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How Often Should Dogs be Vaccinated

Dogs require regular vaccinations, just like humans, to protect them from a variety of illnesses. Sometimes, they also need boosters throughout their life to keep the vaccines working.

Having a regular veterinarian is one of the best resources to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, but you can do these at home. We’re going to look at how often your dog should be vaccinated and what treatments they should receive, and when. 

Your pet’s breed and age will play a key role in your pet getting vaccinations and the dosage. A veterinarian will help you choose whether your dog needs core or non-core vaccines to decide wisely.

Vaccinations for Dogs

No one likes the idea of their puppy getting shots. But their immune systems must be exposed to undeveloped antibodies administered through a vaccine. Without protective antibodies, your puppy’s immune system will not be able to fight off serious illnesses.

There are two types of vaccinations for dogs. These are core and non-core. Core vaccinations are recommended for all pets, whereas not all pets will need non-core. 

Your pet will only need non-core vaccines if they spend a lot of time outdoors or boarded in a kennel for extended lengths.

Dogs can usually start getting vaccinated between the ages of six and eight weeks. Your vet will be the best recommendation for when you start your pet’s treatments.

Severe adverse reactions are infrequent, so you should not feel concerned that the vaccines will harm your pet. Mild reactions include hives and facial swelling. Severe reactions can include vomiting and fever. 

First Dose Shots

Most puppies need their original core shots between the ages of six to eight weeks. In addition to your puppy’s shots, your puppy also needs a first round of deworming. 


Deworming is a treatment to eliminate worm parasites such as tape and roundworms that live and grow in the intestines. Most puppies end up with worms at some point. In severe cases, the condition can be fatal. 

To test for worms, your veterinarian can do a fecal test. You may notice signs of parasites in the puppy’s poop, eliminating the need for a fecal analysis. Even if your puppy doesn’t show signs of worms, he should still get dewormed between six to eight weeks.

5 in 1 Shot Vaccine

Your puppy’s first round of shots is typically a five in one shot that administers multiple vaccinations at one time. It is often referred to as DHPP, DAPP, or DA2PP. The letters stand for the vaccine. 

This combo includes vaccines for:

  • Parvovirus (P)
  • Parainfluenza (P)
  • Adenovirus – CAV-1 (hepatitis) 
  • Kennel cough – CAV-2 (A, A2, or H)
  • Canine distemper (D). 

Deworming is a separate treatment.

Bordetella Vaccine

Your puppy can also get vaccinated for Bordetella at six to eight weeks of age. This vaccination is considered non-core, and not all dogs will need it. 

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a condition that can cause inflammation of the respiratory system, leading to coughing. This bacteria is the most common cause of kennel cough.

If your dog is spending a lot of time around other dogs, you might want to consider getting your pet vaccinated for Bordetella. Some places such as doggie daycares, kennels, dog parks, dog shows, and training programs will require proof of vaccination before approving admittance.

Second Round of Vaccines

Around ten to fourteen weeks, your puppy should be ready for round two. If your puppy will be getting a seven in one shot or higher, your puppy has to be at least twelve weeks of age. 

You can treat your puppy with a five in one, six in one, seven in one, nine in one, or ten in one shot. Most of the mixed shots contain both core and non-core vaccinations. 

You and your vet may decide to stick with core vaccines only, which are:

  • Adenovirus
  • Hepatitis
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus 

Although your pet has gotten these vaccines with the first round of shots, they will need multiple rounds to get full protection.

Optional Vaccinations

Non-core vaccines you may consider at this time are Bordetella, Influenza, and Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is not necessary for all dogs. 

If your pet is a full-time indoor pet with little to no interaction with wildlife, you may decide not to administer this vaccination. However, if your dog is often outside near wooded areas, it’s a good idea to include this preventative option.

Your veterinarian may also recommend vaccination for Lyme disease, transmitted through infected ticks depending on your location. Humans are also vulnerable to Lyme, and there is no condition. It causes neurological issues in both humans and animals.

Third Round of Shots

Around sixteen to eighteen weeks of age, your pet is ready for its third round of shots. In addition to the core DHPP (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus), your pet is now at the proper age to get their rabies shot. 

Most states have a law regarding rabies shots, so be sure you check with your local authorities or veterinarian to make sure you comply. Your vet may also recommend that you wait on a rabies shot until the puppy is older, depending on breed and size.

Optional Vaccinations

At this age, there are also optional vaccinations that you or your veterinarian may decide to use. Optional vaccinations include Bordetella, Leptospirosis, influenza, and possibly Lyme disease.

Fourth Dosage

Between twelve months (one year) and sixteen months, your puppy will need the final round of its core DHPP vaccinations. They will also need another dose of their rabies shot. 

At this time, you can also provide your puppy with optional vaccinations like Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme, and Coronavirus (not the same thing as COVID-19, which does not affect dogs). 


All vaccinations require annual boosters to keep your dog protected. Rabies requires one booster after the age of one and then every three years after that. 

With distemper, your puppy should get four doses before the age of twelve to sixteen months. In addition, all dogs need a booster one year after their final shots and again every three years after that.

For parvo, your puppy should have four doses of the parvovirus vaccine by the age of one year to sixteen months. One year after the final shot, your puppy needs a booster that needs to be repeated every three years.

Adenovirus types one and two follow the same schedule as parvo and distemper, with four doses before sixteen months. Boosters need to be once a year after the final round of vaccinations and every three years afterward.

With the non-core parainfluenza vaccine, your pet should need at least three doses before the age of fourteen weeks. Boosters may be necessary after one year, but most allow for every three years.

To protect against kennel cough, a Bordetella vaccine only needs to be administered once intranasally or orally or two doses if injected. Boosters can be every six months to one year, depending on high-risk environments. 

One dose can be given for Lyme disease around nine weeks, with the second dose two to four weeks later. Depending on the tick population where you live, your dog may need an annual booster.

Leptospirosis, another non-core vaccine, requires two doses by the age of twelve weeks and boosters at least once a year if you live in a high-risk location.

Canine influenza requires two doses before the age of twelve weeks, with yearly boosters to keep it active and your pet’s immunity.

Keep Your Pet Up to Date on Immunizations

As a dog parent, it is your responsibility to keep up with your pet’s medical care, including getting immunized. Failure to vaccinate your puppy could lead to dangerous and potentially fatal diseases and costly veterinarian fees, especially without insurance. Start your puppy on a healthy lifestyle by getting regular checkups and recommended immunizations.