First-Year Puppy Vaccination Guide

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Just as newborn babies get vaccinated at birth, baby dogs undergo a similar vaccination process to protect them from infectious diseases. Vaccinating your puppy is an essential step in being a responsible dog owner and preventing the spread of diseases to other animals. This article will go over the vaccination schedule, what each vaccination is for, its costs, and some commonly asked questions.

Check the vaccination guideline below and keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date so that our best friends stay healthy for longer!

Core Vaccination Guideline ✔

  1. At 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Parvovirus
  2. At 10-12 weeks: DHPP*
  3. At 16-18 weeks: DHPP*, Rabies
  4. At 12-16 months: DHPP*, Rabies
  5. Every 1-2 years: DHPP*
  6. Every 1-3 years: Rabies (required by law)

*DHPP vaccine stands for distemper, adenovirus(hepatitus), parainfluenza, and parvovirus

Source: AKC (American Kennel Club),

Q. What is the DHPP vaccine?

The DHPP vaccine is a comprehensive vaccine that prevents distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. ** The DHPP vaccine is a core vaccine that all dogs must get ** It is considered a core vaccine due to the high mortality rate from contracting any below-listed diseases. Dogs should receive the DHPP vaccine at 8, 12, and 16 weeks, one year later, and then every 1 to 2 years afterward.

  • Distemper can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms appear in various forms. It is an incurable and often fatal disease that causes fever, respiratory disease, digestive disease, eye disease, skin disease, and neurological disease.
  • Adenovirus (hepatitis) is a disease transmitted through dog-to-dog transmissions, and symptoms range from fever, vomiting, jaundice, gastrointestinal hypertrophy, depression, white blood cell reduction, liver pain, and severe hepatitis.
  • Parainfluenza is a respiratory virus that can cause bronchitis, or also known as kennel cough. This virus is highly contagious and common in environments where many dogs are close to each other.
  • Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system. This virus causes symptoms from losing appeti​te, vomiting, and severe bloody diarrhea to severe dehydration and death within 48 to 72 hours.

Q. What is Rabies and why is it required by law in most states?

Rabies is a dangerous and preventable disease transmitted through a bite and even transmittable to humans. ** The rabies vaccination is considered a core vaccine for dogs as it effectively prevents inflammation in the brain, killing nearly 100% of dogs not vaccinated. Dogs should receive a rabies vaccine at 16 weeks, one year later, and then every 3 years. The rabies vaccine takes multiple doses for enough immunity to build up without shocking the dog's immune system within the first 3 years.

Q. What are noncore vaccines?

Noncore vaccines are vaccinations that are not required but are recommended by vets based on the dog's breed, medical history, and lifestyle. Noncore vaccines are made available to simply provide an extra layer of protection for your dog's life. While these vaccines are not required, consult with a vet and ask for guidance whether any of these noncore vaccines could positively benefit your puppy's livelihood and lifestyle.

Listed below are noncore vaccines you may consider for your puppy:

  • Bordetella (kennel cough) - is a contagious respiratory virus that appears as a dry cough, inflammation, and breathing issue that can last several weeks. Typically spread from direct contact with an infected dog, sharing a bowl with other dogs, or at a dog daycare program. Bordetella, also known as kennel cough, is fortunately not life-threatening but the kennel cough vaccine is recommended for social dogs, senior dogs, and young puppies.
  • Lyme disease is a common tick-transmitted disease that causes recurring lameness, joint inflammation, lack of appetite, and depression. The most severe medical complications can cause damage to the kidneys and heart. Dogs do not need to spend a particularly long time for a tick to attach itself to a dog's skin. The Lyme disease vaccine is recommended for active dogs, so you can take long walks or hikes without worrying.
  • Giardia is a parasitic infection due to ingesting contaminated water and food. Giardia is known to cause stomach problems and bowel issues such as diarrhea. Young puppies are commonly diagnosed with giardia due to their curiosity, sniffing, and eating random foreign objects.
  • Leptospirosis is a bacteria commonly found in mud, soil, and water, which infects by entering through an open wound on the dog's skin. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, fatigue, blood in stool, difficulty breathing, and a chance to pass bacteria to humans.

Q. How much do the vaccines cost?

All core vaccines cost on average $75-$100.

Rabies vaccine costs on average $15-$20.

Noncore vaccines cost on average $20-$30.

Some clinics may include the cost of the rabies vaccine when done together with the core vaccines. The initial vaccination costs for a first-year puppy are usually higher than later in adulthood.

Q. What should I do after my dog gets fully vaccinated?

Your dog may have difficulty adjusting and is fatigued, but that is just the dog’s immune system responding to the vaccine. We recommend providing a warm and comfortable space for your dog to rest. Ensure they have access to water and their favorite food. If your dog shows abnormal symptoms such as refusal to eat, hives, vomiting, or diarrhea even after the day of vaccination, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Q. When can my puppy go outside?

It is essential to let your puppy develop social skills properly to get the best start. The guideline allows sufficient time for antibodies in your dog’s body to form and build a resistance to infectious diseases. We recommend that your dog experience social activities and events with other vaccinated puppies to develop social skills after the third vaccination. This step ensures that your dog will not be too shy or aggressive to other dogs when it matures.
Avoid places with too many puppies; take a walk in a safe place by carrying them, pushing them in a stroller, or visiting a friend or family.

Q. What if I miss the window for vaccination?

If the window for vaccination is missed by 2 weeks or more, the dog’s immune system may no longer respond to the subsequent shot. This mistake can also cause the immune response to respond less for the next scheduled vaccination shot. Practices may differ from vet to vet, but your puppy may need an extra vaccination to boost its immunity.

If you are ever worried about missing the window for vaccination for your dog,

The Buddydoc app has a diary and calendar feature that takes your vaccination period and sends you notifications for appointments.

With Buddydoc, we assure the healthiest and best start in life for your puppy! ⋆*