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One of the most important things you need to do once you get your new puppy is get him vaccinated. Vaccinations will make sure that your puppy doesn’t get sick—or pass anything on to other dogs he runs into.
If you’re wondering what your puppy’s vaccination schedule should look like, you’re in luck. Here is a complete guide and everything you need to know about getting your puppy vaccinated.
How Many Rounds of Vaccinations Do Puppies Need?
Let’s start with the first question: how many rounds of vaccinations do puppies need?
There are a few different factors that can influence your puppy vaccination schedule. So, let’s go over these first.
Factors that Influence the Vaccination Schedule
When you get your puppy and visit your vet, your vet will probably go over the appropriate vaccination schedule for you and your puppy. Every dog is going to be different, and many things will influence what and when your puppy’s vaccinations should be.
For example, your puppy’s age will play a factor, as well as how long your puppy nursed. Your vet will also take into account how many other puppies were in your puppy’s litter, what his mother’s health and vaccination status was, and any other vaccinations they may have already received from the breeder or shelter they were at.
Your vet will also consider what kind of environment your puppy was in, and how clean it was. They’ll also likely ask you about the kind of lifestyle you yourself have, as that will play a huge role in what vaccinations your puppy will get, and when he’ll get them.
For example, if you plan on taking your dog on a lot of outdoor adventures like camping or hiking, your vet will want to make sure your puppy gets all the appropriate vaccinations for those types of activities.
Once your vet goes over all of these factors with you, they’ll be able to help you figure out a vaccination schedule that’s right for your dog.
When Should I Schedule My Puppy Shots?
The first thing to know about your puppy’s vaccinations is that they’ll only be effective after your puppy has been weaned. Your puppy should be getting his first round of shots between 6 to 8 weeks old. So that’s often already done by your breeder or the shelter you got your puppy from.
The rest of the schedule will be discussed with your vet.
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Puppy Vaccinations Schedule
Even though every dog is different and your vet will advise you of the best times to get your dog vaccinated, most dogs will follow this general schedule.
When you first get your puppy, make sure to get his medical history from the breeder or shelter you got him from. This will help you and your vet determine the right vaccinations for him.
Also remember to keep proof of your puppy’s vaccinations. If you plan on leaving your at doggy daycare, or bringing him to group training sessions, you will likely be asked for proof of vaccinations.
6 to 8 Weeks of Age
At this age, your puppy should be getting his first round of vaccinations.
The first vaccine your puppy will get is the DA2P shot. This will vaccinate your dog against parvovirus and distemper.
Parvo is an extremely contagious disease that can be potentially life-threatening. It is very important that your dog is vaccinated against parvovirus.
Distemper is another highly contagious disease that can also be potentially fatal.
At 6 to 8 weeks, a vet might also advise that your puppy get a Bordetella vaccine or a canine influenza vaccine. These two vaccines will be optional, and will depend on factors like your puppy’s environment.
Once your dog has these vaccines, he’ll be able to attend puppy classes as long as he’s still healthy 1 week after his shots. He’ll also be able to meet and socialize with dogs who you know are healthy and have also been vaccinated.
9 to 12 Weeks of Age
At 9 to 12 weeks, this might be your puppy’s first vet visit. This means he may not have had his parvo and distemper vaccines yet.
If he hasn’t already, he’ll need to get the DA2P shot to prevent parvo and distemper.
As they would at 6 to 8 weeks, your vet might also recommend that your dog gets a Bordetella and canine influenza vaccines.
Once your puppy has these vaccines, he’ll be able to go to puppy classes and socialize with other dogs you know are healthy and vaccinated. You’ll want to keep him away from heavily populated areas however, and especially areas where there are a lot of unknown dogs.
12 to 16 Weeks of Age
At 12 to 16 weeks, your puppy will get his DA2P booster shots.
He will also require another major vaccine at this age. Once your puppy is over 13 weeks of age, he’ll be able to get his rabies vaccine.
