So, you’ve got a new little bundle of joy (of the furry variety), and you want to get his health off on the right foot. Which vaccines will your puppy need to stay healthy? We recommend the following five core vaccines for puppies:
Rabies — There is no available treatment for rabies, and it is 100 percent fatal to dogs. The rabies vaccine is required for all pets by law either annually or every three years, depending on the state. Puppies can be given their first rabies vaccine at 3 months of age.
Distemper — Capable of causing many health problems, including permanent brain damage and even death, distemper is a serious disease that is caused by an airborne virus. Puppies are given a series of at least three doses of the distemper vaccine between 6 and 16 weeks of age.
Parvovirus — Also known as “parvo,” this disease is highly contagious and can lead to extreme vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody). If an unvaccinated dog becomes infected with parvovirus and is not treated, he will likely succumb to the disease. Puppies should receive a series of at least three doses of the parvovirus vaccine between 6 and 16 weeks of age.
Adenovirus, type 1 — Also known as canine hepatitis, this disease is spread in urine and feces. It can lead to severe liver damage and death. Between 6 and 16 weeks of age, a puppy will receive a series of at least three doses of this vaccine.
Adenovirus, type 2 — An airborne virus that spreads through an infected dog’s coughs and sneezes, this virus is also known as kennel cough. Puppies between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks will receive a series of at least three doses of this vaccine.
For distemper, parvo, and both types of adenovirus, dogs will need a booster one year after completion of the initial series and at least every three years after that. Rabies boosters are required annually or every three years depending on the type of vaccine (rabies 1-year or rabies 3-year) and state laws.
Other vaccines we might recommend depending on your dog’s lifestyle include:
– Lyme disease
– Canine influenza