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An indispensable part of keeping your dog healthy is to keep its vaccinations up-to-date.
The list below, lifted from a veterinary handbook, shows all the major vaccinations (at a minimum) that a dog in the United States should have.
Conditions in your area may necessitate additional shots; ask your vet about them as they may not always be routinely included in normal shot programs. DHLPP is a combination shot: Distemper, (Canine) Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, (Canine) Parainfluenza, (Canine) Parvovirus.
- 5–8 weeks: Distemper – measles – CPI
- 14–16 weeks: DHLPP, rabies
- 12 months and annually: DHLPP
- 12 months and 3-year intervals: Rabies
Vaccinations may fail under the following conditions:
- Vaccinations are improperly administered (should always be by or supervised by a vet).
- The dog has some innate inability to respond.
- The dog has already been exposed to the disease in question.
- The puppy is too young for the vaccination to “take.”
Not an exhaustive list: Other vaccines and preventives should also be given, such as heartworm, Lyme disease, etc., when needed.
- Heartworm prevention should begin around 5 months, but it depends on where you live. Those living in warmer, damper areas with a higher concentration of heartworm may want to start earlier.
- Lyme disease vaccine instructions recommend giving it around 12 weeks.
- Bordatella vaccines (for kennel cough): around 6 months or earlier, depending on risk.
Be sure your dog is safe and vaccinated against everything you think they may be exposed to, however, don’t overload their system.
You can do more harm than good by vaccinating your dog for everything all at once than if you stagger the vaccinations and let the individual immunities build up gradually.
Up-to-Date on Shots?
Do you know what it means when your vet tells you your dog has had all of its shots? Stay informed and read up in some of the dog literature about what types of vaccinations your dog should have. Then make sure your vet has administered vaccines for the appropriate things — it’s up to you, not your vet, to make sure your dog has all of its shots.