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How Often Should You Vaccine Your Puppy? – Schedule & Costs

Vaccination is essentially a way of tricking the body into thinking that it is suffering from an infection. So, they can eliminate a true infection at the earliest stages before it can affect the rest of the body. The vaccine does this by administering either a dead virus or bacteria or even a live modified version for it not to replicate and cause full-blown disease. The Rabies vaccine for dogs is a mandatory law in some states, but other vaccinations are equally important to protect your pet against disease. Let us look deep into the details of the puppy vaccine schedule.

Puppy Vaccinations – When to Get Them and Why?

Depending upon the harshness of the disease and the risks of exposure and transmission, it is important to know the puppy vaccine schedule first to vaccinate your dog. Most puppies should commence their vaccinations by 6 to 8 weeks of age. The Canine Task Force of the American Animal Health Association recommends the following list of puppy vaccinations.

#1 Canine Distemper

 The DA2PP canine vaccine protects against potentially fatal diseases. Spread from aerosol drops (an infected animal’s sneeze or cough or through the placenta), distemper infected bodily fluids. The symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, eye and nasal discharges, and inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord. 

The involvement of the Central Nervous System makes the dog develop twitches, characterized by seizures known as “chewing gum fits .” It worsens to grand mal convulsions, blindness, paralysis, and incontinence. Since it causes the footpad to thicken and harden, this disease is called “hard pad.” Canine distemper has no cure. Veterinarians diagnose it through a combination of clinical signs and tests. Thus, one should ensure that their puppy receives the complete series of the distemper vaccine. 

#2 Canine Hepatitis

 It is spread by consuming nasal discharge, saliva, feces, or urine from infected dogs. Completely different from the human form of hepatitis, this highly contagious virus infects the dog’s liver, spleen, eyes, and lungs. Symptoms include congestion of mucous membranes, reduced WBC count, yellow, jaundiced look to skin, gums, and ears, blindness, severe depression, red dots on the skin, and sometimes death. Puppies have the highest mortality rate for this disease. While acute hepatitis can be cured in some cases with canine hepatitis vaccine, chronic hepatitis is incurable in the case of dogs. 

#3 Canine Parvovirus

It spreads through direct contact with infected dogs, contaminated stool, people, the environment, cages, food, collars, and dog leashes. Symptoms include hypothermia, abdominal aches, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid dehydration. Dogs infected with the parvovirus are called ‘parvos.’ There is no specific drug to treat this deadly and highly infectious virus. The treatment is supportive to control the secondary symptoms until and unless the dog develops proper immunity to fight the virus. Parvo shots for puppies and good hygiene are key factors in the prevention process.

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#4 Rabies

 This devastating viral disease is formed in the saliva. Thus, it spreads from the bite of an infected animal. It can also spread from the skunk, fox, raccoon, coyote, and bat. Rabid animals display uncharacteristic violent or affectionate behaviors. Other disease symptoms include foaming at the mouth, excessive drooling, seizures, and paralysis. The incubation period depends on the site of infection (the central nervous system), the severity of the bite, and the amount of the virus that infects the body. Vaccination against it is a must, even in the eye of the law, to ensure zero threat from disease transmission. 

#5 Leptospirosis

This contagious and sometimes fatal bacterial disease infects the liver and kidney of a dog extensively, sometimes causing a failure of either of these two organs. The Leptospira bacteria multiply in the bloodstream to move into the tissues. It spreads from the urine of infected wild animals like skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats, wolves, and deer. Fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, jaundice, bleeding, increased micturition, and thirst is some of the symptoms of leptospirosis. Routine and definitive tests are available to diagnose this disease with heavy antibiotics. 

Some optional or non-core Puppy Vaccine Schedules are discussed below.

#6 Bordetella 

This is a type of vaccination that treats Kennel Cough or Tracheobronchitis in dogs. It affects their respiratory tract, particularly the trachea, windpipe, and bronchial tubes. Some clinical symptoms of this mild infection include a loud honk, often described as a ‘goose honk,’ watery eyes and runny nose, wheezing and sneezing, depression, lethargy, and appetite loss. Your dog usually contracts kennel cough by sniffing, playing, and sharing stuff with another. Although cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory medications treat tracheobronchitis, Bordetella vaccination helps provide rapid protection.

#7 Canine Influenza

Also known as dog flu, this respiratory disease is caused by the influenza virus with two strains: H3N8 and H3N2. They originated from horses and birds, respectively, to dogs. This infectious disease spreads through direct contact with infected animals, such as barking, coughing, and sneezing. It also spreads by sharing contaminated objects and environments. Dog flu symptoms are similar to kennel cough, including dry and moist coughs, purulent nasal discharge, fever, sluggishness, and inhalation difficulties.

