What Is DHPP Vaccine For Dogs? An Expert Guide For Your Dog

DHPP Vaccine For Dogs

Owning a dog brings great joy but also a great responsibility. You thought that vaccines are important only for humans?

Well, you are wrong! Dogs also need vaccines to stay protected from unwanted diseases.

We are aware that this sounds like an unnecessary expense, especially for new pet parents. But dog vaccines are the best way to protect your dog.

Let’s discuss everything about the DHPP vaccine for dogs and its importance!

Key Takeaways:

  • DHPP vaccine is a core vaccine that protects animals from infections that spread rapidly.
  • A proper vaccination schedule must be followed in order to get the desired effects.
  • DHPP vaccine protects dogs from Parvovirus, Distemper Virus, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus.

What Are Vaccines for Dogs?

In simple words, vaccines are preparations of killed or altered microorganisms that are injected into the animal’s body. The main way of action is stimulating the immune system of dogs.

This means that the next time dogs get in contact with a certain microorganism, the dog won’t get sick or will have a less severe illness.

To explain it in more detail, the immune system of dogs keeps them safe from “foreign invaders” like bacteria and microorganisms. Microorganisms, when they enter the animal’s body, are known as antigens.

The animal’s immune system reacts to the antigens by producing antibodies.

So what did we learn? Vaccines mean giving antigens to dogs to provoke antibody release. The next time dogs get in close contact with the same microorganism, their body will produce more antibodies, and the animal might suffer fewer consequences than usual.

How are vaccines administered to dogs?

Administration of vaccines must wait until maternal immunity has waned. Newborn puppies shouldn’t be vaccinated immediately.

In dogs, most of the vaccines are injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Proper hygiene must be maintained at the moment of the vaccine administration to avoid potential infections.

What Is DHPP for Dogs?

The DHPP vaccine for dogs is the 5-in-1 vaccine for dogs. It protects dogs from more than one disease. It prevents the following:

  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine parainfluenza virus
  • Canine adenovirus (infectious canine hepatitis)

Vaccines do not provide 100% protection. However, with a vaccine, an adult dog is at a lower risk of getting a certain disease.

More about Canine Distemper Virus

According to the American Kennel Club, canine distemper virus is a highly contagious virus that is difficult to treat. It is spread through direct contact, airborne exposure, and the placenta.

Distemper virus affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. It results in 2 stages. The first stage is manifested with the following signs:

  • Fever
  • Nasal and eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dermatitis
  • Brain and spinal cord inflammation
  • Difficulty breathing

The second stage affects the neurological systems of dogs.

This disease is also known as “hard pad disease” because it includes hyperkeratosis of the paw pads and nose of the animal.

If the animals receive this vaccine on time, the next time they come into contact with the disease, they will develop less severe symptoms or not at all.

More about Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is known as a highly contagious virus that might lead to death consequences in 90% of the cases. It is transmitted through direct contact with contaminated feces.

The most common symptoms are gastrointestinal, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration

The disease mostly occurs in young dogs, but it is also common in older dogs. But we have good news! This disease can be prevented with the DHPP vaccine for dogs.

More about Canine Parainfluenza Virus

This is another highly contagious disease that manifests with respiratory signs and is known as infectious tracheobronchitis. The most common symptom is a persistent cough that might last for 1-3 weeks. Other common signs include:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Pneumonia

The mortality rate for this disease is from 1 to 5%, but there is something that you can do to stop this disease. You can vaccinate your dog, and even if the disease occurs, the animal will have less severe clinical symptoms.

More about Canine Adenovirus (infectious canine hepatitis)

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, this is a worldwide serious disease that can speak quickly and manifests with a slight fever, leukopenia, and coagulation disorders.

Why Are DHPP Vaccines Necessary for Dogs?

This combination vaccine provides multiple protection for dogs. This is the best option because getting multiple vaccines is a complex and demanding process for both the dog and the owner.

Each component of the vaccine plays a crucial role in preventing potentially fatal diseases. Dogs that receive the DHPP vaccine have a better immune response when a certain antibody enters their organism.

We are sure that you have heard of Parvovirus from many dog owners. Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract of the animal and is more than just a mild disease.

The disease progresses in no time, and the mortality rate is very high. This disease can become fatal for many dogs.

On the other side, the Distemper virus might look like your dog developed a kennel cough from the doggie daycare. If it is a kennel cough, then we might even say that you are lucky enough.

We are saying this because the treatment process for distemper is much more difficult than you can imagine.

If you are a well-experienced pet owner, you might even recognize the symptoms of the kennel cough. The most common sign is a hacking cough that is similar to the symptoms of a human cold.

Affected animals might experience life-long effects. That is why vaccination against highly contagious diseases is recommended.

When speaking about canine parainfluenza belongs to the group of serious diseases that can even get complicated with secondary bacterial pneumonia. Dogs affected with parainfluenza have a runny nose and eyes, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory signs.

This is a serious respiratory infection that is rapidly spread. So, let us give you one more tip about this disease. If you have other dogs in the same household, proper isolation practices must be maintained.

But that’s not all! Canine hepatitis is another highly contagious virus that primarily targets the dog’s liver and can lead to permanent organ damage.

Among everything previously mentioned, dogs can have conjunctivitis, oculonasal discharge, abdominal pain, fever, and mild lethargy.

Yes, your dog can get into close contact with an infected animal, but vaccines will reduce the chances of developing more severe symptoms. In the end, remember that an unvaccinated dog is at higher risk of getting all these diseases.

The DHPP vaccine is a core vaccination that is needed by all dogs. DHPP vaccine protects the dog’s immune system from serious diseases. But to provide a better immune response, you must follow a vaccination schedule that is recommended by a veterinarian.

To avoid further confusion, you might find the DHPP vaccine by the name of the DAPP vaccine (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza).

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), there is a suggested guideline for the DHPP vaccine for dogs. Let’s take a look!

Puppy shots’ initial doses require at least 3 doses of the DHPP vaccine between the 6th and 16th week. Each dose should be 2-4 weeks apart.

On the other side, adult dogs that are older than 16 weeks need 2 doses of the combination vaccine. Each dose should be 2-4 weeks apart.

But the vaccination process does not stop here. Each year, adult dogs need a DHPP booster shot to “remind” the dog’s immune system to produce enough antibodies. This might depend because some veterinarians recommend a DHPP booster dose once every 3 years.

Core vaccines are obligatory in shelters and kennels. Adult dogs that have unknown vaccination status should receive booster vaccination at a frequency recommended by a veterinarian.

Do DHPP Vaccines Lead to Adverse Reactions in Dogs?

When applied on time, vaccines protect the puppy’s immune system, but it is no secret that vaccines might lead to adverse reactions in dogs. The good news is that most of the vaccines lead to mild side effects that usually go away in 1 to 2 days of the vaccination.

First things first, don’t vaccinate a sick dog. This will do more harm than good. The animal must be dewormed and completely healthy before the vet administers the vaccines.

According to AAHA, dogs with existing medical conditions are at increased risk of possible adverse effects.

Pain and swelling on the injection site are very common side effects. The digestive system of the animal can also be affected by vaccines and can lead to diarrhea or vomiting.

Just in case, inform your veterinarian if any side effects occur. If the symptoms don’t go away in 1-2 days, seek professional help.

Which Other Vaccine Shots Do Puppies Need?

Besides good puppy food, puppy training, entertaining, socialization, and comfortable bedding, puppies need proper veterinary care. Every dog owner needs a proper education about the vaccination in dogs.

Therefore, besides the core vaccines, dogs need non-core vaccines depending on the geolocation and the veterinarian’s recommendations, and this includes the following:

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (canine Lyme disease)
  • Leptospira bacteria
  • Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake)


Is the DHPP vaccine the same as 5-in-1?

Yes, the DHPP vaccine is the same as the 5-in-1. This vaccine protects dogs from Distemper Virus, Canine Adenovirus 1 and 2, Canine Parainfluenza, and Canine Parvovirus.

This vaccine is also known as the DAPP vaccine.

How often do dogs need DHPP shots?

The series of DHPP shots in dogs should be given in the first year of life. After that, every year, dogs should receive booster shots. Some dogs can receive booster shots once every 3 years, and this depends on the veterinarian’s choice.

What are the side effects of DHPP?

Not all dogs develop side effects after the DHPP vaccine. In rare cases, some dogs might develop gastrointestinal disturbances like vomiting and diarrhea. Also, redness, swelling, and pain are possible on the injection site, and very rare, a serious allergic reaction might occur.

Are vaccinated dogs at risk when exposed to infected dogs?

A vaccinated adult dog that is exposed to an infected animal is at a lower risk of getting a certain infectious disease. Each dog’s immune system is built differently.

To Sum Up:

The DHPP vaccine for dogs is a core vaccine and it is recommended for all dogs no matter the geolocation, dog’s age, health condition, or lifestyle.

Young puppies are protected due to the antibodies from the maternal milk; however, at some point, they might have weakened immune systems. And this is the main purpose of core vaccines.

However, the DHPP vaccine for dogs does not provide 100% protection for dogs. If you notice some unusual clinical symptoms, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Did your dog receive the DHPP vaccine? We are curious what is your experience with vaccines. Let us know in the comment section below!

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