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Everything You Need to Know About Vaccinating Your Dog

Many diseases, some of which are serious, may be prevented by regularly giving your dog the appropriate vaccinations. The rabies vaccination is mandatory for all dogs by law. Still, there are a variety of other vaccines that may protect your dog from entirely preventable and potentially fatal diseases. Canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and distemper vaccines are all included in this series.

This includes identifying which immunizations are needed and when they should be given. Since we’ve received so many questions concerning dog immunizations over the years, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most often asked questions here for your benefit. Only a general review of canine vaccinations will be discussed here. At your dog’s next visit to the veterinarian, we’ll be happy to discuss the vaccination recommendations that have been made for your pet.

Canine Vaccinations: What Are They, and Why Are They So Critical?

A dog’s immune system may be better equipped to fight off disease-causing germs if it gets vaccinated against them. All the shots dogs get are loaded with antigens, which act as an immune system stimulant without infecting them. Vaccines are given to puppies and dogs to stimulate the immune system enough to identify any antigens that may be present. To ensure that the dog’s immune system recognizes the illness and is ready to fight it off or at the very least minimize the intensity of its symptoms if it is ever exposed to the disease. For pet vaccinations at home, you need to know the followings:

Dogs Need a Variety of Vaccinations, But Which Are the Most Important?

All dogs, even puppies, should have the essential puppy vaccines and dog vaccinations because of the overall risk of exposure, the severity of the disease, and the likelihood of transmission to other dogs and other animals, including humans, as well as to other species. Here are the shots most puppies will need in their first year:

  • Bordetella
  • Canine Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Rabies
  • Heartworm – a preventative medication your dog will be on their entire life.
  • Kennel Cough

Although strongly recommended, the following vaccinations may be considered optional:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease

It doesn’t matter if these immunizations aren’t considered “core” for most dogs; they’re vital for protecting against infectious diseases to which they may be exposed. We’d be happy to discuss which of the above alternatives makes the most sense for your dog and provide recommendations depending on what we learn during your next visit.

Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair
Bella in a rear leg support for dog's with weak back legs
Warrior Rear Harness
drag bag for paralyzed dog
Walkin’ Drag Bag

Are There Any Dog Vaccines That Aren’t Necessary?

Vaccinations for puppies and dogs are essential for their overall health and well-being, but they do not have to be given to every puppy or dog. Talk to you veterinarian. Your vet will advise you which shots your puppy needs and if there are some vaccines that are optional.

When Is the Best Time to Begin Vaccinations for Puppies?

At 6-8 weeks, puppies should begin their first series of vaccinations. The first round of vaccinations continues every three weeks until they are about four months old when they get their last set of shots. Nursing puppies may absorb antibodies if their mother has a robust immune system. Most of the time, this is the case. Once a puppy has been weaned from its mother’s milk and is eating on its own, it is time to begin immunizations.

Dog Vaccination Schedule

Vaccination against these diseases is part of a dog’s routine care. As soon as your puppy reaches the age of maturity and has gotten all of the necessary immunizations for pups, your veterinarian will be able to begin implementing an adult dog vaccination regimen. 

When puppies are given the DHPP vaccination, it is supplemented with many other additives, and these booster doses are required for adult dogs.


  1. Thanks for explaining how vaccinating your dog could help them avoid unwanted illnesses as they grow older. After watching a hero dog movie last week, my friend wants to try adopting a puppy. I should relay this information to him so he’d understand the importance of vaccination in the future.

  2. It’s nice that you talked about how a dog’s immune system may be better equipped to fight off disease-causing germs if it gets vaccinated against them. We just bought a pet dog for our daughter and we just remembered it is not vaccinated yet. We need to take care of this before we forget, so we should ask for pet vaccinations from a veterinarian.

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