Vaccinations for Dogs and Puppies

Puppy vaccinations can be a bit confusing if you're new to dog ownership, but they're incredibly important to not only keep your beloved pup protected from life-threatening diseases, but to stop passing illnesses on to other dogs as well.

Dog at the vets getting a vaccination

Vaccinations are an important part of your puppy's ongoing health. When you get your four-legged friend you should ask your puppy's breeder for their up-to-date vaccination record and continue on with the plan they have in place. By ensuring the schedule is followed you'll ensure that they're covered against any potential life-threatening diseases and ultimately, aide them in growing into a happy and healthy adult dog.

If you've just gotten your first pup, or are thinking about it, you may be wondering all about puppy vaccinations, including schedules and how much they cost.

Puppy vaccination schedule

When considering your puppy's vaccination schedule, the initial vaccinations will usually begin when your pup is aged between six and twelve weeks of age. During this time your dog won't be fully covered, so you won't be able to take them for walks or have your puppy socialise with any dogs outside out of the household – but you should make sure that the dogs in your home are vaccinated too.

Puppy vaccinations will take the form of two injections spaced out over two weeks. As mentioned previously, it's important for you to ask your breeder, or if you've adopted your puppy – your rescue centre which vaccines have been given and when, so you can schedule an appointment with your vet in order to complete the course.

As well as their initial puppy injections, your dog will require additional booster jabs. Some injections will make your pup immune for life, some will last for three years, whereas some will require an annual top up to keep them fully inoculated.

What types of puppy vaccinations are needed?

Puppy vaccinations are divided into two different types: core and non-core. The core vaccines are recommended for all dogs, where non-core is recommended on a dog-by-dog basis and will be depending on their levels of risk. Your vet will be able to advise you on which vaccinations they'll think your dog needs.

Core vaccinations:

These three vaccinations are the core diseases that your pup will be inoculated against:

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is a potentially fatal viral disease, spread through contact with infected faeces. It's both widespread and contagious. Symptoms often include: vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes containing blood), fever and loss of appetite. Affected dogs usually require intensive veterinary treatment. Vaccination is critical to prevent infection and to control the spread of the disease.

Canine Distemper

This is a highly contagious viral disease that is also often fatal. It generally affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems and begins with a fever. It's spread as an airborne infection and vaccination is the only effective means of control. Thankfully this condition is much less common in recent times, but reported cases have increased in areas where vaccinations have fallen. Vaccinating your puppy against it is therefore still important.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Canine Adenovirus-1)

This contagious viral disease can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fever, thirst and loss of appetite to bleeding problems and liver damage. Infection is spread through the ingestion of infected urine, faeces or saliva. The good news is that it can be prevented by vaccination.

Non-core vaccinations for your puppy

Non-core vaccinations are less important than core vaccinations, but your puppy may still need them under certain circumstances, such as if they are going on holiday or staying in a boarding kennel. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog could benefit from them.


This is a potentially fatal bacterial disease generally transmitted through direct contact with infected urine or contaminated water. Rats are the main carriers of disease.

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

Kennel cough is a highly contagious, but generally mild disease that can be caused by a range of infectious agents, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus-2 and bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. It starts with an inflammation of the throat but it can progress to the lungs and can be more serious in young or old dogs.

The main symptom is a dry, harsh, non-productive cough, which can be followed by retching or gagging. This dog vaccine is given directly into the nose and most reputable kennels insist on this vaccine before they'll accept your dog.

Rabies Virus

Rabies is a very serious and fatal disease. It's compulsory to have this vaccination if you want to travel with your dog abroad.

Canine Coronavirus

Coronavirus causes diarrhoea in dogs, particularly puppies and young dogs. You may find that this vaccine is included in combination vaccinations. Your vet will be able to tell you more.

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