A Comprehensive Guide to Puppy and Dog Vaccination Recommendations & Schedules

Posted by Dr. Roth on

Pug puppy, A Comprehensive Guide to Puppy and Dog Vaccination Recommendations & Schedules

The decision to add a dog to the family is not one that should be taken lightly since it’s a lifelong commitment — but one that can bring an immeasurable amount of joy and unconditional love.

‌‌Regardless of a dog's age, picking healthy foods and treats, choosing safe toys, and selecting a vet are decisions that must be made immediately after adoption. Dog preventative health measures, including vaccination, are equally important.‌ 

Puppy & Adult Dog Vaccination Recommendations & Schedules‌

It is recommended that pet parents vaccinate their dogs and puppies on a consistent schedule. Here are some puppy and dog vaccines that a vet might recommend, along with their schedules.

For Puppies


Bordetella causes the highly contagious “kennel cough” — a respiratory infection. Puppies who are social, as well as those who’ll be boarded, should receive this vaccine. The first shot should be administered once a puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old, with a booster shot 1 month later.

Canine Flu 

Canine influenza is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), and it's similar to the human version of the flu. It's easily transmittable, and the virus can live on the skin for 12 hours, clothing for 24 hours, and surfaces for up to 48 hours.

This vaccine doesn't guarantee full prevention but may reduce the severity of symptoms. Puppies aged 7 weeks or older are eligible to receive the initial vaccination, followed by a second dose 2 weeks later. 


The DHPP vaccine is considered a core vaccine for dogs. It's recommended for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle or risk. This vaccine protects against four severe viral illnesses — distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus — all of which have caused fatal outbreaks in the past.

Puppies should start receiving this vaccine when they're 6 to 8 weeks old, with follow-up shots every 3 weeks until 16 to 20 weeks of age.  Thereafter, a booster shot should be administered around the 1-year mark, with additional booster shots every 3 years thereafter.


Leptospirosis — lepto for short — is transmitted from already infected animals to humans when the animals' urine mixes with water, soil, or food. The initial lepto vaccine should be administered at around 12 weeks of age and then repeated 2 to 4 weeks later. For puppies aged 4 months, two doses are recommended at roughly 2 to 4 weeks apart.


Rabies is a viral disease that a puppy or an adult dog might get when they encounter a rabid animal. When an unvaccinated dog gets rabies and starts showing the symptoms, the chances of them dying are very high.

Rabies vaccines are required by law in most US states, although the timelines may vary. On average, puppies should receive a rabies vaccine at the 3-to-4-month mark, with booster shots every 1 to 3 years.


For ‌Adult Dogs


Once they’re fully vaccinated as puppies, adult dogs should receive a booster of the Bordetella vaccine every 6 to 12 months. The length of time between booster shots usually depends on the risk factors like how often the dog visits the dog park or how often they are boarded.

Canine Flu

Canine flu shots should be administered on an annual basis.


If a puppy is fully vaccinated with the DHPP vaccine, then they should receive a booster shot for DAPP (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) at the one-year mark as an adult dog, followed by boosters every 1 to 3 years thereafter — all based on the professional opinion of a licensed veterinarian. 


Provided an adult dog received the proper vaccinations as a puppy, only one annual lepto shot is needed. But, if the dog did not or is overdue on their annual vaccination, they’ll need a booster 2 to 4 weeks after their initial shot.


If the dog is vaccinated for rabies as a puppy, a booster shot will be required 1 year after the first vaccination and then every 3 years moving forward. 

‌What Are the Benefits of Following the Dog Vaccination Recommendations & Schedule?

When it comes to puppy care and dog health, it’s crucial to follow the dog vaccination recommendations and schedule as outlined by a veterinarian. A puppy’s immune system takes time to develop, and even after they grow into adult dogs, vaccinations are necessary in preventing illness. Staying on top of vaccines also helps:‌

  • Keep medical bills down — preventative measures are often less expensive than treatment options
  • Stay safe from the diseases and germs that dogs sometimes carry
  • Prevents spread of infectious diseases
  • Extend a dog’s lifespan
  • Ensure first-time pet parents follow the law 
  • Prevents potential life-threatening diseases and illnesses

Side Effects of Dog Shots

Just like with human vaccinations, dog vaccines can cause mild reactions and side effects, including:‌

  • Mild fever and discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

‌While these side effects are only temporary, keeping an eye on puppies and dogs after they receive their vaccinations can help keep them comfortable while they’re regaining the strength to become their playful selves once again.‌

Fuzzy is here to help 24/7 via Live Vet Chat and can answer any questions or concerns pet parents have about puppy and dog vaccinations. 

Wellness Care