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Puppy Shot Schedule: What Vaccinations Your Puppy Needs for Protection & Prevention

Puppy Shot Schedule: What Shots Your Puppy Needs for Protection & Prevention

Vaccinations are an important part of your puppy’s overall health. They help keep dangerous illnesses from befalling your dog and help stop the spread of disease throughout a puppy population, and some even have a public health impact to protect humans and dogs.

Understanding your puppy vaccination schedule will help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping them  happy and healthy.

What shots do puppies need?

Before considering when your puppy needs their shots, it’s important to take a look at what shots are necessary, and which additional ones are sometimes recommended.

  • DHPP combination vaccine: The DHPP—sometimes referred to as the “puppy vaccine”—is a combination vaccination that includes protection from the following:
    • Canine distemper: This is a viral, contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that can attack the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of dogs
    • Hepatitis (also known as Adenovirus-2): In puppies, hepatitis attacks the liver and can be quite serious, even causing a loss of vision
    • Parainfluenza: Highly contagious, this respiratory virus is sometimes referred to as kennel cough and exhibits itself with symptoms including a dry or moist cough, low-grade fever, lack of energy and loss of appetite
    • Parvovirus: This highly contagious, viral illness is one of the most common preventable diseases in puppies and causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody) and lack of appetite. It can be fatal in puppies.
  • Rabies: Rabies is usually exhibited by extreme changes in behavior, weakness, loss of coordination, and other neurologic signs. It can be fatal in dogs. Humans are also at risk for this disease, which is why prevention in dogs is even more critical.
  • Coronavirus: Another highly contagious virus, canine coronavirus attacks a dog’s intestines. Symptoms may include depression, loss of appetite and vomiting. Young dogs are particularly at risk. Coronavirus isn’t necessary for every puppy, so be sure to discuss with your veterinarian whether this is a good vaccination choice.
  • Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection, leptospirosis is damaging to your puppy’s kidneys, liver and other major organs. Leptospirosis is very common in certain areas, but this vaccination may not be necessary for every puppy. Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian whether this is a good choice for your puppy.
  • Lyme: The vaccination for Lyme disease helps prevent one of the most common tick borne diseases caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. If you live in an area where Lyme is particularly a problem, ask your veterinarian for details and their specific recommendation for your dog.
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica: Another common cause of  kennel cough, Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterial infection that can be made worse when accompanied by a viral infection such as parainfluenza. Bordetella isn’t necessary for every puppy, although most kennels require it. This vaccination  is a good idea for any puppy that spends time in public and/or around other dogs, so be sure to discuss with your veterinarian whether his is a good vaccination choice.
  • Canine Influenza: Otherwise known as the dog flu, canine influenza is an infectious respiratory disease exhibited by coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, fever and lethargy. There are actually two types of dog flu, and newer vaccine options are available that cover both strains. The canine influenza vaccine isn’t recommended for every dog, but if you live in an area where the dog flu is prevalent, or if you frequently need to board your pet or they are around other dogs that could be infected, you should discuss your options with your veterinarian.

Additional puppy treatments

Besides the puppy shots listed above, additional preventive care is necessary to keep your puppy healthy. This  might include:

  • Fecal test: An annual fecal test will help your veterinarian more thoroughly examine your dog’s overall health, but there are other times when a stool sample may be required, such as  if you think your pet could have intestinal parasites.
  • Deworming: For very young puppies, around 2-3 weeks old, it is common for veterinarians to perform a deworming, even if a fecal test is negative. This is because worms are very common in young puppies and can be passed through a mother’s milk, but not detected in a test. Because of this, a deworming is typically performed as a safeguard to protect your pup and those around it.
  • Flea, tick and  heartworm preventative: Fleas, ticks and heartworms can cause serious health repercussions for your pet, but using a preventive will help them avoid those issues. Heartworms can be fatal, and prevention is much more cost effective than paying for treatment of an infected dog. Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian the proper form of medication for your pet based on their particular needs and lifestyle. In many areas of the country, prevention is recommended year-round.

Petco veterinarian book

Puppy vaccination schedule

Now that you know which  vaccinations your puppy will likely receive,  learn when they’re needed so you’re best prepared. Remember, it’s always a good idea to call ahead to schedule your puppy’s vaccinations  so you don’t skip any. Petco’s complete veterinary services can help you ensure that  you stay on schedule.

The following is a recommended schedule of vaccinations for your puppy’s first few years:

When you can take a puppy outside into public areas

Keep in mind that until your puppy is fully vaccinated, they are at risk for contracting diseases and illnesses that could be harmful to them, to your other pets and potentially even to you. It’s best to keep your puppy away from heavily populated areas (such as kennels and dog parks) and areas where ticks and other pests may be plentiful (such as wooded areas) until their  full schedule of vaccinations has been completed.

However, since it is important for puppies to become well socialized early on, consider options in sanitized and supervised areas where your puppy can have exposure to other puppies, such as Petco’s Puppy Playtime.

puppy shot schedule infographic

Puppy vaccinations at Petco

One of the best ways to keep your pet on schedule with their vaccinations is to make their appointments as soon as possible. Petco offers all the vaccinations your puppy needs, and educated staff at your local store can also help new pet parents find all the items they need to help their pet live a healthy and happy life. Learn more about Petco’s complete veterinary services here, and find your closest location to make an appointment.