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All You Need To Know About Dog Vaccine Shots

At A Glance

There are so many vaccines available these days. While core vaccines are essential, there are some optional vaccines too. How will you know which vaccines to get your dog and which can be avoided? Here's all you need to know about dog vaccinations.

Last Updated on: Mar 26, 2022

Getting vaccinated is extremely important as it can prevent serious diseases and illnesses. Read ahead to find out the working of a vaccine, its benefits, side effects, how often your dog needs to get vaccinated, and all you need to know about dog vaccine shots.

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How Does a Vaccine Work?

Knowing the types of vaccines that are there and how exactly they work is important. When you get a vaccine, your immune system gets activated without you having to fall sick.

An immune response is stimulated in your dog without it having to get the disease itself.

Vaccines assist in building your dog’s immune system so that it can defend itself against any disease or illness.

Puppies are too young to be able to fight diseases. Getting vaccinated ensures their safety.

Given on Different Parts of the Body

Vaccine injections are also given to different parts of the body. The IM (intramuscular) injection is injected into the muscle. The pros of using this injection include that muscles have a good blood flow so they absorb the vaccine quite fast.

The SQ (subcutaneous) injection is administered under the skin but does not come in direct contact with the muscles. The vaccine takes a bit longer to get absorbed than IM injections.

Dead and Live Vaccines

Vaccines are also distinguished based on whether they’re alive or dead.

Live vaccines or attenuated vaccines are a weakened version of the actual disease. Your pet’s body on receiving the vaccine stimulates responses without ever getting the disease.

While the dead vaccines also contain pathogens, they cannot infect your pet. Generally, it is believed that dead vaccines last shorter than alive ones so they’ll require more doses to protect your pet for a lifetime. However, dead vaccines are easier to store due to their stability.

Both these vaccines improve your pet’s immunity against certain illnesses and diseases.

Are Vaccinations Necessary?

Dog vaccine shots are an essential part of maintaining your pet’s health.

However, if truth be told, not every vaccine is important. Your puppy doesn’t need to get every vaccine out there.

The factors to be considered before administering these optional vaccines are a puppy’s age and medical history, and their environment, travel habits, and lifestyle.

Dog Vaccination Schedule

Your veterinarian can guide you about the vaccines that your dog is supposed to get and exactly when.

Generally, the first vaccine shot that your dog gets is when it is 6-8 weeks old. The same process is repeated after 3-4 weeks and it goes on till the puppies turn 4 months.

The first time you take your dog to a vet, he or she will provide you with a vaccination schedule to follow.

The core vaccinations are compulsory for all. As for non-core vaccines, they’re administered depending on where you live, and are given at your vet’s discretion.

6 to 8 weeks

The core vaccinations administered in this period are Distemper, Parvovirus, and Adenovirus. The non-core are coronavirus and parainfluenza.

10 to 12 weeks

The second dose of Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, Coronavirus, and Parainfluenza is administered. Other than that, Leptospirosis and Bordetella are also given to your dog.

14 to 16 weeks

Your dog will receive the Rabies, Distemper, PArvovirus, Adenovirus, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Lyme, and Bordetella vaccines.

Annual & 3 Years

Some dog vaccine shots need to be administered annually. Moreover, most of the vaccines that your dog gets also need a booster to be given within a year. Rabies, along with a few others, is a 3-year vaccine and needs to be given every 3 years.

A dog at the vet

How Much do Dog Vaccinations Cost?

The cost of getting your dog jabbed depends on where you reside.

Generally, vaccinations cost somewhere between $80-$250 annually. However, your vet will be able to guide you better.

Although this might seem too expensive, you don’t need to worry as some health insurance companies provide policies covering vaccinations for your pets. Some animal charities are also willing to help you if you’re eligible for low-cost medical care, as well.

How Often to Get Your Dog Vaccinated?

If you’re wondering how often I need to vaccinate my dog, the correct answer to this question is as often as needed.

You’ll be given a vaccination schedule on your visit to the veterinarian and you need to strictly follow it.

While most vaccines are scheduled for the first four months, you’ll have to visit the vet annually.

Rabies, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus are all vaccine shots that are given yearly.

Vet brushing the dogs teeth

What Diseases do These Vaccines Protect Your Dog Against?

Vaccines protect your dog against Kennel Cough, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, and Coronavirus among other diseases.

Kennel Cough

Caused by the inflammation of your dog’s throat, lungs, or airways due to different viruses and bacteria, Kennel Cough is dangerous and usually lasts for about 1-3 weeks.


This highly contagious disease is caused by the canine parvovirus. It is generally spread either through direct contact with a dog that has already been infected or indirect contact with something else that is contaminated.

Its symptoms usually include lack of appetite, fatigue, fever, and diarrhea.


This life-threatening disease is not only harmful to your dog but also to you. Dogs are likely to become infected by this if their mucous membranes come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, and food.

They can also get it if they are bitten by an infected animal or if they eat the infected tissues.


Although it is not lethal, it can easily be contracted, making it difficult to deal with.

CPIV, or Canine Parainfluenza Virus, is one of the most common pathogens of infectious canine cough.


Causing hepatitis in canines, this is a serious liver disease with a fatality of 10-30%.

