Your dog is an important member of the family, and you want them to stay healthy. That’s why it’s essential to ensure they get the right vaccines at the right time. You may wonder:

In this guide, we’ll answer all these questions and more!

What diseases have available vaccines?

Vaccines are an inexpensive way to avoid the heartache of losing a pet and prevent high medical bills. Treatments for preventable illnesses such as parvo and Lyme disease are expensive and can be ongoing. It’s always best and most cost-effective to provide preventative care instead of risking your pet’s health. Common dog diseases for which we have effective vaccines:

  • Rabies – a fatal disease that can be transferred from pet to human
  • Distemper – a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and the nervous systems.
  • Infectious hepatitis – caused by adenovirus and spread directly from dog to dog through infected respiratory secretions or by contact with contaminated feces or urine.
  • Parvovirus (Parvo) – a deadly and highly contagious gastrointestinal illness
  • Lyme disease – a tick-borne bacterial infection that can attack your dog’s organs and joints
  • Leptospirosis (Lepto) – caused by a bacteria commonly found in areas wildlife frequent, this deadly disease causes severe illness 
  • Kennel cough – an infectious respiratory illness that causes severe coughing and inflammation of the airways. We can vaccinate for three components of this: bordetella, parainfluenza and adenovirus.

It’s important to know when to vaccinate your dog, what shots they need, and how often they’ll need them. 

Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to protect your dog against disease. They work by introducing a weakened or killed version of an infectious agent (virus or bacteria) into your dog’s body so their immune system can learn how to recognize and fight off those agents if they ever encounter them in real life. Because they are dead or weakened, it should not cause illness in your pet (though occasionally, there will be some mild side effects). Each vaccine has its own schedule so it’s important to know when you should vaccinate your dog, what shots they need and how often they’ll need them.

Vaccines are started when animals are young because the diseases puppies are vaccinated for can be very serious and even deadly. Puppies are often more susceptible to infectious diseases than adult dogs. Vaccines help protect your pet from dangerous diseases by stimulating the body’s natural immunity.

What vaccines are right for my dog?

Vaccinating your pet plays a vital role in controlling infectious diseases, both for an individual pet and the general population. Certain vaccinations are required, while others are strongly encouraged, and some are only necessary depending on your pet’s lifestyle. The following vaccinations are considered core and recommended for all dogs regardless of lifestyle:

  • Rabies – required by law in many jurisdictions

The following are usually given in a combination vaccination (DAP) and may include parainfluenza (DAPP)

  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) – very contagious in puppies
  • Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) – This provides protective immunity for both the respiratory illness caused by CAV-2 and infectious hepatitis caused by CAV-1
  • Canine Parvovirus (CPV) – very contagious in puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs

The following vaccines are recommended based on your dog’s lifestyle:

  • Bordetella – recommended for dogs who visit dog parks, grooming facilities, boarding facilities, or dog daycare
  • Leptospirosis – recommended for dogs that spend time near wildlife (may be in rural or suburban environments)
  • Lyme Vaccine – recommended for dogs that are exposed to ticks in areas endemic to Lyme disease
  • Canine Influenza Vaccine – recommended for dogs that frequent boarding facilities or dog daycare

How do I know when my dog needs a vaccine?

Dogs need a series of vaccinations at specific times to ensure they are properly protected against diseases. The initial schedule for vaccines varies based on your dog’s age, vaccination history, and lifestyle. 


First dose – 12-16 weeks of age

Booster shots – requires a booster shot one year after the first shot, then every one to three years (depending on the product used)

DAP(P) Vaccine

First dose – Between 6-8 weeks

Initial series for puppies (less than 16 weeks) – 1 dose every 2–4 weeks until older than 16 weeks of age (minimum of 3 vaccines)

Initial series for adults – 2 doses of a combination vaccine, 2-4 weeks apart.

Booster shots – 1 year after the first series of shots is complete, then repeat every 3 years.

Bordetella Vaccine

First dose – 7 weeks or older

Booster shots – Revaccinate annually

Lepto4 Vaccine

First series – Start at 12 weeks or older and administer two doses, 2-4 weeks apart

Booster shots – Revaccinate annually

Lyme Vaccine

First series – Start at 12 weeks or older and administer two doses, 2-4 weeks apart

Booster shots – Revaccinate annually

Canine Flu Vaccine

First series –  Start at 12 weeks or older and administer two doses, 2-4 weeks apart

Booster shots – Revaccinate annually

It’s also important to note that vaccines vary from one animal to another. If you’re concerned about this issue or have questions about how often your dog should be vaccinated and which brand would be best for them, talk with your veterinarian for professional advice before making any decisions yourself!

We hope we’ve helped you understand how vaccination protects your pet and what you can do to keep your dog safe from disease. Remember that vaccines are not just for puppies, so make sure you talk with your veterinarian about what is best for your pet!