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is also known as infectious tracheobronchitis. It is a highly infectious disease caused by viral, bacterial, and other diseases such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza. Multiple infections are often seen in kennel cough.

Kennel cough is easily transmitted from dog to dog in close contact like boarding facilities, dog parks, groomers etc.

Symptoms include a harsh dry cough. Loss of appetite can also occur.


Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria and can be found worldwide in soil and water.

What is different with this disease than the others is that it can spread from canine to human.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, infertility, jaundice, kidney failure with and without liver failure, lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle pain, severe weakness, and stiffness.

Treatment is usually antibiotics.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks.

Symptoms include swelling of the lymph nodes, fever, limping and loss of appetite.

Left untreated, it can affect the heart, kidneys, and joints and even lead to neurological disorders.

Antibiotics can be used to treat and are useful if started early.


Unvaccinated dogs and puppies under the age of four months are at the greatest risk of contracting Parvovirus aks parvo, which is a highly infectious virus that can affect all dogs.

Parvo affects the gastrointestinal system causing a loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and often severe, bloody diarrhea.

Extreme dehydration can occur and kill the dog within 48-72 hours so quick intervention is imperative.

There is no cure but keeping the dog hydrated and controlling secondary illnesses is the go-to treatment until the dog’s immune system overcomes the illness.


Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. Rabies is often transmitted through a bite of an infected animal.

Symptoms include anxiety, excessive drooling, fear of water, hallucinations, headache, paralysis, and death.

It is critical to seek treatment as soon as possible after infection, or else death is likely.

By law, the only shot required in most U.S. states is the rabies vaccine.


In dogs and other animals, heartworm disease causes substantial lung problems, cardiac failure, other organ damage, and death.

As the name implies, worms lodge in the heart and the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. The worms can also invade the kidneys and liver.

Since Heartworm disease is not infectious, a dog cannot catch it from contact with an infected animal. A mosquito bite is the only way to get heartworm disease.

Symptoms often are non-existent in a new infection; however, in the later stages, symptoms can include cough, breathing difficulties, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Though there is no vaccine for heartworm, there is preventative medication.

Video: Puppy Vaccines

What To Do If Your Puppy Gets Sick After Getting Vaccinated?

It’s never easy when your puppy gets sick after getting vaccinated, but it’s essential to be proactive about keeping them healthy. That’s why following the vaccine schedule as prescribed by your vet is so important. NEVER deviate from it, as doing so could put your pet in danger.

If your puppy gets sick after getting vaccinated, here are a few things you can do to help them get better:

– Keep an eye on your pup for any changes in behavior or appetite.

– Contact your veterinarian.

– Make sure to keep an ice pack on your puppy’s foot or ice pack and cold water on their chest to reduce inflammation and fever.

You May Be Interested In Reading: Is My Dog Sick? 10 Signs and Symptoms of a Sick Dog


Is it possible to delay or omit some of the vaccination doses, if necessary?

Some people choose to delay or omit some of the vaccination doses if they find it necessary. However, this decision must be made in consultation with a veterinarian as it can affect the puppy’s immunity levels and health. 

What are some of the side effects of vaccinations for puppies?

Vaccinations can be risky for puppies if done incorrectly. Some of the most common side effects of puppies receiving vaccines include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death. 

Please seek veterinary attention immediately if your puppy becomes ill or develops complications after receiving vaccines.  

How should I prepare my puppy for their first vaccination visit?

Bring your puppy to their first visit well-fed and rested, as this will help them feel calm during the appointment.

If you can, bring a pal or stuffed animal to keep your pup occupied while waiting. Avoid bringing your pup into a tense or anxious atmosphere.

How effective are vaccines for dogs?

The effectiveness of a dog’s vaccination depends on how well it matches the disease your pet encounters. However, even if a vaccine does not completely protect your pet from a disease, it will still help decrease the exposure risk and reduce the severity of symptoms, should they occur.

How many shots does a puppy need before going outside?

Your puppy should be fully vaccinated before venturing outside other than trips to the veterinarian.

How much do puppy vaccinations cost?

There is no one answer to this question, as vaccination prices and discounts vary depending on the specific vaccine, manufacturer, or location. However, puppy vaccinations generally range from around $40 to $130.

One way to save money on puppy vaccines is by visiting a low-cost vaccination clinic.

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Puppies are adorable and cuddly but also susceptible to illnesses and injuries.

It’s important to stay on track with your puppy’s vaccination schedule so you don’t have to restart vaccinations if too much time has lapsed. 

As the years pass don’t forget that our adult dogs need their vaccinations also.

As shown in this post, Vaccination Schedule For Puppies and Dogs – Complete Guide, the diseases your puppy and dog can get are many and can be severe. With a simple vaccine you can if not totally prevent those diseases you can greatly reduce their severity.

Do you have any stories with your dog’s vaccinations? Please comment below.

Please note: The information provided in this article is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis but instead should be used as an outline for what can generally be expected from specific vaccination series. Always consult your veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s health regimen.

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