Many states and jurisdictions have specific laws about when your puppy needs to be vaccinated against rabies. Be sure to check out your local regulations to make sure you’re vaccinating your dog at an appropriate time.
Your vet might also suggest the Bordetella vaccine, as well as the first vaccine for leptospirosis, which has the potential to be spread to humans. The second vaccine in this series will be given later.
Your vet may also suggest that your dog get vaccinated for Lyme disease, especially if you plan on taking your dog to areas that are heavily populated by ticks.
Once your dog has these vaccines, he’ll be able to start playing with dogs you don’t know, provided they aren’t showing any signs of illness. He’ll also be able to go to more locations, and you can even bring him into pet stores. It’s still important to be careful at this age, however. You should avoid going anywhere with high populations of dogs.
15 to 17 Weeks of Age
At this age, your dog will get his final DA2P booster.
If you decided to get your dog vaccinated against lepto or Lyme, he’ll get his final booster shots for these too.
Once he’s done this round of vaccinations, your puppy will be able to go anywhere! Be sure to wait at least 1 week before taking him out, and avoid any dogs that look obviously sick. Otherwise, your puppy now has complete freedom—congratulations!
Puppy vaccinations schedule overview
|Puppy’s age||Recommended vaccinations||Optional vaccinations|
|6 to 8 weeks||DA2P||Bordetella Canine influenza|
|9 to 12 weeks||DA2P||Bordetella Canine Influenza|
|12 to 16 weeks||DA2P Rabies||Bordetella Leptospirosis Lyme disease|
|15 to 17 weeks||DA2P booster||Leptospirosis booster Lyme disease booster|
Let’s look at a few related questions next to complete this puppy vaccinations guide.
How Much do Puppy Vaccinations Cost?
When you’re getting your puppy, it’s important to consider the cost of his vaccinations. This way, you can make sure to set enough money aside for when the time comes to get your puppy his shots.
The cost of puppy vaccinations will depend on a few factors. For example, in general visiting a vet in a large city will be more expensive than a vet in a small town, or a teaching hospital.
On average, however, you can expect to spend somewhere between $75 to $100 on your puppy’s first year of vaccines.
You could also consider getting your puppy’s vaccines done at an animal shelter, if possible. Shelters will frequently drop vaccine prices, or even make them free. Check in with your local animal shelter, and see if they have any vaccination options for your puppy.
Also make sure to check out my article about how to save money on vet bills to learn more about the most budget-friendly options.
How Often Do Vaccinations Have to Be Repeated?
Your puppy’s vaccinations are not a one-time thing! In order to keep his vaccinations effective, he will need to get booster shots.
Many vets will recommend you get your dog his booster shots every year. However, there is some debate as to whether every year is actually necessary. If you’re concerned about the effectiveness of vaccinating your dog every year, consider asking your vet for a titer test.
Titer tests analyze your dog’s antibodies to ensure that your dog’s body is still able to fight off the diseases he’s being vaccinated for. By taking a titer test, your vet will be able to determine whether your dog should really get his booster shots.
One thing that will be required for your dog regardless of whether a titer test is done is his rabies vaccination. Depending on where you live, different states have different rules as to when these boosters will be required. Speak to your vet to find out when your dog will need his rabies booster shots.
Your puppy’s health is one of the most important things, especially at the beginning of his life. You want to set your puppy up for success, and make sure he lives a happy and healthy life. That’s why it’s important to make sure he gets all his vaccinations!
While every dog is different, and your vet will discuss the best “optional” vaccines for you and your puppy, there are a few that will be necessary. Your vet will make sure your dog is vaccinated for highly contagious and life-threatening diseases like parvo, rabies, and distemper.
They’ll also make sure to work out the right schedule for your puppy’s booster shots with you. As you’re working out your schedule, it’s important to be open and honest with your vet about any concerns or questions you might have. This way, you can make an informed decision and ensure your puppy is happy and healthy for the rest of his life.
P.S. Don’t forget to take a look at my other articles comparing pet insurances to get the best fit for you and your pup: