Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your dog from dangerous contagious illnesses (despite what recent trends in pseudo-science may claim). Dogs should start to receive vaccines when they are 6 to 8 weeks old, and will need a few rounds of vaccines to help build up their immunity. Older dogs will need a yearly booster to keep their immune system in check.
We’ve written up a typical vaccine schedule, including the core vaccines that a puppy should receive. We also included some non-core vaccines that your puppy may need, depending on where you live in the world. Some countries will have different requirements; for example, dogs aren’t routinely vaccinated against rabies in the UK, since the country is rabies-free.
- 6 to 8 weeks old: DHPP, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2. DHPP includes the vaccines for Canine Distemper Virus, Adenovirus (which affects the liver and can also cause Kennel Cough), Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza.
The two Influenza vaccines are for different influenza strains, maximising your puppy’s protection.
The Bordatella vaccine may be optional, depending on your location and your vet’s advice. Also called Kennel Cough, this illness is very contagious, and most boarding kennels require that your dog has the vaccine before being allowed to stay at their facility.
Leptospira is a non-core vaccine, but your vet will probably recommend it if you live in an area where there have been frequent outbreaks of the disease. The Lyme disease vaccine is also worth getting if you live in an area where the disease is common.
- 8 to 10 weeks old: Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2
- 10 to 12 weeks old: DHPP, and if needed, Leptospira and Lyme.
- 12 weeks or older: Rabies. Not all countries require your dog to have a rabies vaccine. If it is required, it’s essential to get this vaccine as rabies has no cure and can spread to other species, including humans!
- 14 to 16 weeks old: DHPP
- One year after the last dose: Rabies and DHPP booster
- Annually: Bordatella, Leptospira, Lyme, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8, Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2.
- Every 1 or 3 years: Rabies
- Every 3 years: DHPP