A Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

With almost 90 million dogs as pets in American households, they are the most popular pet in the country. Whether you’re a new dog owner or have taken care of pups for years, there are some things you need to know to be a good pet owner. It can be difficult to stay on top of everything you have to do to ensure your dog is in good health, and All Animals Vet Clinic is here to help! One of the things you’ll have to keep in mind is the first-year puppy vaccination schedule.

Puppies need a set of core vaccines. There are also some optional shots you can explore depending on your lifestyle and where you live. 

This guide will cover all puppy vaccinations you should be aware of. We’ll also discuss common diseases puppies can face and how these shots can help protect against them. 

Why Do I Need to Vaccinate My Puppy?

The goal of puppy vaccinations is to help protect them against viruses and diseases. Introducing your dog to vaccines in their first year of life is essential.  Some of the most common viruses puppies get vaccinated against include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies
  • Parainfluenza
  • Hepatitis 

When Should I Start the Vaccination Process?

Your puppy needs to get his or her first vaccination when they’re six to eight weeks old. Make sure you get the medical records for a newly adopted puppy. Your vet will use that information to figure out what they’ve already received and what needs to be given next. 

‘booster vaccinations will be given every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old or the series is completed’ until they receive a certain level of protection. How many shots your puppy receives depends on their age. 

What Core Vaccines Do Puppies Need?

These core vaccines should be administered to all puppies and are recommended by vets regardless of your dog’s breed, age, or lifestyle. 

Four of these core vaccines get combined into one shot called the Distemper-Hepatitis-Parainfluenza-Parvo (DHPP) vaccine. 

Let’s discuss some of the diseases that dogs get protected against, thanks to vaccines. 


Distemper is a very contagious disease. It’s caused by a virus that attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous systems. Distemper can get transmitted in the following ways:

  • Airborne exposure, such as coughing or sneezing
  • Sharing toys or bowls 

Distemper in dogs can be fatal. If a dog is lucky enough to survive, they often have permanent nervous system damage. 

All dogs are at risk of contracting distemper. Puppies younger than four months old and unvaccinated dogs are at the highest risk. 


This is a highly contagious virus that targets the dog’s intestines causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.  As a result, they can dehydrate quickly and not be able to absorb nutrients.

Dogs can get parvovirus through direct contact and contact with contaminated items, including:

  • People
  • Feces
  • Floors
  • Bowls
  • Clothing

Immediate advanced treatment is needed to treat this virus.

Hepatitis Type 1 and 2

Hepatitis Type 1 is a contagious virus. It’s caused by the canine adenovirus 1. It targets the following areas:

  • Kidneys
  • Spleen
  • Blood vessels
  • Lungs

Infected dogs can spread Hepatitis Type 1 through their feces, saliva, and urine. Anything the dog breathes on, licks, or sniffs can remain toxic for up to four to seven days. Hepatitis Type 1 is curable if it’s caught when the disease is in the acute stage. 

However, Hepatitis Type 2 is more dangerous than Type 1 because it’s untreatable. Dogs with this type of hepatitis can live for 18 to 36 months. Their symptoms might increase, and their lifespan may decrease if it’s not treated. 

Canine Parainfluenza

Canine parainfluenza is a contagious respiratory virus that can also result in the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Lung infections

A dog’s symptoms can get worse if they don’t get treated right away. Keep in mind that these side effects are similar to those of canine influenza. However, they’re two different viruses that need separate vaccines. 


Rabies is an infection that targets certain brain receptors. These receptors influence how your dog behaves. Unfortunately, animals with rabies tend to act violently and aggressively. 

Dogs can contract rabies by coming in contact with an infected animal’s saliva. Most dogs get it by being bitten by one of the following animals:

  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Bats

What Non-core Vaccines Might My Puppy Need?

Non-core vaccines should be something you consider for puppy care. While they’re not required, they might benefit you and your dog. 

Lyme Disease 

Ticks carry Lyme disease.  Symptoms of Lyme disease can be hard to detect and may take years to show in your pet.

Common symptoms of dogs infected with Lyme disease include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Kidney issues


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that’s connected to a dog respiratory disease. It is part of the complex of viruses and bacteria that can cause what is more commonly called ‘kennel cough’  Upper respiratory symptoms can include:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing

The Bordetella vaccine is a good option for dogs that frequent doggy daycare, boarding, and dog parks. Some of these places might make it a requirement for your dog to receive this vaccination before they welcome them into their facility. 

Your pup can get this vaccine via injection, intranasally, or orally. Vets follow the following schedule:

Canine Influenza

Dog flu or canine influenza is a contagious virus. Two strains have been identified in the United States. There are vaccines available for both strains, or you can get a single vaccine that protects against both. 

It gets spread by droplets from coughing, sneezing, or barking.


Leptospira is a contagious disease that gets in soil and water from urine contamination. Large amounts of rain or living in sub-tropical or tropical areas can make this more easily spread.

Signs of the disease include:

  • Muscle tenderness
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Dehydration 
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

Chances of recovery are high if this disease gets treated aggressively and early. There still might be a chance of permanent liver and kidney damage. The DHLPP vaccine contains the above vaccines we talked about along with this one. 

Follow Our Recommended Puppy Vaccination Schedule 

Staying on top of this puppy vaccination schedule will ensure your dog gets protected against harmful diseases. Vaccinations help keep them as healthy and safe as they can be. Your vet will let you know which non-core vaccines are best suited to your dog and your lifestyle. 

The All Animal Vet Clinic is here to help guide you through the journey of owning a new puppy.

Contact us to schedule an appointment in our Lebanon, Indiana Clinic.