Pet Care

Which Dog Shots Does Your Puppy Need?

Dog Shots & Puppy Vaccines

You want to keep your best buddy happy, and that starts by keeping her healthy. Vaccinations lower the risk of your pup contracting potentially deadly illnesses and help her fight off infections when she catches them. Many states mandate specific dog shots to protect humans and animals, so it’s important to know what vaccines your dog needs and the best time to get them.

Navy Blue PawCore Vaccines

Core vaccines are recommended for all canines regardless of the risk of exposure. Generally, core vaccines help protect against viral illnesses that are highly contagious and rarely have a cure. Treatment involves monitoring symptoms and allowing the body to fight off the infection naturally. Many of these conditions are harder to treat without a vaccine and can become fatal. For that reason, several vets recommend that pups begin receiving dog shots as early as 6 to 8 weeks. These core vaccines include:

  • Canine Distemper

    This viral disease affects the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. It spreads easily through sneezing, coughing, and shared objects like water bowls and toys.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures and often ends in death.

  • Parvovirus

    This illness disrupts the GI tract and causes severe dehydration. Dogs under four months who have not received their shots are the most likely to contract parvo. This extremely contagious condition can be transported on clothes, shoes and other objects, surviving in a range of environments for months to years.

  • Canine Adenovirus (CAV-1 & CAV-2)

    There are two types of canine adenovirus: Type 1 and Type 2.

    • Type 1 - Canine Hepatitis affects the liver, kidney, spleen, lungs and eyes. Many dogs overcome the mild form of this condition, but the severe form frequently has fatal consequences.
    • Type 2 - Kennel cough is a highly contagious condition but is rarely fatal. Because it is airborne and can be passed through shared items, outbreaks of this condition spread rapidly, especially in highly populated areas of dogs like boarding facilities, daycares, shelters, etc.
  • Rabies

    A bite or scratch from a rabid animal causes this infection. Rabies quickly affects the central nervous system, causing headaches, hallucinations, paralysis and other terrifying symptoms. This vaccine is mandatory in all 50 states because infected animals can get humans sick.

Vaccine NameFor Dogs < 16 Weeks OldFor Dogs > 16 Weeks OldBooster Requirements

1-year coverage

3-year coverage

Usually given in one dose between 12 – 16 weeks.Administered in a single dose.Regardless of age,

vets recommend another dose one year after initial vaccination,

and then once every year or 3 years depending on the last dose coverage.

Combination Vaccine that protects against:





Initial dose is administered at 6 to 8 weeks old,

then at least 2 more doses given every 2 to 4 weeks.


The last dose is given at 16 weeks old.

2 doses are given 3 to 4 weeks apart.Regardless of age,

A follow-up dose should be given 1 year after the last dose of the initial series.

A booster is administered every 3 years, or as recommended.

Baby Blue PawNon-Core Dog Shots

Your vet will recommend non-core dog shots based on your dog’s lifestyle and risk for certain conditions. For example, while the leptospirosis vaccine is not considered core, pets in California are at higher risk, so it has become a mandated vaccine in the state.

  • Lyme Disease

    Carried by infected deer ticks, Lyme disease affects many dogs in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest and on the West Coast. Once bitten, pups may experience swollen lymph nodes, fever, and heart, kidney, joint and nerve complications. Even after treatment with antibiotics, relapses can occur years after the condition has resolved.

  • Leptospirosis

    This disease is caused by bacteria found in the urine of carrier animals, which then gets into water and soil. Because dogs can pass leptospirosis to humans, this vaccine is often strongly recommended. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, stomach pain and weakness. Antibiotics can help resolve this condition.

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica & Parainfluenza

    Contact with other dogs can cause kennel cough, so bordetella and parainfluenza dog shots are recommended if your pet will spend a lot of time with other dogs.

Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about your pup’s vaccination schedule. Remember that vaccines don’t guarantee that your pup won’t catch these diseases, so it’s important to support your pet’s wellness regularly. Shop our selection of CBD Oils and learn more about keeping your fur baby happy.



American Animal Hospital Association – AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine – Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

American Kennel Club – First-Year Puppy Vaccinations; A Complete Guide

American Veterinary Medical Foundation – Lyme Disease: A Pet Owner’s Guide