What Shots Do Puppies Need? The Complete Guide

what shots do puppies need

Numerous first-time pet parents often inquire, “Which shots are necessary for my puppy?”

Keeping your puppy vaccinated is key to making sure they grow up healthy and strong.

In this article, we’ve put together this friendly guide to walk you through the must-know puppy shots and vaccinations.

We will also cover your puppy shot schedule, and other important tips to help you keep your furry friend happy and healthy!

So, let’s get started on this journey to protecting your puppy’s health!

The Importance of Puppy Vaccinations

When it comes to your precious pup, vaccinations play a super important role in not only keeping them safe from harmful diseases.

It also gives their immune system a much-needed boost.

Vaccinating your furry friend will shield them from scary, life-threatening illnesses.

It also helps to stop the spread of infectious diseases among the dog community.

And hey, as a bonus, vaccinations can save you a pretty penny. It will help you avoid costly treatments for diseases that could have been prevented in the first place.

Win-win, right?

What Shots Do Puppies Need: Core Vaccines and Non-Core Vaccines

Let’s now talk about the two main types of vaccines your puppy will need.

These are the core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations.

Think of core vaccines as the must-haves for every puppy, no matter what.

On the other hand, non-core vaccines are more like the cherry on top. It depends on your pup’s lifestyle, where they live, and their specific risk factors.

Let’s make sure your fur baby gets exactly what they need to stay happy and healthy!

Core Vaccines

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper virus is a severely contagious disease.

It is caused by airborne exposure or direct contact with an infected dog or contaminated objects.

Canine distemper in dogs affects the dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems.

It is imperative that puppies receive vaccinations against this disease.

Adhering to the recommended vaccination schedule is vital for managing your puppy’s health.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and dangerous virus that causes severe gastrointestinal issues.

Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are most common for dogs who have parvovirus.

This aggressive virus poses a significant threat to young dogs.

Young dogs who have weak immune systems that may have parvovirus can often be fatal if left untreated.

To safeguard your puppy’s health, it is of utmost importance to vaccinate them against parvovirus.

This vaccination is essential for all puppies to ensure their long-term well-being and protection against life-threatening diseases.

Canine Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis is a disease triggered by the canine adenovirus.

It can have a significant impact on a dog’s liver, kidneys, and eyes.

This dangerous illness can result in severe health complications.

This can potentially lead to life-threatening situations or even the untimely death of infected dogs.

To prevent the occurrence of this harmful disease, it is crucial to vaccinate you puppy against canine hepatitis.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a zoonotic disease. It has an alarming potential to be transmitted from animals to humans.

Posing a significant risk to public health.

This fatal illness targets the central nervous system.

Once symptoms manifest, it is almost always lethal, leaving little to no chance for recovery.

Administering the rabies vaccine to dogs is not only a crucial component of the core vaccines.

Rabies vaccination is usually mandated by law to ensure the safety of your fur baby and you.

Non-Core Vaccinations

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza or dog flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection.

Although it is not typically fatal, this infection can lead to severe respiratory complications.

This may spread rapidly among dogs, causing widespread health threats.

The canine influenza virus vaccine is a non-core vaccination.

It is recommended for dogs that come into contact with other dogs.

Vaccinating dogs that are frequently exposed to social environments can help lessen the transmission and prevalence of canine influenza.

Kennel Cough (Bordetella Vaccine)

Bordetella or kennel cough is a type of highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs.

Symptoms of this disease are coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge.

Kennel cough can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life. It can also spread rapidly among other dogs in close proximity.

This puppy vaccine schedule is recommended for dogs that have frequent interactions with other dogs.

Or to those dogs who stay in boarding facilities, doggy daycare, or attend group training classes.

Leptospirosis Vaccine

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that poses serious health threats to dogs.

It can lead to kidney failure, liver damage, and in severe cases, death.

This disease can usually be contracted through exposure to infected animals or contaminated water sources.

It is a potential hazard for dogs that frequent outdoor or aquatic environments.

This vaccine is recommended for your dog depending on their level of exposure to potential sources of infection.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted via infected ticks.

This Lyme disease presents a range of concerning symptoms. This includes fever, joint swelling, and lethargy.

This condition can affect your dog’s quality of life. It may lead to long-term health complications if left untreated.

If your pup is living in or frequently visiting areas with a high prevalence of Lyme disease, you should definitely get them vaccinated.

Canine Coronavirus

This highly contagious virus is a mild form of gastrointestinal illness that primarily affects puppies.

It can lead to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

The majority of cases are not life-threatening. However, they can still cause distress for your affected dog.

The canine coronavirus is a non-core vaccine and is only administered to dogs at high risk of exposure and those with weak immune systems.

Vaccination Schedule

Following a proper puppy vaccination schedule is important for your fur baby.

Having a puppy vaccination schedule will guarantee that your puppy is protected.

Your fur baby’s vaccination schedule may vary based on your veterinarian’s guidance. It can also depend on your puppy’s individual needs.

This ensures that your furry companion receives timely vaccinations and booster shots to ward off potential health threats.

It is important to work closely with your veterinarian to understand your puppy’s needs.

Through this, you will be able to provide the best protection possible for your pup.

