Dog Vaccinations When you bring that soft, sweet-smelling little ball of puppy fuzz into your home, you know right away that she depends on you for, well, everything. It’s up to you to give her all the care she needs every day. It can be a little intimidating — she needs the best puppy food, plenty of attention, gentle training, safe toys, puppy socialization, a comfortable home, and proper veterinary care. And that includes puppy shots throughout her first year.
Going to the vet repeatedly over several months for vaccinations, and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog’s life, may seem like an inconvenience, but the diseases that vaccinations will shield our pets from are dangerous, potentially deadly, and, thankfully, mostly preventable. We read about so many different vaccinations, for so many different illnesses, that it can sometimes be confusing to know which vaccinations puppies need and which ones are important but optional. Here is an overview of the diseases that vaccinations will help your pet to avoid.
Core puppy shots start at six to eight weeks old and protect and prevent new pups from high-risk, prevalent, or contagious diseases. Young dogs are most susceptible to rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis and are immunized against these infections in two-week vaccination cycles during their first three months. Vaccinations are some of the first boxes pet parents tick off a puppy preventative care checklist and will become an important part of routine veterinarian check-ups. Whether you’re adopting an adult dog or a puppy, be sure to consult with your veterinarian regarding which vaccines from the puppy shots schedule below would be appropriate for your pet.
To ensure your dog is safe against harmful tickborne diseases, it is always recommended that you ask a veterinarian questions about the essential inoculations for the region and/or state you live in or travel to frequently. Some diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they can be contagious for people.
Uses/benefits of Dog Vaccinations
Vaccines help prepare a dog’s immune system to defend itself from any invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which mimic disease-causing organisms in a dog’s immune system, but don’t actually cause disease. The purpose of puppy vaccines and dog vaccines 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.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
The first thing to know is that there is not just one puppy vaccination schedule for all dogs. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your dog’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some dogs do not need every vaccine. This decision is between you and your veterinarian. Always discuss puppy vaccinations at your regularly scheduled appointments.
6 — 8 weeks
10 — 12 weeks
DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease per lifestyle as recommended by veterinarian
16 — 18 weeks
Influenza, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis, Bordetella per lifestyle