Vaccinations and Shots For Puppies: Importance, Table Of Vaccination Schedule and Types & Costs

Just like babies, puppies are vulnerable to contracting illnesses in the first few weeks of their lives. This is why they need to be vaccinated against possible diseases.

This article will cover types of illnesses that puppies could get, kinds of vaccinations, and schedules.

Importance of puppy vaccinations

The first year of a puppy’s life is very crucial. She may get some immunity through the colostrum—the special first milk that a mother dog gives to her newborn, which contains antibodies against certain illnesses.

But this colostrum will not be enough to protect against the many diseases that your puppy can catch. She could be vulnerable particularly when she comes from a breeding kennel or a shelter. Such areas could have infectious viruses and bacteria that can spread fast between dogs and puppies alike.

The vaccinations will help to boost the immune system of the dog. Eventually, when she becomes an adult dog, her body will be able to provide her with long-term disease and disease protection that she has been vaccinated against.

Types of illnesses

These are some of the prevalent bacterial, viral, or parasitic diseases and diseases that your puppy may develop, most of which may be avoided from infecting your puppy with the proper vaccinations.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This is a type of bacteria that is highly infectious. It is the main cause of kennel cough. It can cause whooping cough, vomiting, seizures, or even death.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is caused by a highly contagious airborne virus. When a sneezing or vomiting sick dog may infect other animals. Food and water bowls and equipment that are used by an affected animal can also transmit the virus. The disease affects the animals ‘ nervous, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.

Thickening and hardening of the footpads is the most common effect of this disease. That’s why it’s sometimes called a hard pad disease. Nevertheless, other symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, fever diarrhea, vomiting, twitching, seizures and paralysis.

Canine distemper has no treatment. But the symptoms can be treated to provide supportive care for a dog. The treatments can prevent vomiting and seizures and help stop the incidence of secondary infections.

If a dog manages to overcome the symptoms, then through its natural immune system, the dog can fight the disease. If the disease is too much for the dog’s body, death could occur.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is from a virus that is different from the one that affects humans. But just like in humans, hepatitis primarily goals the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Secondary targets are the lungs and eyes.

There is no cure for canine hepatitis just like canine distemper. It may be a mild or severe disease. Through proper care, a dog can conquer a mild form. A severe form could result in death.

You will know that a dog has canine hepatitis through the following symptoms: jaundice, pain in the liver area, slight fever, runny nose, vomiting, and stomach enlargement.

Canine Parainfluenza

This is the dog equivalent of flu. It can be mild or severe. It is also one of many viruses that lead to kennel cough.

Corona Virus

The primary goal of this virus is the gastrointestinal (GI) systems of a dog. But it can also affect the respiration system of a dog. A sick dog will show the following symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and other GI issues. There is no cure for this virus. All vets can do is try to ease the pain and hydrate the dog.


This one is due to a parasite, unlike many diseases that dogs get. The giardia is not actually a bacteria, a virus, or a worm It is a one-celled parasite that can be found in contaminated water. But it can also be spread by infected animals ‘ urine. Giardia’s “cysts” type may live in water or moist conditions for months.

A dog who sniffs or eats the poop or drinks contaminated water can get infected. The dog will have acute diarrhea that has a green tint and bloody discharges. Some will have a fever.

A pet can use proper medication and regular hydration to fight the disease. Yet two to four weeks after diagnosis, the affected animal should be re-examined because there may be risk of a relapse.


As its name suggests, heartworm originates from a worm that burrows into the heart’s arteries and the pulmonary system that sends blood to the lungs. These worms may sometimes grow in the livers or kidneys. A worm can grow up to 14 inches in size. They can block the blood flow or injure the organs they grow in when worms clump together.

Mosquitoes are the carriers of heartworms. An infected dog may not exhibit symptoms during the initial stages of the condition. But when the worms are big, a dog can cough, lose her appetite, become lethargic, have difficulty breathing, or tire easily.

This condition does not have a vaccine, but it can be prevented through regular medications. Only a blood test can indicate if a dog has heartworms.

Kennel Cough

This condition is also known as tracheobronchitis infectious. Kennel cough occurs when the upper respiratory tract of a dog becomes inflamed. There are many causes of kennel cough, as mentioned above. It can develop due to viral, bacterial, or other infections. A cough may be due to two or more infections most of the time.

It is very contagious. It can pass from one dog to another if they always close together. This is why it is called kennel cough. It can spread among the dogs in one kennel very fast.

Kennel cough produces mild cases of dry coughing. Gagging, retching, or vomiting can result in severe cases. A dog can lose her appetite as well. This condition is rarely fatal.

Certain antibiotics can be administered to a dog with a severe case of kennel cough. Cough suppressants can also help ease the pain of coughing for certain dogs.