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Puppy Vaccine Schedule 

The Puppy vaccination schedule is usually customized to cater to your puppy’s specific needs. It may differ from country to country, depending on the puppy’s age, breed, health, lifestyle, and medical history. However, one must commence the puppy vaccine schedule procedure as soon as they get the puppy, at about six to eight weeks of age.

#1 6-8 Weeks

When the puppy is 6-8 weeks of age, vaccinate them with Puppy first shots DHPP1 – the first canine distemper vaccine (Distemper, Adenovirus – Type 1 & 2, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) – with a booster in 3-4 weeks. This time also calls for BORDO – Bordetella (Oral) Vaccine – with a booster in 6 months. The Faecal vaccine tests for intestinal parasites. The Dewormer should be repeated in 2 weeks or as prescribed by the doctor. The Heartworm Prevention is a monthly oral chew until 6 months of age. After this, switch to ProHeart Injection every 6 months. 

#2 9-11 Weeks

When the puppy is 9-11 weeks of age, you should give DHPP2 or the second Canine Distemper Vaccine, along with a booster in 3-4 weeks. Give Fecal vaccine if your puppy tests positive for intestinal parasites. During this time, heartworm prevention, a ProHeart Injection, should be given every 6 months or monthly oral chew. 

#3 12-14 Weeks

When your dog is about 12-14 weeks of age, DHPP3 or the third Canine Distemper Vaccine, along with a booster shot in 3-4 weeks, should be given. LEPTO/LYME1 is the first Lepto vaccine for dogs, a recommended vaccination during this time. For no ProHeart Injection, Heartworm Prevention should be done every month.

#4 15-17 Weeks

At about 15-17 weeks of age, the DHPP4 or the fourth Canine Distemper Vaccine should be given with a booster for one year. Also, RABK1, the Rabies Vaccine, is a must with a booster for one year. For no ProHeart Injection, a monthly vaccination against Heartworm Prevention is necessary.

#5 6 Months

Spaying or neutering your dog above 6 months of age is important. Implant a microchip during a routine veterinary visit. This is a very important time to have a semi-annual exam. Vaccinate your dog with the BORDO-Oral with a booster shot in 6 months to prevent kennel cough. The Heartworm Test is a baseline requirement for Heartworm prevention with a guarantee of honor. 

#6 1 Year

After the dog is 1 year old, the Annual Exam includes DHPP with a booster in one year. Give your puppy LEPTO/LYME (Leptospirosis and Lyme Vaccine) with an annual booster. Rabies Vaccine should be given with a booster every 3 years. BORDO-Oral should be given along with a booster every 6 months. canine influenza vaccine(Bivalent Flu Vaccine) should be given an annual booster. Annual blood tests should also include HW and Fecal (Heartworm and 3 Tick-Borne diseases). 

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Puppy After Vaccination Side Effects

While introducing the antigens present in a vaccine into the immunity system, a dog may develop certain side effects, which are mild and short-lived. These are a sign that the body is fighting a mild infection. Seldom does a dog have adverse symptoms of vaccination. Some of the most common side effects include slight discomfort, mild fever with lethargy, coughing and sneezing, sluggishness, and loss of appetite. 

However, in some rare cases, the puppy after vaccination side effects can be detrimental to your pets health. The poor animal could be subject to vomiting, swelling around their face and paws, injection site, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, frequent seizures, and anaphylaxis. Your pet may also develop aggressive tumors around the site of repeated injections. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog within 24-48 hours after the injection, seek veterinary care immediately. 

How Much Do Puppy Vaccinations Cost?

A lot of people are asking this question about puppy vaccine schedules how much are dog shots, how much do puppy vaccinations cost and is it affordable? The dog annual vaccination cost and routine care will cost around $100-$350 in the first year. The annual cost is somewhere between $80-$250. The heartworm tests will cost approximately $35 in the first year. The first year of heartworm prevention will amount to $24-$120, and the annual sum amounting to $36-$132. The first year of flea and tick prevention costs $40-$200. The Bordetella vaccine costs around $19-$40. The distemper vaccination costs around $20-$30, the annual sum being around $40-$60. The rabies vaccination during the first year is between $15-$25 in the first year, while the deworming is worth $20-$50, the annual sum being $20-$50. 


Maintaining a puppy vaccine schedule is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. The puppy shot schedule can be confusing, so be sure to work with your veterinarian to make sure your pup is getting all the shots it needs. With a little care and attention, your puppy will be healthy and happy for years to come.