Here’s a guide on what shots puppies need at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, and 12 weeks of age:

Six to Eight Weeks of Age

The first set of vaccinations is a combination vaccine of:

  • Hepatitis,
  • Distemper,
  • Parvovirus, and
  • Parainfluenza.

These core vaccinations are vital for safeguarding your puppy against some of the most prevalent and dangerous diseases.

In some instances, the initial Bordetella vaccine and the canine influenza vaccine may also be administered at this stage.

Make sure your puppy receives these essential vaccinations in a timely manner. In this way, you lay the foundation for their long-term health and well-being.

Nine to Twelve Weeks of Age

At nine to twelve weeks old, your puppy will need to receive a booster shot for the DHPP or DAPP vaccine.

This follow-up dose helps to reinforce their immune system response.

It will ensure that they remain protected against these dangerous diseases as they grow.

It may also be the appropriate time to administer the leptospirosis and Lyme disease vaccines.

This depends on the specific risk factors and the prevalence of these diseases in your area.

Consult your veterinarian o know if these non-core vaccinations are necessary for your pet.

Twelve to Sixteen Weeks of Age

Between twelve and sixteen weeks of age, puppies are due for their first rabies vaccine.

This vaccine helps shield your pet from the fatal consequences of rabies.

It also prevents the transmission of this dangerous disease to other animals and humans.

Annual Booster Shots and Adult Dog Vaccinations

It is a must to continue with annual booster shots for both core and non-core vaccines after your puppy’s initial vaccination schedule.

Work closely with your veterinarian to ensure your furry companion remains protected and enjoys a healthy, happy life.

Cost and Pet Insurance

Puppy Vaccinations Cost

The expense associated with puppy vaccinations can differ based on several factors like:

  • Your geographic location,
  • The specific vaccines required, and
  • The fees are charged by your chosen veterinarian.

Many pet parents opt for pet insurance to help manage the costs of vaccinations.

The Value of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance policies can cover a portion or the entirety of the vaccination costs. However, this depends on your selected plan.

These pet insurance policies make vaccinations affordable.

It also ensures that pet owners can provide the best possible care for their beloved furry companions.

Safeguard your pet’s health and maintain financial peace of mind. Research the best pet insurance option for you and your pet!

Looking for pet insurance for your bulldog? Check out this blog: Comparing Insurance for Bulldogs: Find the Best Coverage for Your Pet

Additional Considerations

Maternal Antibodies and Puppy’s Immune System

Puppies obtain their mother’s antibodies from their mom’s milk.

It offers temporary immunity against a range of diseases during the early weeks of life.

These antibodies play a crucial role in safeguarding young puppies.

However, these maternal antibodies can also interfere with the effectiveness of vaccinations.

It can neutralize the vaccine components before the puppy’s immune system can respond.

This is why it is essential to adhere to a recommended vaccination schedule. This will ensure proper protection for your puppy.

Vaccination Risks and Side Effects

Vaccinations are typically safe and well-tolerated by puppies.

But, some may experience mild side effects following their shots.

These side effects can include:

  • Fever,
  • Lethargy, or
  • Soreness/swelling at the injection site.

Always monitor your puppy for any signs of distress after vaccinations.

Consult your veterinarian with any concerns.

Socialization and Group Training Classes

Socialization is crucial for puppies to develop into well-adjusted adult dogs.

However, there are times when being with other puppies can put your puppies at risk.

It is crucial that puppies attending group classes are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

This is in order to minimize the risk of spreading contagious diseases among their canine friends.

By doing so, you can help protect your pup while setting them up for their socialization journey.

Conclusion: Protecting Your Puppy’s Health

Ensuring that your puppy receives the appropriate vaccinations is a crucial aspect to keep your pup safe and sound as they grow up.

You can be confident in providing the best care for your pup when you follow your vet’s recommended vaccination schedule.

Keep in mind that every puppy is unique, and their vaccination needs may vary depending on their breed, age, lifestyle, and overall health.

Therefore, it is essential to maintain an open line of communication with your veterinarian. They will be able to provide personalized advice and guidance for your pup’s needs.

By working closely with your veterinarian, you can make informed decisions about vaccinations and other aspects of your puppy’s healthcare.

This will ultimately ensure a happy, healthy, and well-protected companion for years to come.


What shots does a puppy really need?

A puppy needs core vaccinations.

This includes shots for canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and rabies.

These vaccines protect against life-threatening diseases and are essential for every puppy.

Non-core vaccinations, like those for Bordetella, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease, depending on the pup’s lifestyle and risk factors.

How many shots do puppies need before going out?

Puppies should have their first round of core vaccinations (usually DHPP or DAPP) at six to eight weeks old before going out to public places.

This helps build immunity against common diseases.

However, it’s best to consult with your vet about when it’s safe for your pup to venture outdoors.

When should a puppy have all their shots by?

Puppies should complete their initial vaccination series by 16 weeks of age.

This includes core vaccinations like DHPP or DAPP boosters, and the rabies vaccine.

Non-core vaccinations may also be administered during this period. It depends on your puppy’s risk factors.

What does the 7 in 1 puppy shots cover?

The 7-in-1 puppy shot or the DHLPP vaccine covers canine distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza.

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