Your dog can get this through feces and contaminated fluids of infected dogs. It may also be present in a recovered dog for about 6 months.


CCoV or Canine Coronavirus disease is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs.

Although it doesn’t live for long, it still might have some side effects such as abdominal discomfort for a few days.

a dog at the vet

Do Vaccines Have Side Effects?

The process of vaccination is completely painless except for the sting of the needle that your dog will most likely feel.

Although negative effects are very rare, there are some side effects that your dog may experience. These include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling on face or paws
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sluggishness
  • Swelling around the area where it got injected


You don’t need to worry as long as the symptoms that your dog experiences are mild. However, make sure to monitor and look after your pet once it has just gotten vaccinated.

Although it is rare, your pet might have some adverse reactions.

Consult your vet immediately in such cases.

A dog at the vet

Dangers of Over Vaccinating Your Dog

Be careful of maintaining a record of all vaccines your dog has taken. Over-vaccinating your pet can have lethal reactions.

Research conducted by Ronald D Schultz, a Ph.D. graduate, has proven that most dogs do not need to get vaccinated annually as they’ll be protected for many years to come after just one shot.

Some canine vaccines like Rockborn Strain, Onderstepoort Strain, Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2), and Canine Parvovirus (CAV-2) provide immunity for 7-15, 5-9, 7-9, and 7 years respectively.

The dangers include but are not limited to chronic illnesses, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and sometimes even death.

If you have trouble preserving documents you can even get a puppy vaccination record card pdf and store it on your desktop.

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The 7-in-1 Vaccinations

What are 7-in-1 Vaccinations?

Initially, puppies are given the 7-in-1 or 5-in-1 vaccines so that they can begin the process of strengthening their immunity. The 7-in-1 protects against distemper, hepatitis, bordetella, parainfluenza, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and coronavirus.

Dangers of the 7-in-1 Vaccine

In the past few years, veterinarians have started to speak against this vaccine due to their valid concerns about joint and immune disorders. Your dog might have an allergic reaction to any of the components present in the vaccine.


Anaphylaxis (shock) is one such allergic reaction that is so lethal that if not immediately taken care of, it can cause the hearts and lungs to shut down.


In the 7-in-1 vaccine, the bordetella and canine distemper components are suspected to cause inflammation resulting in coughing and brain inflammation respectively.

Abscesses and Lumps

An abscess is known as a painful collection of pus that is usually caused due to a bacterial infection. Some puppies might have an adverse reaction to the immunization and develop abscesses at the site where the vaccine was injected. Lumps are abscesses without pus. These are generally caused due to either adjuvants or large proteins being present in the vaccine.


Some dogs might feel fatigued. This is sometimes accompanied by soreness in the joints or muscles.


Unfortunately, when a lump refuses to heal on its own, you can suspect the presence of a tumor. Lumps that stay for more than 12 weeks or have grown up to 2 cm in diameter need to be eradicated through biopsy.

Dog eating food

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Schedule Your Dog’s Vaccination?

The first time you take your dog for a visit to the vet, he will give you a vaccination schedule. This visit should be made within days after you bring your puppy home.

Once the vaccination schedule is over, the vet will also provide you with a periodic booster schedule for your adult dog. These schedules should be followed and your dog’s vaccination appointments shouldn’t be missed or skipped at all.

For How Long is a Dog’s Rabies Vaccine Good?

The first time a puppy receives the vaccine for rabies is when it is 16 weeks old, followed by 1 year and then once more when it is 4 years old.

These jabs are good enough for 3 years.

Can I Give My Puppy Shots Myself?

It is not advised to vaccinate your dog by yourself.

Are Dog Vaccines Safe?

Due to the recent debates that have been taking place in the medical community, a lot of people are confused about whether they should get their dogs vaccinated or not.

Yes, they should. Core vaccines are a necessity.

A vet checking a dogs eye

What Vaccines Do Dogs Need Every Year?

If you’re wondering about whether your dog needs to get vaccinated every year or if it needs booster shots, the answer is no.

The law only asks your dog to get the rabies vaccine, which is given every three years.

However, your vet might recommend you to get some vaccines annually and you should do as he or she suggests.

How Many Times Do I Need To Vaccinate My Dog?

Different vaccines have different recommendations of doses. Distemper needs to be given thrice to puppies and twice to adult dogs. The same is the case with Adenovirus-2, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Parvovirus needs to be given thrice to puppies and once to adult canines. Similarly, there are other vaccines out there that have different doses.

At What Age Do You Stop Vaccinating Your Dog?

Usually, by the time your dog reaches the age of either 8,10, or 12, it should have been vaccinated.

What if I Miss the Due Date of My Dog’s Vaccine?

While it is advised to strictly stick to your dog’s vaccination schedule, sometimes the delay of a few weeks wouldn’t cause any harm.

However, you should act responsibly and try your best to not miss any vaccine appointments.

If you delay it by too much time, your vet might have to come up with an entirely new schedule as he restarts the entire course of vaccination.

A man playing with his dog

Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about dog vaccine shots, go ahead and book your pet’s appointment with the nearest vet. As a pet owner, you must take care of your canine’s health and safety.


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.