Dog Vaccine Schedule


"Dog Vaccine schedules vary for puppies and adult dogs. While puppies need the full course of vaccines, many vaccines for adults last for years. The exception is the vaccine for bacterial infections such as parainfluenza or kennel cough which needs a yearly booster."


It is very important to follow the recommended dog vaccine schedule to keep your dog healthy. Vaccines prevent your dog from getting serious, potentially fatal illnesses.

Puppies start to get vaccinated every 3 weeks starting at about week 8, until week 17. While the trend is to vaccinate adult dogs less, it is still recommended that puppies receive all of the core vaccines.

Diseases Prevented by Following a Dog Vaccine Schedule

Some of the diseases vaccines protect against are:

  • Distemper - This disease affects the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the central nervous system. There is no cure for it, and about 75% of dogs who get distemper die from it.

  • Hepatitis - This is an infection that affects the liver. There is no cure. It can be fatal. Dogs that live may develop kidney disease, vision problems, and breathing problems.

  • Leptospirosis - This is a disease that can cause liver or kidney problems.

  • Parainfluenza - This is a respiratory virus.

  • Kennel Cough - This is another respiratory disease.

  • Parvo Virus - This is a gastro-intestinal infection. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. It can also affect the heart muscle. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

  • Coronavirus - This disease also affects the gastro-intestinal system and causes severe diarrhea. It can also affect the liver. In adult dogs it is usually not too serious an illness, but it can be fatal in puppies.

  • Rabies - This is a disease of the central nervous system. It is contagious to humans and animals believed to be rabid must be put to sleep. In most states it is the law that your dog must be given yearly rabies vaccines.

Typical Dog Vaccine Schedule

Follow the recommended dog vaccination schedule given to you by your vet. You'll notice that one vaccine is listed as DHLPPC. This is a combination vaccine, where the vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo virus, and corona virus are given all at once.

Following is a sample dog vaccination schedule. Your vet may vaccinate on a slightly different schedule, but it should be similar to this one that was developed for puppies:

  • Age 6-8 weeks - Parvo, distemper with the option to vaccinate for parainfluenza and kennel cough.

  • Age 10-11 weeks - Parvo, distemper, infectious hepatitis with the option for parainfluenza and kennel cough.

  • Age 13-14 weeks - Parvo, distemper, infection hepatitis with option for Leptospirosis and Lyme.

  • Age 16-17 weeks - Parvo and rabies with the option for Leptospirosis and Lyme.

  • 1 year - Parvo, distemper, Infectious Hepatitis and rabies, with optional vaccines for parainfluenza, kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica), Leptospirosis and Lyme.

Instead of annual boosters for distemper, parvo and hepatitis, most veterinarians will do a blood test to check for antibodies instead as these vaccines can last as long as seven years.

For rabies, frequency is based on the antibody tests and the prevalence of the disease in your area. The vaccine is good for 3 years in most dogs.

Vaccines for bacterial infections only last for 6 to 12 months so dogs are given a yearly booster such as the DHLPPC booster for kennel cough, Leptospirosis, parainfluenza and rabies.

In addition to getting vaccinated, your pet will receive a physical examination. All dogs should be on a heartworm preventative as well.

If you are adopting an adult dog from a shelter it is recommended that you have their antibodies tested or give your new pet 2 booster vaccines 3 weeks apart for distemper, parvo, infectious hepatitis and rabies.

Are Canine Vaccines Dangerous?

A study done in the late 1990s showed the formation of malignant tumors at the site of vaccination in cats. While similar evidence does not exist for dogs, recent practice has been to check adult dog's for antibodies first to see if vaccination is necessary. Since antibody tests can cost as much as the vaccine itself, many owners choose the vaccine over the test.

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