A Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations
Protect your puppy from common diseases.
When you bring that soft, sweet-smelling little ball of puppy fuzz into your home, you know right away that they will depend on you for, well, everything. It can be a little intimidating — they need the best puppy food, plenty of attention, gentle training & exercise, safe toys, puppy socialization, and proper veterinary care. And that includes puppy shots throughout the first year.
Which Shots Will My Puppy Need?
Going to the vet during the first year for vaccinations, and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog’s life may seem like an inconvenience, but the diseases those vaccinations will shield your puppy from are dangerous, potentially deadly, and, thankfully, mostly preventable.
We read about so many different vaccinations, for so many different illnesses, that it can sometimes be confusing to know which vaccinations your puppy will need and which ones are important or optional.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
The first thing to know is that there is not just one vaccination schedule for all puppies. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your puppy’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some puppies do not need every vaccine. Always discuss puppy vaccinations with your vet at scheduled appointments.
That said, here is a generally accepted guideline of your puppy vaccination schedule for the first year.
The canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. COVID-19 is not thought to be a health threat to dogs, and there is no evidence it makes dogs sick. Canine coronavirus usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections. Symptoms includes loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely. Most states require regular rabies vaccinations. Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws and requirements in your area.
Of course, your veterinarian can always provide more information and guidance on necessary and optional puppy vaccinations.
It is recommended to have puppies dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 16 weeks old, and then monthly after that.
Puppies are a lot like human babies, everything goes into their mouths, making them susceptible to roundworms, coccidia, giardia, and other parasites/ worms. Ask your vet about a good protocol for deworming. For flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, follow your vet’s recommendation.
Puppy Vaccination Costs
The cost of first-year vaccinations for your puppy depends on several factors. Where you live is one: Veterinarians in crowded and expensive urban areas will charge more than a rural vet in a small town. In other words, there are significant differences in price. But no matter what the range in costs, some vaccines, such as the “core vaccines,” and for rabies, are necessary.
- The cost can average around $75–100. These will include the core vaccines, which are administered in a series of three: at 6, 12, and 16 weeks old.
- The core vaccines include the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza). Your puppy will also need a rabies vaccination, which is usually around $15–20. (Some vet clinics include the cost of the rabies vaccination).
Puppy vaccination costs in the first year are much higher than during adulthood.
Vaccinations for Adult Dogs: Boosters and Titers
There are different opinions about having your adult dog vaccinated every year. Some vets believe too many vaccinations in adult dogs pose health risks. But others disagree, saying that yearly vaccinations will prevent dangerous diseases such as distemper. Talk with your vet to determine what kind of vaccination protocol works for you and your dog.
Many dog owners opt for titer tests before they administer annual vaccinations. Titer tests measure a dog’s immunity levels, and this can determine which, if any, vaccinations are necessary. One key exception to this is rabies: a titer test is not an option when it comes to the rabies vaccine. This vaccination is required by law across the United States. Your vet can tell you the schedule for your particular state.
And it’s all worth it. For all the effort and care, your puppy will lavish you with lifelong love in return. This critical first year of life is a fun and exciting time. As your puppy grows physically, the wonderful bond between you both will also grow.