You just got a new puppy – congratulations! Get ready for endless fun, lots of love, and a lifelong companion. You may know puppies require more vaccinations than adult dogs but do you know which ones they need and when? Here is an easy-to-follow guide and schedule for puppy vaccinations.
The Vaccinations Puppies Need
Bordetella is primary cause of kennel cough. It is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes coughing, vomiting, and even death. Injections and nasal spray vaccines are available.
Distemper is an extremely serious disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous system. It causes watery eyes and noses, fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and even death. There is no cure but the symptoms can be alleviated. One vaccine given between the ages of 12-16 weeks typically protects a dog for life from developing distemper.
Different from human hepatitis, canine hepatitis is a liver disease. It causes slight fever and congestion. It also causes vomiting and bloat. There is no cure for this disease, but dogs can overcome mild cases. Severe cases may result in death.
Parainfluenza is another virus that contributes to kennel cough.
Affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) system, this is a nasty virus that can also cause respiratory infections. Symptoms include lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. And while there is no cure, vet’s can help lessen the symptoms.
Heartworm prevention is extremely important for puppies. It is not a vaccine, but a monthly pill that will protect your puppy from contracting the disease through infected mosquitos. Dogs in early stages of heartworm disease show little to no symptoms but more a more severe case will result in coughing and trouble breathing. It can be deadly if left untreated.
Kennel cough is caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections such canine parainfluenza or Bordetella. It is an inflammation of the upper respiratory area. Mild cases cause dry, harsh coughing but severe cases can cause gagging and retching. Only rare cases end in death but it is highly contagious and spreads quickly.
This disease is caused by bacteria and dogs often show little to no symptoms. If they do appear, expect vomiting, fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weakness. Antibiotics are most effective at treating leptospirosis.
Transmitted via ticks, Lyme disease in dogs causes swollen lymph nodes, fever, and loss of appetite and affect their heart, kidney, and joints. If left untreated, it can lead to neurological disorders. Antibiotics can treat it if diagnosed quickly, though relapses can happen.
A GI disease, parvo causes vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, and severe diarrhea. Extreme dehydration happens quickly and can often lead to death within 48 to 72 hours. Immediate veterinary attention is required. There is no cure, but keeping the dog hydrated and the symptoms under control will help them build up their immune system.
Rabies can cause death rather quickly if treatment isn’t given within hours. It invades the central nervous system and causes anxiety, headaches, excessive drooling, hallucinations, and paralysis. Almost every state requires a rabies vaccination.
Here is a schedule to help you determine when to bring your puppy in for their vaccinations:
|Age||Recommended Vaccinations||Optional Vaccinations|
|6-8 weeks||Distemper, measles, parainfluenza||Bordetella|
|10-12 weeks||DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus)||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|14-16 weeks||DHPP||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease|
|12-16 months||Rabies, DHPP||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|Every 1-2 years||DHPP||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|Every 1-3 years||Rabies||None|
(Table adapted from akc.org)
Puppy vaccinations will cost an average of $75-$100, depending on where you live. This will include the “core” vaccines of DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza) given at 6-, 12-, and 16 weeks of age.
Shelters often charge less for vaccines. Most charge around $20 but some are even free. If you adopted your puppy from a shelter, they most likely received the necessary age-appropriate vaccinations.
The first year of vaccinations is the most important one. They help prevent nasty diseases and parasites that dogs can easily contract. After your puppy finishes their core vaccinations, work out a schedule with your veterinarian for annual exams and vaccinations to ensure your dog remains healthy through his adolescence into adulthood!