A Guide To Your Puppy's Vaccination Schedule
When to get those shots 🗓️
You want to make sure your puppy is up to date on his vaccines, but how exactly does that work? Can he get them all at once or does he need to space them out?
The thing is, not all dog vaccines work on the same timeline.
What vaccines do dogs need?
Dogs need a bunch of different vaccines, but some are more crucial than others.
Core vaccines are vaccines that all dogs need, while non-core (aka lifestyle) vaccines are only necessary for dogs in certain geographical areas and environments, or dogs with specific lifestyles.
Core vaccines for dogs
The core vaccines for dogs are:
The vaccines for distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus are often bundled together into one combination vaccine, known as the DA2P vaccine.
Non-core vaccines for dogs
Non-core vaccines for dogs include:
- Bordetella vaccine
- Canine influenza vaccine
- Parainfluenza vaccine
- Leptospirosis vaccine
- Lyme vaccine
- Rattlesnake vaccine
Talk to your vet to figure out which of these non-core vaccines your dog needs in addition to his core vaccines.
Recommended puppy vaccination schedule
Here’s an idea of what your puppy’s vaccination schedule might look like:
- 3 to 4 weeks old: Bordetella (intranasal option)
- 6 weeks old: DA2P (and parainfluenza if included in combination vaccine)
- 6 to 8 weeks old: Canine influenza
- 6 to 8 weeks old: Parainfluenza
- 8 weeks old: Bordetella (parenteral or intraoral option)
- 8 to 9 weeks old: Leptospirosis and lyme
- 12 weeks old: Rabies
It’s important to note there’s no universal puppy vaccination schedule — your vet will be able to help you figure out what’s right for your individual pup.
“It is very tricky to make general guidelines for people to follow because it really depends [on] what vaccines their puppy has already received and the manufacturer of the vaccines,” Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo. “For example, the bordetella vaccine has to be boostered if it is injected but does not if it is in the oral form.”
You might be inclined to get your pup his vaccines all at the same time (like giving your pup a bordetella shot the same day as his DA2P vaccine), but that’s not necessarily the best approach.
“Many puppies get multiple vaccines at the same time; however, veterinarians can recommend doing one vaccine at a time,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Common reasons for doing separate vaccines are if the pet has a health condition or previous vaccine reactions.”
That being said, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) does have some suggestions:
Puppies can receive their first dose of the DA2P vaccine as young as 6 weeks old. They should get additional doses every two to four weeks until they’re 16 weeks old.
“They will continue to receive boosters as adults,” Dr. Bustamante said.
One year after that last dose, your dog will need a booster for the DA2P vaccine and additional boosters every three years after that.
(Some versions of this combination vaccine include the non-core vaccine for canine parainfluenza virus, too, which is referred to as the DA2P-CPV or DA2PP vaccine.)
“Puppies can be vaccinated [for rabies] as young as 12 weeks old,” Dr. Bustamante said. According to the AAHA, your pup can’t receive the rabies vaccine before then.
This vaccine is legally required in the U.S., and a lot of states ask that dogs get the rabies vaccine between 12 and 16 weeks old (although you’ll need to check your local regulations about the rabies vaccine, since this timeframe isn’t necessary in every state).
No matter your location, your dog will need a second dose of the rabies vaccine one year after the initial vaccination. After that, he’ll need a booster every one to three years. (That interval will depend on whether your dog was given a one-year or three-year vaccine.)
Your dog can receive the bordetella vaccine three different ways — parenteral (through injection), intranasal (through his nose) and intraoral (through his mouth) — and each way has a different timeline.
Your dog can first get the parenteral bordetella vaccine at 8 weeks old and requires two initial doses that should be administered between two and four weeks apart.
The intranasal bordetella vaccine only requires one initial dose and can be given to puppies as young as 3 to 4 weeks old.
The oral bordetella vaccine is just one initial dose that your dog can get once he’s 8 weeks old.
When it comes to booster shots for the bordetella vaccine, the timeline for boosters are the same — your dog will need a booster every year, starting one year after his initial vaccination.
Canine influenza vaccine
Your pup has to be at least 6 to 8 weeks old to get the vaccine for canine influenza virus. The initial vaccination includes two doses administered two to four weeks apart.
He’ll get yearly booster shots after that.
Your puppy needs to be 8 to 9 weeks old to receive the leptospirosis vaccine. When he does get it, he’ll need to get a second dose within two to four weeks.
Your dog should get a booster shot once a year after those initial two doses.
Your puppy will need to be 8 to 9 weeks old before he can be vaccinated against Lyme disease. The initial vaccine requires two doses, two to four weeks apart.
Your dog will need a booster once a year after his initial vaccination.
The parainfluenza vaccine can be administered as part of the DA2P vaccine.
There’s also a non-core combination vaccine that includes parainfluenza and bordetella. Puppies typically get this combo vaccine between 8 and 16 weeks old, but pups at a higher risk of getting the disease can get vaccinated as young as 3 or 4 weeks old.
According to the AAHA, this non-core vaccine is the only one without a specific recommended timeline.
Instead, the rattlesnake vaccine will be administered based on your puppy’s body weight and risk of exposure. (The same goes for his booster shots.)
Now you have an idea of when you should get your puppy his vaccines — just remember that every dog is different, so your ideal vaccination schedule is one you and your vet come up with based on your pup’s needs.
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