Getting your puppy vaccinated is a critical part of caring for your pet. Puppies need vaccines shortly after birth to protect them from harmful diseases and infections. But when is the best time to get puppy vaccinations, and why are they important?
We’ll explain the optimal time for vaccinating your puppy to protect it from disease and infection when its immune system is still developing. We’ll also cover the benefits of puppy shots and any possible side effects.
Benefits of Puppy Vaccinations
Puppy vaccines fortify your dog’s immune system to fight against infections and diseases. The American Veterinary Medical Association states five fundamental reasons to vaccinate your pet:
- Prevent pet illnesses.
- Avoid expensive treatments for common dog diseases.
- Prevent diseases from passing between pets and other animals.
- Protect your pet from wildlife diseases like rabies.
- Comply with local or state requirements for pet vaccinations.
It’s essential to vaccinate your puppy because young animals are more susceptible to infection because their immune systems aren’t fully mature. It’s also critical to note that some vaccines require several shots to protect your puppy from certain diseases fully, and some vaccines you may need to repeat every few years.
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Side Effects of Puppy Vaccinations
Not all vaccines have side effects, but a few puppy shots may cause mild side effects within a few hours of having a shot. These sides effects may include:
- Swelling and discomfort around the shot site
- Slight fever
- Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, or other respiratory symptoms
- Swelling around the neck, face, and eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the shot area gets larger after a few weeks
Contact your veterinarian if your puppy has any of the symptoms after vaccination.
Determine The Best Puppy Shots for Your Dog
There are several different vaccines that you can give your dog. Some of the vaccines are vital, and all dogs should get them. These are core vaccines. Other vaccines are non-core and are elective based on region and lifestyle.
Core Puppy Vaccines
- Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvo (DHP or DAP): Distemper is a contagious disease spread through cough and sneezing, affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Hepatitis is a viral infection that affects the kidneys, lungs, eyes, liver, and spleen. Parvovirus affects the gastrointestinal system and is very deadly.
- Rabies: Most states and countries require your dog to get a rabies vaccine every few years.
Non-Core Puppy Vaccines
These are vaccines that are available but also elective vaccines for your puppy:
- Leptospirosis: Bacterial disease that can spread from pet to people.
- Parainfluenza: A virus that contributes to kennel cough.
- Bordetella: A bacteria that can enable kennel cough.
- Canine Influenza: Flu that can affect your dog’s respiratory system.
- Heartworm: Worms that lodge in the heart and pulmonary arteries.
- Coronavirus: The COVID-19 virus can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory infection.
- Lyme: Tick-borne bacterial disease that affects the heart, joints, and kidney.
These elective vaccines may be more critical depending on where you live or plan to travel with your dog.
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Optimal Puppy Vaccine Schedule
You’ll want to start vaccinating your puppy once they are 6-8 weeks old. At this time, your puppy’s immune system has had some time to develop, and the antibodies from the mother have worn off. You’ll need to continue the puppy shots until your dog is 16-20 weeks old. An optimal puppy shot schedule:
6-8 Weeks Old
- Core: DHP
- Non-core: Bordetella
10-12 Weeks Old
- Core: DHP
- Non-core: Bordetella, Influenza, Parainfluenza, Leptospriosis, Lyme
16-18 Weeks Old
- Core: DHP, Rabies
- Non-core: Bordetella, Influenza, Leptospriosis, Lyme
12-16 Months Old
- Core: DHP, Rabies
- Non-core: Bordetella, Leptospriosis, Lyme, Coronvirus
Every 1-2 years
- Core: DHP Booster
- Non-core: Bordetella, Leptospriosis, Lyme, Coronvirus, Influenza
Every 1-3 years
- Core: Rabies Booster
Frequently Asked Questions About Puppy Shots
How Much Do Puppy Vaccines Cost?
This depends on your area and veterinarian. Most core vaccine vet visits cost between $75-100. Depending on your clinic, each shot is about $15-20.
What if My Puppy Misses a Vaccination or Booster?
If you accidentally missed a booster or vaccination, don’t worry. Just get your puppy in as soon as possible for the vaccine to be effective.
Should I Vaccinate My Puppy If It is Sick or Has a Chronic Condition?
This is where you need to talk to your vet. Call your vet before bringing in your puppy. They will let you know the best path moving forward.
How Often Does My Dog Need a Booster?
After the initial vaccination as a puppy, you should have your dog get a booster every 1-3 years, depending on the vaccine.
How Much Do Puppy Shots Cost at PetSmart?
PetSmart works with Banfield Pet Hospital to provide the best care for your puppy. Their vaccination prices may vary depending on where you live:
- DHP Vaccine: The DHP shots typically cost between $15-$30 per shot from PetSmart. The complete vaccination will cost between $60-$120.
- Rabies Vaccine: The Rabies vaccine will cost about $15-$35 per shot from PetSmart.
Puppy Vaccinations Are Essential for Caring for Your New Pet
To give your new puppy the best possible care, you’ll want to ensure that your dog gets all the vaccines necessary for your area. While DHP and Rabies are required, you may also want to consider the other non-core vaccines if you plan to socialize your dog with other dogs or animals.
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