What All Shots Do Puppies Need? Puppy Vaccine Schedule for Pet Parents!

puppy vaccine schedule

In your puppy’s inaugural year, adhering to a strict vaccination regimen is imperative. These vaccinations, often referred to as “shots”, are essential in preserving your puppy’s health and protecting them from various illnesses.

Your young puppy will need certain core vaccinations along with some other non-core puppy shots. The core vaccinations are important to prevent distemper, hepatitis, and the deadly canine influenza.

In this guide, we discuss the complete puppy vaccination schedule so you can keep yourself informed and not miss any shots.

Puppy Vaccine Schedule – What is a Schedule for Puppy Shots?

The AKC recommends the following puppy vaccination schedule based on your puppy’s age.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

  • Between 6-8 weeks of age – The core vaccines at this age include parvovirus and distemper. Your vet might even recommend the optional or non core vaccines for Bordetella.
  • Between 10-12 weeks of age – your puppy will need the DHPP combination puppy vaccinations. DHPP stands for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza- they are core vaccinations. Depending on your lifestyle (if you travel, you might board your puppy or send it to doggy daycare), your vet might recommend the optional vaccines for canine influenza, leptospirosis, Bordetella vaccination, and Lyme disease.
  • Between 16-18 weeks of age – your puppy will need a booster for the DHPP vaccine as well as the rabies shot, which is are core vaccinations. Non-core vaccines at this age are canine coronavirus, canine influenza, leptospira vaccine, Bordetella, and Lyme disease, depending on your pet’s lifestyle.
  •  Every 1-2 years – yearly boosters are given for DHPP along with non-core vaccines like canine influenza, leptospirosis, Bordetella, and Lyme disease.
  • Every 1-3 years – a booster shot is recommended, depending on state law, for the rabies vaccination.

What Diseases Do the Core Vaccines Prevent in Puppies?

The core vaccines could protect your puppy from the following deadly canine diseases:

Canine Distemper Virus

Canine distemper can also affect raccoons, foxes, possums, squirrels, and larger animals, including tigers, etc. 

An unvaccinated puppy could develop symptoms like pus-like discharge from the eyes, a high fever, cough, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Distemper also affects the dog’s central nervous system increasing the health threat.


The potentially fatal canine hepatitis is a highly contagious disease caused by the deadly canine hepatitis adenovirus.

Symptoms of hepatitis are fever, lack of appetite, depression, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, high fever, jaundice, swelling of the head and neck, difficulty breathing, etc. Dogs could even die without timely treatment from liver failure or kidney failure.


As the name indicates, this is a contagious viral infection in dogs. The symptoms of a severe form of canine parvovirus are similar to those of hepatitis and other canine infectious diseases, but without jaundice.

There may also be hypothermia, or a lowering of body temperature. Rapid dehydration and septic shock are also seen in this deadly disease, which is usually the cause of death in most dogs.

Canine Influenza and Parainfluenza

Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) or dog flu is a potentially deadly, contagious respiratory disease. It occurs when unvaccinated dogs come into contact with an infected animal showing signs of respiratory infections like coughing, sneezing, etc. An airborne exposure to the highly contagious virus results in the disease.

The symptoms seen in infected dogs include coughing, nasal discharge, a lack of energy, and a lack of appetite, in its mild form.

How Long After 2nd Puppy Vaccination Can They Go Out?

According to veterinary experts, you can take your puppy out for walks one week after its second round of initial vaccinations. Your vet will guide you in this matter, and it is important that you listen to them and follow the vaccination schedules given.

It can be tempting to take your puppy out but remember that the dog’s immune system is still underdeveloped. This makes your dog susceptible to diseases like parvovirus and influenza. These diseases can also be fatal, as your dog’s body is not equipped to fight them.

Please follow the above first vaccination schedule and stay up to date with them to keep your puppy healthy and happy. A blood test or titer test can confirm the presence of antibodies in your pet’s body.

How Many Shots Do Puppies Need Before Going Outside? What Week are Puppies fully vaccinated?

Only a puppy that is 10 weeks of age or older and that has received all the core vaccine shots or puppy vaccines recommended until this age is equipped to handle deadly canine diseases.

This means that your dog will need the combination vaccine for DHPP, or distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus shots, which are given between 6-8 weeks, and again a booster at 10-12 weeks.

Depending on the area you live in, your vet may even recommend the non-core shots for Bordetella or Kennel Cough as well as canine influenza, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease in case your dog comes in contact with an infected dog.

As mentioned earlier, you may only take your puppy out for walks to the dog parks a week after it has received its 10-week shots.

Also Read: What Shots Do Puppies Need?

Do You Have to Wait 4 Weeks Between Puppy Vaccinations?

Yes, vets recommend waiting at least 3-4 weeks of age between the distemper shots, since, your puppy’s body needs those antibodies so it can continue fighting those deadly distemper-causing pathogens.

When your puppy is born, the dam nurses it with her milk, which provides it with all the necessary antibodies. That is why good breeders will wait until the puppy is at least 8 weeks old to send it to its forever home.

You need to vaccinate your puppy starting at 6 weeks and then repeat the DHPP booster every 3-4 weeks to help maintain those antibodies.

 The first set of puppy’s vaccinations “sensitizes” the dog’s body against the deadly pathogens, whereas the second set of vaccines really triggers the antibody action to prevent those diseases from causing the deadly symptoms. This will protect your puppy’s life if it comes into close contact with an infected animal.

That is why a wait time of 4 weeks is a must.

How Many Shots Until a Puppy Is Vaccinated?

A puppy is considered fully vaccinated at 18 months of age. If you follow the puppy shot schedule, you will start the vaccinations at six to eight weeks, and they will go on until about 16-18 weeks, with a period of 2-4 weeks in between. If your puppy is at the breeder’s at the age of 6 weeks, then they will cover these early vaccines.

Adult dogs aged 1-3 years will also need several booster vaccinations and, if the state law mandates it, a rabies vaccine every 1- 3 years.

FAQs – How Often Should New Puppies Get Their Shots?

How many shots do puppies get, and when?

Puppies get several shots annually. Starting at the age of 6 weeks for the first vaccination, they will need shots every 3-4 weeks until they are 18 months old.

Adult dogs will also need routine care and booster shots every 1-3 years with an additional rabies vaccine, as per state mandate.

What are initial Puppy vaccination costs?

Depending on the veterinary practice and the state you live in, you’d pay between $115-$250 for the core and non core vaccinations.

When should the rabies vaccine be given to puppies?

The CDC recommends giving the rabies vaccine to dogs no sooner than 3 months of age.

Do dogs really need kennel cough vaccine?

Dogs that attend doggy daycare facilities or are enrolled in group training classes must get the Bordetella vaccination. Similarly, all dogs in animal shelters should get this shot.

What are non core vaccinations?

Non core vaccinations are Bordetella, Leptospira vaccine, rattlesnake vaccine, Lyme disease, and canine influenza virus vaccine.

Does pet insurance cover puppy shots cost?

Most pet insurance plans cover puppy shots cost, although some may require that you purchase an additional wellness plan for this coverage.

Also Read: Comparing Insurance for Bulldogs

Conclusion – Puppy Vaccination

It is important to remain up to date with your dog’s annual vaccinations. Puppies need several vaccines to protect them from deadly zoonotic disease, bacterial disease, infectious diseases, and viruses. They boost your dog’s immune system and help fight the pathogens causing these diseases.

We hope this guide helps you stick to vaccine schedule and follow the medical records given by the vet.

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