Dog vaccinations are essential for keeping your dog healthy and happy. Vaccinations protect pets from serious illnesses or even fatal diseases that dogs commonly suffer from. There are two types of vaccinations: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

Core vaccines are required for all dogs and puppies. These vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of serious diseases including distemper, hepatitis/adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies.

Non-core vaccinations are considered optional. They are given to animals based on their lifestyle or where they live. Some non-core vaccines protect against highly contagious or potentially life-threatening diseases. This includes Leptospirosis vaccine, Lyme vaccine, Canine influenza vaccine (H3N2 and/or H3N8).

Vaccines drug for dogs

There is no shortcut to vaccinating your dog. The best way to approach the vaccine schedule is to work with your veterinarian and discuss your dog’s lifestyle. Your veterinarian can make appropriate recommendations for which vaccines are necessary to protect your dog based on its lifestyle.

The first thing to know is that there is not one vaccination schedule for all dogs. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your dog’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some dogs do not need every vaccine.

Diseases to be Vaccinated Against

  • Rabies

Rabies is a virus spread through bites from infected animals to humans. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with the saliva of an infected animal. The vaccine for rabies is required in the US, and it is used to prevent imminent death after being bitten by an infected animal.

If your pet is not vaccinated, or overdue for vaccinations, and they come into contact with a rabid animal or accidentally bite someone, it may result in health concerns. If your pet needs to be quarantined because of this, you may need to pay the cost.

A dog receiving rabies vaccination against rabies disease

  • Canine Influenza

Canine influenza in the US is caused by two identified strains of the virus, H3N2, and H3N8. This highly contagious disease causes cough, nasal discharge, and low-grade fever in dogs. As influenza viruses can give rise to new strains of influenza that have the potential to affect other species and possibly cause death. Typically, dogs are vaccinated for canine influenza because they mingle with other dogs.

  • leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is an infection that affects both dogs and humans. It can cause severe kidney or liver failure in both creatures. The disease is transmitted via the urine of infected animals and is found in both rural and urban areas. Dogs can get the disease by licking or coming in contact with a contaminated body of water where an infected animal has urinated.

  • Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This causes fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, shifting leg lameness, and in severe cases kidney failure. Lyme disease is endemic in various areas around the country, and the vaccine is recommended in these areas or for those traveling to those areas that are been affected by Lyme disease.

  • Distemper/Adenovirus (Hepatitis)/Parvovirus (DAP)

Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease that can be devastating to unvaccinated dogs. Adenovirus 1 is also known as infectious canine hepatitis. It causes upper respiratory tract infections as well as fever, liver failure, kidney failure, and ocular disease. Parvo is a highly contagious virus that can be fatal to puppies. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, and even death in severe cases. The parvovirus can be spread in two ways: fecal-oral transmission, which is the most common way, and respiratory transmission.


  • Canine Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus is a disease that can affect dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, as well as their respiratory systems. It causes signs such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and other GI symptoms. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated and comfortable if it has these symptoms, but there is no cure for the virus.

Vaccination Schedule Table

A puppy receiving schedule vaccination

AgeCore VaccinationsNon-Core Vaccinations
6-8 weeksParvovirus
Adenovirus (Hepatitis)
10-12 weeksParvovirusDistemper/measles combination
Adenovirus (Hepatitis)
Leptospirosis (California only)
12-16 weeksParvovirus
Adenovirus (Hepatitis)
Leptospirosis (California only)
Adopted dogs +16 weeksCore shots are given twice, 4 weeks apart
26 – 52 weeksBooster shotsLyme (in prevalent regions)
Every 6 monthsBordetella
Every 3 years(Rabies) As required by lawNone


Bringing a puppy into your home is an important decision that requires that you provide for her needs. First, you should pick the best food for a puppy. Then, since she’s so small and delicate, she needs plenty of attention. She should be taught proper behavior from the start so she doesn’t develop bad habits. And since puppies are curious, early socialization is encouraged, and proper veterinary care includes giving the puppy a shot throughout her first year.


Kehinde Ezekiel is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, tech, and parenting.

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