Why Vaccinate Your Puppy?

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While bringing home a new puppy is a joyous occasion, it can also be a bit daunting. Toys, food, bedding, toilet training, and many other things all need to be purchased and planned for. Additionally, it's crucial to give preventative care by making sure your new puppy has the required vaccinations. Puppies who receive vaccinations are less likely to contract potentially fatal infectious illnesses including rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.

Follow your veterinarian's advised immunization regimen for your new dog if you want to keep your pet healthy and content.

What is the Importance of Vaccinating Your Puppy?

Puppies' immune systems are still developing when they are born, making them less able to fight off illnesses than adult canines. Through breastfeeding, moms provide their puppies with a source of protective antibodies. Nursing moms give their puppies colostrum, a kind of milk that is particularly high in antibodies during the first few hours of life. Puppies who have these antibodies have momentary immunity to disease. Although the duration of this protection varies from puppy to puppy, it is widely accepted that maternal antibodies start to diminish at around 16 weeks of age and eventually disappear.

Vaccines are made to elicit immune responses and guard against subsequent disease infection. All pups should receive a few basic vaccinations that offer protection from the most common and serious illnesses. The vaccinations referred to as "core" are those that are most frequently seen as being crucial for pups. Non-core vaccinations could also be advised depending on where you live and the environment your puppy is exposed to. Your puppy's chances of contracting these diseases should be discussed with your veterinarian. Vaccines are available to help protect your pup from some of the most common canine diseases, such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. It is important to ensure that your puppy is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations, as these diseases can be deadly and highly contagious. Vaccinating your puppy is the best way to protect it from these illnesses and keep it healthy.

How They Work

Vaccinations for puppies are normally started at around six to eight weeks of age, followed by a second dose every three to four weeks until the puppy is at least four months old. Combination vaccinations, which provide many of these shots in one injection, are often used. The vaccine schedule and other treatments for your puppy, such as deworming, starting heartworm prevention, and arranging a spay or neuter, will be discussed at your puppy's initial veterinarian examination. The actual injection of the vaccination is usually painless. While some puppies appear to feel a slight squeeze or sting, others show no response as all.

Before giving your puppy its shots, your veterinarian will need to do a physical checkup. A puppy with a fever or other significant symptoms should not typically receive vaccinations since the vaccine may not be as effective or could worsen the condition of the puppy if the body is already fighting an infection.

Immunity does not develop immediately after vaccination; it might take up to a few weeks, depending on the animal, to start working. Puppies who have maternal antibodies present will not respond to vaccination as well and will consequently be less protected. The need for boosters stems from the fact that it is impossible to know if a puppy still possesses maternal antibodies. Up to the age of four months, or after the last puppy booster, there is no guarantee of full immunity. Till all immunizations have been administered, refrain from taking your puppy to dog parks, taking them for walks outside in public areas, or otherwise exposing your puppy to unidentified animals.

Which vaccinations does my puppy need?

Core and non-core vaccines are categories for annual vaccinations. Every dog receives basic vaccinations from a veterinarian. Non-core vaccinations are administered on a case-by-case basis. Whether a dog gets them or not will depend on a variety of criteria, including the dog's age, health, and location.

Knowing which immunizations pups need and which ones are crucial but optional may sometimes be perplexing since we hear about so many different vaccinations, for so many different ailments. The illnesses that vaccines can help your pet prevent are listed below.

Even though it may seem inconvenient to have to take your dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis for vaccinations over the course of several months and then again for boosters or titers throughout its lifetime, the diseases that vaccinations protect our pets from are dangerous, potentially fatal, and, thankfully, largely preventable.

Core vs Non-Core Vaccinations

‌Core vaccines:‌

Combination vaccination against canine distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), and parvovirus, known as DHP/DAP. The terms DHP/DAP and DHPP/DAPP are occasionally used interchangeably, with the second P designating the inclusion of a parainfluenza vaccine.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination offers defense against the rabies virus and is frequently mandated by law in several places. This virus targets the neurons and the central nervous system, frequently resulting in animal death in unvaccinated animals.

‌Non-core vaccines:‌

Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) is one of a number of respiratory viruses that cause kennel cough. A DHPP vaccination may contain the parainfluenza vaccine or it may be administered separately.

This vaccination offers a defense against the extremely contagious bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is the main cause of kennel cough.

Leptospirosis: Depending on where you reside, a leptospirosis vaccination may be advised. A bacterial infection called leptospirosis damages the kidneys and liver.

Canine influenza: This vaccination offers a defense against the extremely infectious respiratory virus known as canine influenza, which is distinct from parainfluenza. Droplets containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking, and sneezing is used to spread canine influenza.

Depending on where you live, this vaccination for Lyme disease (borrelia) may be advised. A bacterial illness called Lyme disease can harm the joints, kidneys, and central nervous system. It is caused by a bite of a tick.

