A Complete Guide to Dog Vaccination Schedule


During the first year of your dog’s life, you will have to take the pooch to a vet several times to get it vaccinated. Think of vaccinations as a potential tool to jumpstart your dog’s immune response. It is very important that you follow the dog vaccination schedule strictly because that will protect the dog against harmful diseases such as Parvo.

Harmful diseases such as Distemper can prematurely end your dog’s life if you do not follow the specified schedule for vaccinations. The timing is necessary to ensure that your dog remains protected. But why is timing so important?

The Mother’s Antibodies

During the first several weeks of their lives, puppies are nursed by their mothers, and this effectively leads to a transferal of antibodies from the mother to the puppy. The antibodies provided by the mother’s body can directly interfere with the dog’s own immunity, which is why a careful system was developed.

Puppies require several vaccinations so that they are able to develop their own antibodies instead of having to rely on the antibodies generated by their mothers. It’s important that a specific schedule is followed so that they are able to grow up healthily and develop a very strong immune system.

When Should You Vaccinate?

Ideally, you should take your pup for its first vaccinations after six to eight weeks. Usually, when your pup is two months old, you should take it to the vet for its first vaccinations. If you are adopting or buying a new puppy, it’s critically important that you also get access to its medical records.

Talk to the shop owner or the animal shelter and get the details regarding the puppy’s birth and other important information. This is going to help you figure out whether the puppy has received vaccinations in the past, and will also help you determine when the puppy requires its next vaccinations.

Going to a vet is important soon after you bring your new puppy home. The vet is going to run a detailed medical checkup to determine whether the pup is doing alright, and will then create a vaccination schedule depending on the kind of lifestyle that you have planned in mind. Risk factors, such as where you live and the places you travel to, all play an important role.

Average Vaccination Cycle

Usually, the vet will give vaccines in two- to four-week intervals. This will help the animal develop actual protection. Depending on the dog’s age, they may require up to four vaccinations for developing immunity against harmful conditions such as Parvo or Distemper. The vaccinations are likely to continue until the dog reaches 20 weeks of age.

If your dog is older than 16 weeks, and hasn’t received the shots, or you simply don’t have the medical history available to determine the problem, the vet might recommend a shorter round of vaccines for your dog.

Essential Versus Nonessential Vaccines

Understanding the difference between the two is very important. Essential vaccines are ideally given to all puppies and dogs. They should be given regardless of the dog breed or any risk factors. On the other hand, nonessential vaccines are usually given depending on the lifestyle you lead, and the places that you are going to visit with your dog.

There are two essential vaccinations that you need to administer to your dog. These include the DAP vaccine and the Rabies shot. DHP, also known as DAP shots, are given for protection against Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvo. This is a combined shot that is usually given to young pups. It helps develop immunity at an early age for the animal.

Then, you have the Rabies shot. This is a necessary shot and is required by both local and state laws. The Rabies shot is generally given depending on the age of the animal, and is specified in separate intervals. These are the essential vaccines that you need to give your dog at all costs.

Nonessential Vaccines

Nonessential vaccines, also generally referred to as noncore vaccines, are important, but they are generally not required for all dog breeds. There are quite a few vaccines that fall within this category, so you will have to decide which ones to give to your dog.

These vaccines are generally dependent on your dog’s lifestyle and routine. The first and most common vaccine is the parainfluenza vaccine, also given in combination with DHP. Then, there are other medicines such as leptospirosis, which is usually given along with DHP.

A set of two vaccines are given along with a booster at the end of the year. Then, you have Bordetella, which can be given orally or intranasally. The vet is going to recommend the best route to take and the best method for giving the medication. Other options include canine influenza and Lyme disease (which is caused due to ticks).

The Best Method to Follow

If you have just adopted a new pup, you should go to a vet for treatment. It is important that you take the dog to the vet for a thorough medical checkup. The vet might also conduct an antibody test to determine whether your dog has any antibodies or if vaccinations are necessary.

Canine distemper is one of the most common and highly contagious diseases that affects the dog’s nervous system and respiratory system. It could lead to a harsh death for your animal if you are not careful. Dogs tend to often cough excessively, and can get a high fever as well. Other issues such as seizures and diarrhea can also show up. This could eventually cause paralysis and eventually lead to death.

As you can understand, it’s important for you to make sure that you take your dog to a vet and get the vaccinations done. Usually, a set of two vaccines are going to be administered for the animal. Vaccinations are needed from an early age to keep the dog healthy and fit.

Regular Vet Visits

Don’t think that once your dog’s vaccinations are completed, you don’t have to go to the vet. You will still have to take your dog after every few months to get a medical check done. These are just a few things that you should know about keeping your dog healthy and making sure that your dog doesn’t contract any harmful diseases.