Puppy Vaccinations: Here’s What to Know

Puppy Vaccinations: Here’s What to Know

Congrats on the new addition to your family! Getting a puppy is an exciting (and sometimes challenging) time. Whether you are a first-time puppy owner or have had dogs all your life, you want to make sure you give your puppy the start they deserve. An important part of laying the foundation for a healthy, happy life is making sure they get the appropriate puppy vaccinations.

When Does My Puppy Receive Particular Vaccines?

There is not one set schedule for puppy vaccinations. Which vaccines your dog should receive depends on their individual risk factors. That said, here is a general timeline for when your puppy should receive their vaccines.

6 to 8 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Bordetella.
10-12 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Coronavirus
14-16 weeks of age: DHPP. Optional: Lyme & Coronavirus.
18-20 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Lyme & Coronavirus
12-16 months: DHPP, rabies Optional: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the appropriate vaccine schedule for your puppy.

What Types of Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need?

Like human babies, puppies will need to see their vet several times in their first year of life. During these visits, your vet will monitor your puppy’s growth and administer vaccinations. To learn more about recommended and optional vaccines, please refer to the information below.

Recommended Puppy Vaccinations

The recommended vaccination schedule for puppies includes vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus (DHPP), and rabies.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a severe and contagious disease caused by a virus that affects the gastrointestinal (GI), respiratory, and nervous systems of dogs, skunks, raccoons, and other animals. It is spread through sneezing or coughing, but can also be transmitted through shared food or water bowls. Symptoms include discharges from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting, fever, seizures, diarrhea, twitching, and paralysis.

There is no cure for distemper, and it is often fatal, but if the animal survives the symptoms, the virus can last for months.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is another highly contagious viral infection. It affects the liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, and eyes. This disease is not related to the human form of hepatitis. The symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion to vomiting, stomach enlargement, jaundice, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can make a recovery for mild cases, but in severe cases, it can be fatal. There is no cure for canine hepatitis, but the symptoms are treatable.

Canine Parainfluenza

This is one of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough. Symptoms are usually mild unless it is combined with another virus or Bordetella bacteria. It is transmitted by nasal discharge and saliva. Parainfluenza causes a dry hacking cough and watery nasal discharge, but if left untreated, it can cause pneumonia or even death.


This is another highly contagious virus that affects all dogs; however, unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the highest risk to contract it. Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal system, resulting in a loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, or severe, bloody diarrhea. Receiving prompt veterinary attention is crucial as hydration can come on rapidly and be fatal within a 48-72 hour period. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling secondary symptoms will keep them going until the dog’s immune system beats the virus.


Rabies vaccinations are required by the State of Georgia for all dogs three months of age or older. It is a viral disease that invades the central nervous system, resulting in headaches, hallucinations, anxiety, fear of water, excessive drooling, paralysis, and death. The most common method of transmission is through a rabid animal bite. It is essential to receive treatment within hours of transmission; otherwise, it is likely to be fatal.

Optional Vaccinations

The vaccine types listed below are optional and dependent on your lifestyle and dog’s particular needs.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

The Bordetella Bronchiseptica vaccine is recommended if you plan on boarding your puppy in the future, attending training classes, or enrolling your dog in dog daycare. For many facilities, proof of vaccination is a requirement.

This is a highly infectious bacteria that causes severe coughing, whooping, and vomiting. In rare cases, it can cause seizures and death. This bacteria is the primary cause of kennel cough.


Canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is a health threat to dogs. That said, canine coronavirus usually affects a dog’s gastrointestinal system, although it can cause respiratory infections. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. There is no cure for canine coronavirus, but it helps to keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable.


Leptospirosis is another bacterial disease that is found worldwide in soil and water. Some dogs may show no symptoms at all. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to people. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stiffness, muscle pain, severe weakness, lethargy, and more. Antibiotics are effective at treating this, but the sooner treatment is administered, the better.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by spirochete bacteria. An infected dog often shows symptoms, including limping, swollen lymph nodes, raised temperature, and reduced appetite. This disease can affect the heart, kidney, and joints and lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. When diagnosed early, antibiotics are beneficial, but relapses can occur months or years later.

Helping Your Pet Live Longer, Healthier & Happier

Puppy vaccinations are an essential part of giving your dog a long, happy, and healthy life. Our team is eager to help you. If you still have questions about vaccinations, give Bush Animal Clinic a call at 229-439-7073 today!