top of page

Dog Vaccination Schedule

What shots do puppies need?

Core vaccines should be given to all puppies. According to AAHA, core vaccines include: distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and rabies.


Distemper is a contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems of dogs. Dogs usually become infected through airborne exposure (coughing or sneezing) from an infected dog or wild animal. The disease can also be transmitted by shared bowls, toys, and equipment.

Canine distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive the disease are usually left with permanent damage to the nervous system. All dogs are at risk but puppies under four months of age as well as unvaccinated dogs are at especially high risk.

Hepatitis (Adenovirus-2) Vaccine

Canine hepatitis is an acute infectious disease caused by the canine adenovirus 1. The virus targets the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, and eyes. Symptoms can include vomiting, fever, jaundice, swollen belly, loss of appetite, or in more severe cases seizures and death. Dogs that have the mild form of the disease enjoy a good quality of life and longevity, but the severe form can be fatal.

Parainfluenza Vaccine

Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) is a contagious respiratory virus and is one of the most common causes of kennel cough.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV-2) Vaccine

Canine parvovirus is a contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but puppies younger than four months old and unvaccinated dogs are the most at risk. The virus affects the gastrointestinal tract and is transmitted by direct contact, as well as contact with contaminated feces, people, or environments.

Some of the most common symptoms of parvo in puppies include loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. There’s no cure for parvo, but with proper treatment, the survival rate in dogs treated by a veterinarian is between 68-92%.

Many vets now administer these four puppy vaccinations combined as one shot known as the Distemper-Hepatitis-Parainfluenza-Parvo vaccine, administered incrementally over a puppy shot schedule as such:

DHPP Vaccine Schedule for Puppies

  • 1st shot: 6-8 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 10-12 weeks

  • 3rd shot: 14-16 weeks

  • 4th shot: 18-20 weeks

  • 5th shot: 1 year

  • Booster: every 3 years

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a viral infection caused by a virus secreted in the saliva. According to the Humane Society, because the infection affects the nervous system, most rabid animals behave abnormally. Infected dogs typically become fearful, anxious, agitated, and/or aggressive. As there’s no cure for rabies, keeping up with regular vaccinations is crucial.

When should puppies get rabies shots?

Generally speaking, puppies should get their first rabies shot around 16 weeks of age and again between 1-3 years old. The rabies vaccine is mandatory throughout the US, but the timeline for a puppy schedule varies by state**. The vaccine must be administered by a licensed veterinarian (which means it can’t be found at a feed store).

Rabies Vaccine Schedule for Puppies

  • 1st shot: 16-18 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 1 year

  • Booster: every 3 years

Non-core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are important, but they are considered optional for dogs with less risk of infection. Non-core vaccines are recommended based on lifestyle and where you live or travel.


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium associated with respiratory disease in dogs and is known to cause the most severe form of kennel cough. Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, congestion, etc.

Some veterinarians may recommend Bordetella as a core vaccine for puppies based on their living environment, especially for social dogs who spend time in areas where they might come into contact with the bacteria (like the dog park, boarding facilities, or doggy daycare). The vaccination can be given orally, intranasally, or by injection.

Bordetella Vaccine Schedule for Puppies

  • 1st shot: 12-14 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 1 year

  • Booster: every year


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by infection of the genus Leptospira, which are found in water and soil. The zoonotic disease spreads easily from animals to humans and is more common in warm climate areas with high annual rainfall; the Leptospira vaccine may be considered core in these areas.

Signs of leptospirosis may include shivering, fever, muscle tenderness, increased thirst, dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, jaundice, kidney failure, liver failure, etc. When the disease is treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are quite good but there’s still a risk of permanent kidney/liver damage.

Leptospira Vaccine Schedule for Puppies

  • 1st shot: 12-14 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 16-18 weeks

  • 3rd shot: 1 year

  • Booster: every year

There is also a 5-way vaccine known as DHLPP, which is a combination vaccine of distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvo.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. The most common symptoms in dogs include loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. More serious cases can also develop kidney complications.

The Lyme disease vaccine is highly recommended for dogs that live in or frequently travel to areas known for Lyme disease, as well as those living in areas with a high risk of tick exposure.

Lyme Vaccination Schedule for Puppies

  • 1st shot: 10-16 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 2-3 weeks later

  • Booster: every year

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a contagious viral infection affecting dogs. Two strains of canine influenza virus (CIV) have been identified in the US: H3N2 and H3N8.

The virus is spread through aerosols or droplets containing respiratory secretions from barking, sneezing, and coughing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places like daycare facilities, groomers, and kennels are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. CIV causes an acute respiratory infection in dogs, with the most common clinical sign being a cough that persists for up to 21 days.

Vaccines are available for both H3N2 and H3N8 canine influenza. A bivalent vaccine offering protection against both strains is available as well.

Canine Influenza Vaccine Schedule For Puppies

  • 1st shot: <16 weeks

  • 2nd shot: 2-4 weeks later


Giardia is a parasite that lives in dogs’ intestines and most often infects puppies and older dogs. Dogs become infected when they swallow the parasite that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled with feces leading to the disease Giardiasis. Giardia in dogs usually causes diarrhea, weight loss, or even death.

Giardia is an available vaccine for puppies 8 weeks of age and older for 6 months of immunity against giardiasis.


The canine coronavirus is not in any way similar to COVID-19 in people. Canine coronavirus usually affects a dog’s GI system, but it can also cause respiratory infections. Most common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Young dogs are at a high risk of contracting the disease, so the vaccine is highly recommended for puppies under eight weeks. It’s usually not continued in puppies over eight weeks, but may be based on your vet’s recommendation.

bottom of page