Vaccinating your Puppy

Buying a new puppy is a joy to any family. But it also brings a lot of responsibility to care for the animal properly.

One of the most important things to do for your puppy is to make sure he gets the correct shots at the right time. The cost for this should be considered before you purchase a puppy. Buying the animal is just the start. Be sure you have the adequate resources to take care of all your puppies needs.

When you buy or adopt your puppy ask for a written copy of the shots he’s already had. You don’t want to duplicate vaccinations but you don’t want to skip any either.

Schedule of First Year Shots:

  • lab puppy5 weeks – Parvovirus (this is usually only recommended if your puppy has a high risk of exposure)
  • 6 weeks – Measles, Distemper, and parainfluenza
  • 12 weeks – DHPP (includes vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
  • 12 to 24 week – Rabies
  • 16 weeks – DHPP
  • 12 months – DHPP and rabies

Your puppies first year of shots will average in cost from $100 to $150 but this can vary greatly. Urban areas will tend to be more expensive. Call around and compare the cost of shots in your area.

Remember that your dog insurance will likely not cover health problems that are caused by you not getting your dog vaccinated at the proper times.  I talked to my Swedish friends who works with dog insurance through the website Djurförsä and he says that most insurance companies till tolerate slight deviations from the recommended vaccination schedule.  As long as you are within 14 days of the correct date you are usually fine.  If you are more than 14 days late with a vaccination than it will vary from company to company whether your dog will be covered or not.   It is always best to adhere to a strict vaccination routine to minimize the risk that your dog get sick.

After First Year

Every one to two years – DHPP

You’ll need to keep your dog vaccinated against rabies as the law requires in your area, usually every one to three years.

There is some controversy over dog vaccinations. Some people believe that yearly vaccinations for dogs is too much. They prefer their dogs to be tested and see if their immunity level is low in any area and then receiving vaccinations as needed. Talk this over with your vet and see what he suggests.

Your local vet may have recommendations for a slightly different schedule and other optional vaccinations.

Some vaccines are suggested based on location or the risk of the dog’s exposure to the disease. This can be true in parts of the country that have a large infestation of mosquitoes and ticks. These include: Leptospirosis, Coronavirus, and Lyme: These are suggested where these diseases are a concern or you’ll be traveling to an area where it is a concern. Talk to your vet if you’re planning on taking your dog on vacation with you.

It is also important to get your dog on preventive medications such as heartworm treatments.

If you can’t afford your dog’s shots check for local organizations that provide shots at a reduced rate. Animal shelters will often offer programs where your puppy can receive his needed shots a low cost to you.

It’s possible to purchase the shots and administer them to your dog yourself. However, unless you’re sure you know how to give the shots correctly it’s best to trust a professional with your dog’s vaccinations.

Vaccinations have reduced or nearly eliminated many diseases that dogs used to suffer from on a regular basis. Be sure you protect your puppy by getting him started on his shots right away and continuing as suggested by his vet.