A Complete Guide to Puppy Shots

See everything you need to know about vaccinations for puppies including which vaccines, vaccine schedule and cost.

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A Complete Guide to Puppy Shots

Did you just get a new puppy? You may be looking at what all you need to do for your puppy will need to stay healthy and happy.  Your new puppy will not only need food, water, toys, and treats but also will need vaccines.  When your first take your puppy to the vet, they will give you a schedule showing when they need these vaccines. This will usually be every 3 to 4 weeks.  We will look at what all shots are needed for your new puppy and when they should get the vaccines.

What does a puppy need to be vaccinated for?

Dog getting vaccinated

There are many different vaccinations that your puppy will get.  Some of these vaccinations are a combination vaccine and contain a few different viruses. Some vaccines contain only one virus. These are some of the most common things that your vet will vaccinate your puppies for:

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica: This is the main cause of kennel cough.  This is a disease that can easily spread between the dog in grooming or boarding facilities.  Dogs who have kennel cough will have a classic goose honking cough.  The most common signs you will see in a dog with kennel cough are hacking, whooping, coughing, and maybe even vomiting. Your new puppy can be easily vaccinated for this virus to help prevent this disease.
  • Canine Distemper:  Canine Distemper virus attacks your dog’s respiratory system, GI system, and nervous system.  This virus can be spread through sneezing, coughing, and shared food and water bowls. The most common signs seen in a dog with distemper are discharge from their eyes and nose, coughing, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, twitching, and even death.  This disease is known as “hard pad” disease because it makes the pads of your dog’s feet very hard.  There is no cure for canine distemper.  Your vet will start your pet on a treatment to help manage the signs that they are displaying.  Many dogs who get distemper will die from this virus.  There are a few dogs that dog survives but have other health issues that they have to live with. 
  • Canine Parainfluenza: Parainfluenza is another known cause of kennel cough that is commonly seen in dogs.
  • Canine Parvovirus: This is a very prevalent and possibly deadly disease in unvaccinated puppies.  This disease causes your dog to have bloody diarrhea, vomit, be lethargic, and not eat.  If your puppy gets the parvovirus, your dog may need to be kept in the veterinary hospital for treatment.  While many dogs do survive this disease, it can potentially be life-threatening.
  • Corona Virus: This virus attacks your dog’s GI tract, but it can also cause respiratory problems as well. Coronavirus will cause a loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea in your dog.  There are no known drugs that will successfully treat this virus.  Most pets are treated based on the symptoms that they display.
  • Rabies Virus:  The rabies virus will affect the central nervous system of your dog.  Many neurological signs are seen in animals who have rabies. There is no treatment for the rabies virus, and it is 100% deadly.  This virus can be spread to your puppy if they are bitten by an animal that has rabies.  There are local laws about when your puppy will need their rabies vaccine.  These laws vary from area to area.
  • Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is spread via a tick bite in certain areas of the United States.  This disease will affects the heart, kidney, and joints of your dog.  Dogs usually do not have the same signs that a human infection will show.   If your dog has recently been bitten by a tick and now seems sick, it is best to ask your veterinarian about Lyme disease.  Your dog can be vaccinated for this disease as well as take tick prevention to help prevent any tick born disease.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

This is a normal vaccine schedule that most veterinarians follow:

  • At 6-8 Weeks, your puppy will receive a Distemper, Parainfluenza, and Parvo (DAPP), Kennel Cough
  • At 10-12 weeks, your puppy will receive DAPP, Kennel Cough booster
  • At 12-24 weeks, your dog will receive its rabies vaccines. The timing of this will vary depending on the law where you live.
  • At 14-16 weeks, your puppy will receive a DAPP booster
  • At 12-16 months, your puppy will get its final DAPP and Rabies booster. 
  • After your pet receives their vaccines at 1-year old, they will only need booster shots every 1-3 years, depending on local laws and each vaccination.  Your dog will receive a DAPP vaccine every 1 to 3 years and a rabies vaccine booster depending on what the local law requires, usually 1 to 3 years.  

All these vaccines are needed to help keep your pets healthy and happy. Your vet will help you develop a schedule for your puppy so that they receive the needed vaccines.  Each location within the US will have different vaccine requirements since there are some diseases that are more common in certain areas.  By keeping your dog vaccinated, you are helping keep them healthy and not spread diseases that can be very easily prevented. 

What does Vaccines Cost?

Each time you take your dog to your vet for their vaccines, your vet will also examine your puppy to make sure that they are growing and developing normally.  If you have any concerns or questions about your dog, it is best to bring them up during these visits.  Your vet is an excellent source of information about potty training, diet, treats, behavioral training, and any questions that a new pet parent may have. 

The cost of this visit will depend on where you live.  Expect to pay between $75 to $100 each time your puppy needs its vaccines.  You can contact your veterinary office for an estimate of the cost. 

Final Thoughts

Once you get your new puppy, it is best that you have your vet examine them right away.  This helps make sure that there is nothing wrong with your new puppy.  They can also look at the vaccine record that your breeder gives you and help you develop a timeline of when they need their next set of vaccines.  Keeping your puppy vaccinated will help keep them healthy and happy for many years.