The urine of mammals transmits this type of bacteria. If an infected animal pees and puts the bacteria in the soil and water, the infection can spread when another animal comes into contact with the soil and water.

Leptospirosis can affect humans and animals alike. At first, a dog will not show any changes. But she will itch, experience a fever, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, fatigue, and muscle pain when she does. Extreme cases can result in failure of the kidney or liver.

Antibiotics can combat this disease. The medicine should be given as soon as possible for it to be very effective.

Lyme Disease

The bulls-eye rash that humans get when they have Lyme disease is not shown in animals. Yet dogs can get sick with ticks just like humans. The infection mainly affects the joints kidneys and heart of a dog. A dog that spends a lot of time outside is more likely to get this disease.

Symptoms of an infected dog include limping, swollen lymph nodes, increased body temperature, and loss of appetite. Antibiotics can fight the disease. But a dog can have relapses months or years later.


More commonly known as parvo, this virus can infect all dogs But dogs that are four months old or younger and older dogs that have not been vaccinated have higher chances of getting the infection.

Parvo is aimed at the GI system. A dog has blood in the urine most of the time has severe diarrhea. She is also losing her appetite, coughing, running a fever. Dehydration, which can kill a dog, is one of the threats of parvo.

Like other canine diseases, parvo has no cure. But a dog who manages to overcome the symptoms and keeps hydrated throughout an episode can beat the illness. 


The viral disease can often affect all mammals through an affected animal’s bite. This affects the central nervous system. Infection symptoms include water fear, light sensitivity, headaches, hallucinations, anxiety, excessive drooling, and death.

Rabies has a treatment, unlike many of the diseases listed here. Within hours of a bite, antirabies shots should be given. In many states, there are laws requiring owners to vaccinate their dogs against rabies at a young age.

Table of Vaccination Schedule and Types

A puppy needs several vaccinations during the first few weeks of her life.

There are some vaccines that should be given to all dogs These are the main vaccines for deadly diseases that are required by law such as shots of antirabies. Some shots may be optional depending on multiple factors like:

Your puppy’s unique physical requirements;

Her breed (puppies with flat faces are more susceptible to getting pneumonia);

Her lifestyle (whether she is outdoors a lot);

Where you live (if there are bodies of water or dirty places that your puppy could play in);

How many pets are in your home (some diseases spread fast from an infected dog); or,

If there are strays, other pets, or other animals that your puppy will regularly come in contact with.

Getting your dog vaccinated can be daunting with so many infections and vaccines to consider. Your veterinarian will tell you about your puppy’s timetable. In general, however, the vaccination schedule and type should be as follows:

Puppy’s age Shot Number/Type for required vaccination Required vaccination Optional vaccinations
6-8 weeks (1 ½ – 2 months) First shot DHLPPC (combination vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza,  parvovirus, leptospirosis, and coronavirus)  
9-11 weeks (2+ months) Second shot DHPPLC  
12-14 weeks (3 – 3 ½ months) First shot   Third shot     DHLLPC Bordetella, Giardia, Lyme disease
16-17 weeks (3+ months) First shot Second shot Fourth shot Rabies   DHPPLC   Giardia, Lyme disease
12-16 months (1+ year) Booster shots Rabies (may vary by state), DHPPLC Bordetella, Giardia, Lyme disease
Every 1-2 years   DHPPLC Bordetella, Lyme disease
Every 1-3 years   Rabies none

A multivalent vaccine like the DHPPLC means a single dose containing different strains of antigens. Giving this to a puppy means less needle poking for your puppy.

Some vets believe that adult dogs do not need regular vaccines and that too many shots may still pose health risks to a dog. But others believe that annual vaccinations are necessary to stop dogs from being infected by harmful bacteria or viruses.

Vaccination costs

The total cost of the vaccines of your dog would depend on factors such as the location of the clinic of your vet. A clinic situated in a highly urbanized city can cost much more than one in a small rural town. Animal shelters and public veterinary clinics may charge less or offer them free of charge at times.

On average, core vaccines could cost around $75-$100. Antirabies shots could be $15-$20.

But no matter the cost, it is your responsibility to make sure your puppy acquires at least the core or required vaccines, especially the antirabies shots.

Make sure that you have up-to-date proof of your dog’s shot chart. Whether you ‘re going to adopt or buy a puppy, get her shooting record chart If you can’t get the chart your vet may recommend starting all the vaccines from scratch just to be on the safe side.


To have your puppy vaccinated, an almost weekly visit to the vet may seem inconvenient and a big drain on your finances. But this can stop the dog from contracting some life-threatening illnesses or going through so much future pain. Your puppy grows up into a loving dog with tiny kisses and big slobbers in exchange.

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