Typical puppy vaccination schedule

Both core and non-core puppy immunizations are routinely prescribed. However, the vaccination schedule for your dog will be unique to them. A dog's age, health, and domicile, among other factors, will all determine which immunizations they need. You may make sure that your puppy obtains the required vaccines at the right intervals with the assistance of your veterinarian. Vaccinations are a crucial component of keeping your puppy healthy and content. Vaccines aid in defending your puppy against a range of contagious illnesses, some of which can be deadly. Ensure that your puppy has routine checkups from a veterinarian and that all of its vaccines are current. Vaccinations are crucial for defending your puppy against a number of illnesses, some of which can be fatal.

This puppy immunization schedule provides a broad overview of the shots that are required at various ages. Nevertheless, it could change based on the advice of your veterinarian.

‌6-8 weeks of age:‌

  • Core vaccines: distemper, parvovirus
  • Non-core vaccines: Bordetella
  • ‌9-12 weeks of age:‌
  • Core vaccines: DHPP
  • Non-core vaccines: Canine influenza, leptospirosis, bordetella, Lyme disease (as recommended by the veterinarian, and dependent upon the location and/or lifestyle)
  • ‌16-18 weeks of age:‌
  • Core vaccines: DHPP, rabies
  • Non-core vaccines: Canine influenza, leptospirosis, bordetella (as recommended by the veterinarian, and dependent upon the location and/or lifestyle)
  • ‌12-16 months of age:‌
  • Core vaccines: DHPP, rabies
  • Non-core vaccines: Coronavirus, leptospirosis, bordetella, Lyme disease

When should puppies have all their shots by?

  • It's essential to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your veterinarian. Which vaccines a puppy needs, and when, can vary between individuals. This can depend on a number of factors, some of which you may not know if you adopted a shelter puppy. This can include:
  • the size of the litter
  • whether the puppy's mother was vaccinated
  • if the puppy's mother was able to nurse
  • if your puppy has immune deficiencies

The necessity for vaccinations in a puppy might be influenced by several additional circumstances. Although we cannot be completely certain of a puppy's initial immunity, vaccinations offer the best level of protection to the greatest number of puppies in the greatest number of situations. Over the course of the first few months of their life, your puppy will receive a series of initial shots as well as booster shots. As their own immune system matures, this provides their maternal immunity—antibodies acquired during nursing time to gradually wane.

Puppies should typically get their first vaccines between 6 and 8 weeks old. Between 16 and 18 weeks of age, your new puppy can likely be vaccine-free (unless recommended otherwise by your veterinarian).

However, puppy vaccines don't last a lifetime! As part of routine veterinarian care, your adult dog will require booster shots for the rest of their life. State law mandates some vaccines, such as rabies shots, every one to three years. If you want to enroll your puppy in pet insurance, take them to the dog park, or send them to daycare, you'll need additional canine immunizations.

Are vaccinations required by law?

The only vaccine that is required by law is rabies. And that is because it is a zoonotic disease for humans, and it can be fatal for humans if they contract rabies. We do want all dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies. Some states require both dogs and cats to vaccinate. Some states disregard dogs, but all dogs and cats should be vaccinated for rabies because it's contracted from many different wildlife forms. In California, we have bats that can transmit rabies to dogs and cats. In many other places, a lot of mammals can carry rabies. It's an important disease to vaccinate against.

How much do immunizations for puppies cost?

Depending on where you reside and the type of veterinary care you have access to, puppy immunization fees might vary. The normal price range for core vaccinations, which are given in a sequence of three at 6, 9, and 12 weeks, is between $75 and $150. The total cost for the core and optional vaccinations might reach $300.

Since a dog must follow a schedule throughout the first year of life, vaccination expenditures will be greater. Once completely immunized, your puppy will likely need periodic booster injections for the rest of their lives. Puppies at shelters are often immunized in accordance with their timetable. A puppy that has been adopted is therefore likely to have had at least one vaccination before you bring them home.

Low-cost or free vaccines may be available through your local animal shelter. Some cities even have mobile veterinarian clinics offering vaccination events at reduced costs.


Although they are very infrequent, vaccines do have certain dangers. Most adverse responses and side effects of vaccinations are minor and self-limiting. Lethargy, fever, discomfort, and edema at the injection site are possible symptoms. Although rare, severe allergic responses can be lethal if unchecked. Contact your veterinarian right away if your puppy experiences rashes, face swelling, trouble breathing, vomiting, or bloody diarrhea.

A tiny chance exists that an autoimmune condition might manifest after receiving immunizations since vaccinations activate the immune system. When you compare the limited number of dogs that have these illnesses to all of the dogs that have had vaccinations, this is highly unusual. Autoimmune conditions, however, can be significant and challenging to treat. Blood difficulties, neuromuscular ailments, and even skin concerns can all be caused by autoimmune diseases.

Call your veterinarian right away if you think your pet is ill. Always consult your veterinarian with any health-related queries since they have evaluated your pet, are familiar with its medical history, and can provide the best advice for your pet. Your pet's health is of the utmost importance, and you want to make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure its well-being. That's why it's essential to work with a veterinarian who has experience in caring for animals.


A new dog is a delight and a duty all at once. The finest pet care you can provide for your puppy involves following your veterinarian's advice on vaccinations. Before beginning, it's crucial to talk with your veterinarian about which vaccinations your puppy needs and when. Vaccinations aid in preventing potentially fatal infections in your puppy and guarantee their well-being as they develop.

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