Vaccinating your pup is one of the most crucial things you need to do as a responsible dog parent. Regular and timely vaccinations will allow your dog to grow up into a healthy dog that is free from infectious diseases. Moreover, these vaccinations will also prevent your dog from transmitting life-threatening diseases to other animals in the locality.
If you’re a new dog parent, understanding puppy vaccinations can be quite a challenging task. To make things easy for you, we have prepared a complete guide on understanding vaccines for puppies. This includes the vaccine you need to administer to your pup along with the age at which you need to do it.
Important Puppy Vaccinations
Puppy vaccinations are divided into core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are those that are essential for your pup. These vaccines protect against life-threatening and fatal diseases such as canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and rabies. Non-core vaccinations aren’t essential, but they are recommended by vets across the USA. Non-core vaccines will protect your pup from diseases such as leptospirosis, Bordetella, canine coronavirus, and Lyme disease.
A 5-in-1 vaccine or a 5-way combination vaccine is sufficient to take of diseases such as adenovirus, canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and hepatitis. These are referred to as the five core vaccines. Generally, a rabies shot is administered separately.
A 6-way combination or 6-in-1 vaccine includes the five core vaccines along with the coronavirus vaccine.
A 9-way combination or a 9-in-1 vaccine includes the five core vaccines and also keeps your dog safe from the four strains of Leptospirosis.
A 10-way combination or a 10-in-1 vaccine includes the five core vaccines, along with vaccines for the canine coronavirus and the four strains of leptospirosis.
Vaccines for Bortadella and Lyme are generally administered separately as booster shots.
When Do You Need to Vaccinate Your Pup?
Puppies need to be first vaccinated when they are between the ages of six and eight weeks. Note that vaccinations are only effective once your pup has weaned. There are a number of factors that determine which vaccines your puppy needs. These include the area you live in, the number of other pets in your home, the breed of your pup, and your vet’s recommendations.
Many US states even have laws that require dog parents to vaccinate their pups against rabies.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
Puppies generally have to be vaccinated every two to four weeks until they reach the age of 14 weeks. As mentioned above, some vaccinations can be administered as a combination whereas others are given separately.
If your dog has crossed the 16-week age mark and hasn’t received the recommended vaccines, you need to take it to a vet ASAP. Your vet can possibly advise you to start the vaccination process from scratch.
We have prepared a puppy vaccination schedule that will help you stay on track with your pup’s vaccinations.
6 to 8 Weeks
If you’ve picked up your pup from a shelter house, it might have already received some of the core vaccines. Therefore, you must ask the shelter house which vaccinations your pup has received and when. This information will help your vet structure your pup’s vaccination in the best possible way. This is because your pup will first receive a series of initial vaccines flowed by booster vaccines.
At this age, your pup will receive a DHLPPC vaccine which is a combination shot. This includes core and non-core vaccines for canine distemper, hepatitis/adenovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and coronavirus.
Other non-core vaccines that can be given at this age include the Bordetella vaccine. The initial vaccine of this disease can be administered orally, nasally, or via injections.
9 to 12 Weeks
In this age, your pup will receive the second dose of the DHLPPC vaccine. Your pup will even get the non-core vaccine for Bortedella and canine influenza if it hasn’t received these already.
Once your pup has received the recommended vaccines of this age, it can start attending puppy socialization classes. It can also continue to meet and play with other known pups and adult dogs who are healthy and vaccinated. Your pup can also go for a visit to the dog groomer and dog-friendly shopping malls. However, you should avoid taking your pup to pet stores, parks, and other places with unknown dogs.
12 to 16 Weeks
By this time, your pup’s immune system is strengthening. Booster shots are very important at this age to keep your pup safe from life-threatening diseases.
In this period, your pup should receive the third shot of the DHLPPC vaccine. It should also receive the rabies vaccine once it is crossed the 13-week age mark. Make sure to check your state's guidelines regarding the age limit for the rabies shot.
If your pup still hasn’t received the Botedella shot, you should administer it now. Moreover, you should also give your pup the non-core vaccine for Leptospirosis and Lyme disease.
15 to 17 Weeks
By this time, your pup will have received the initial shots of many core and non-core vaccines. Therefore, the only vaccines to give at this stage are the booster shots. This will include DHLPPC, Leptovirus, and Lyme disease booster shots.
One week after your pup has received the booster shots, it will have sufficient immunity against preventable conditions. This means that your pup is now free to go to the grooming shop, dog-friendly parks, daycares, and meet unknown dogs. Even though your pup is now all vaccinated, you should still make sure that is doesn’t come in direct contact with any unhealthy or infected animal.
Puppy vaccinations are completely safe for your pooch and in fact, help to boost its immunity against infectious diseases. This helps your pup live a long, healthy, and happy life.
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