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Dog Vaccinations - Everything You Should Know

What are Dog Vaccinations and Why are they Important?

Vaccinations play a critical role in protecting your dog from many dangerous and even fatal diseases, and help prepare their immune system to defend itself from any invasion of disease-causing organisms.

Vaccinations contain antigens, which mimic disease-causing organisms in a dog's immune system, but don't actually cause disease. The purpose of vaccinations is to mildly stimulate the immune system by having it recognize the antigens present. This way, if a dog becomes exposed to the real disease, it's immune system will recognize it, and therefore be prepared to fight it off, or at the least reduce its effects.

What are the Core Dog Vaccinations?

Core dog vaccinations are considered vital to all canines based on a universal risk of exposure, the severity of disease, and the risk of transmission to other dogs, as well as other animal species including human beings.

While state law requires all dogs are vaccinated for rabies, there are a number of other vaccinations that can protect your dog from serious diseases that are easily preventable.

Core Vaccinations include:

  • Rabies
  • Canine Parvovirus, Distemper, and Hepatitis (DHPP)
  • Bordetella

Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most states, including CA.

Non-Core Vaccinations include:

  • Canine Influenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme vaccine

Although these vaccinations are not considered "Core", they are very important for most dogs who may be exposed to these infectious diseases.

At your dog's next appointment, we will be happy to review which of the above vaccinations make the most sense for your dog, and make the appropriate recommendations.

When to Start Puppy Vaccinations

In general, a puppy should start vaccinations as soon as you get the puppy (usually between 6 and 8 weeks), and then every three weeks until approximately four months of age when they will receive their final round of vaccinations.

Generally, if the puppy's mother has a healthy immune system, it will most likely receive antibodies in the mother's milk while nursing. After a puppy has been weaned off of the mother's milk, vaccinations should begin.

Vaccination Schedules

Puppy Vaccinations:

  • 6-10 weeks: DHPP, Bordetella
  • 11-14 weeks: DHPP, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease
  • 15-16 weeks: DHPP, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease, Rabies
    • Canine Influenza and Lyme Disease vaccinations are given depending on the lifestyle of the dog

It is important to stay current with your puppy vaccination schedule. Vaccinations have been medically proven to combat many preventable diseases and illnesses that can occur without proper immunizations.

Adult Dog Vaccinations:

Once your puppy reaches adulthood, and all of their core puppy vaccinations have been administered, your veterinarian can begin implementing an adult dog vaccination schedule, which will consist of periodic adult booster vaccinations.

When dogs come in for their one-year visit, we recommend boostering their Rabies, DHPP, and Bordetella vaccinations, as well as Canine Influenza, Lyme, and Leptospirosis if the lifestyle of the dog requires these vaccinations.

How Long Our Vaccinations are Effective for:

  • Rabies: 3 years (boostered at 1 year, and then every 3 years after)
  • DHPP: 1 year
  • Leptospirosis: 1 year
  • Canine Influenza: 1 year
  • Lyme Disease: 1 year
  • Bordetella: 6-12 months

Side Effects and Risks Associated with Vaccinations

The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks, and adverse reactions are rare.

However, As with any medication or immunization protocol, vaccinations can cause some side effects. We do recommend that you have your dog vaccinated at time when when you can monitor them after the vaccination.

Possible Side Effects Include:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain or swelling around the injection site
  • Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)

If you suspect a severe reaction to vaccinations, such as facial swelling, vomiting, or lethargy, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Schedule a Vaccination Appointment for your Dog today!

Call us directly or schedule an appointment online.


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