Puppy Vaccines 101

From their super soft fur and sleep barking to their puppy breath and, yes, even their razor-sharp teeth, puppies are just the cutest!

But if you've recently adopted one, you'll realize that there is more to dog wellness than a steady flow of kisses from your family members (although those are good, too!).

One of the key parts of getting your pup on the path to wellness is vaccinations and, if you are new to the puppy game, you might have questions.

Puppy Vaccinations 101

When Do Puppies Start Their Vaccinations?

In general, vaccines are started around 8 weeks of age.

Distemper/Parvo (DHPP) vaccines are given 3-4 times, about 3 weeks apart.

Bordetella vaccines are given 1-2 times during your puppy's vaccination schedule.

And the Rabies vaccine will be given once and is good for a year. After that, it is given every 3 years.

The reason to vaccinate more frequently when dogs are young is that the puppy's mother-given immunity against Distemper, Parvo, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and other diseases tends to fall off really quickly around 10 weeks of age.

Core Vaccines vs Non-Core Vaccines

Core Dog Vaccinations

  • Rabies
  • Distemper/Parvo (DHPP)
  • Bordetella

Non-Core Dog Vaccinations:

  • Influenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme
  • Rattlesnake

According to the ASPCA, "Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans... Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog's exposure risk."

When in doubt of what vaccinations your pet needs, ask your vet! They'll set your pet up on a vaccination schedule based on their species, age, and lifestyle.

Puppy Vaccines 101

What if my Puppy Misses a Vaccine in the Series?

The manufacturer's recommendation says that the vaccine should be given within a certain period of time. So if it's been a long time, your veterinarian will determine the age and week when the dog received each of the vaccines and they will then determine the new series for your dog.

For example, if your dog had it's first vaccine at 8 weeks and then there was no proof of a vaccine after 8 weeks and your puppy is now 15 weeks, the vet will give one right away, and then another vaccine in 3-4 weeks when your puppy is about 18 weeks.

It is best for your dog to adhere to the vaccine schedule to guarantee 100 percent efficacy.

Can my Puppy be Around Other Pets Before they are Fully Vaccinated?

There is a certain amount of risk associated with bringing your puppy around other pets until their vaccine series is done, plus a week or two.

We give vaccines that stimulate the immune system to say, "Okay, we need to build defenses!" The body is not quite convinced until the second shot and, in most cases, it then takes a while for the body to actually build up immunity. We can not have immediate immunity upon giving a vaccine, so it's safest to bring your puppy around other pets 1-2 weeks after they've finished their entire vaccine series.

Of course, we also understand that puppies are social beings and that you will likely want to get them into training classes, too, so if you're going to bring your puppy around other dogs before being fully vaccinated, just make sure the other dogs are vaccinated and that you're doing so in a safe environment that's not frequented by other dogs.

Inhale that puppy breath and savor those pup snuggles like crazy, but make sure you're also getting your dog on a path to puppy wellness to ensure a long and healthy life.

Have more questions about puppy vaccinations? Please don't hesitate to give us a call!


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