Different dog breeds have different needs in terms of grooming, exercising, company, and feeding. However, vaccination cuts across all dog breeds, with each canine being the right immunization candidate. Apart from the regular vaccines, your dog also needs timely boosters to enhance her immunity and keep dog diseases at bay.
The million-dollar question is, how old do dogs have to be to get shots? The simple answer is, your canine should get her first shot at six to eight weeks of age. From then, you can give other vaccines every three to four weeks.
Dog Vaccinations: A Schedule For Every Life Stage
At every age, your dog requires a specific vaccine for protection against diseases. Here is a typical vaccination schedule for dogs.
- One dose of parainfluenza vaccine at six to eight weeks
- Two doses of Canine Influenza from six weeks to eight weeks
- Two doses of Leptospirosis vaccine from ten weeks
- Two doses of Lyme disease vaccine from ten weeks
- Two doses of Distemper vaccine from six to sixteen weeks
- Two doses of Parvovirus vaccine from six to sixteen weeks
- Two doses of Adenovirus vaccine from six to sixteen weeks
- Rabies vaccine from three months of age
Whenever you administer more than one dose to your pet, ensure you space them two to four weeks apart. Also, remember to give boosters to keep the vaccines working, preferably every year.
Core Vs Non-Core Dog Vaccinations
Core vaccinations are those that protect your dog against diseases that are more prevalent in a certain region, or those that are highly infectious, or those that pose a higher risk to the dog’s health. Examples of core vaccinations include, among others, Rabies vaccine, Distemper vaccine, Parvovirus vaccine, and Adenovirus vaccine. Take note that all dog breeds require these core vaccines regardless of where they live.
On the other hand, non-core vaccinations prevent self-limiting diseases and those that respond well to treatment, although some may be contagious. Examples of non-core vaccines include the Parainfluenza vaccine, kennel cough vaccine, Lyme disease vaccine, Leptospirosis vaccine, and Canine influenza vaccine. Remember, non-core vaccines are given according to the geographical location and lifestyle of the pet.
Which Shots Do Puppies Need?
During the early stages of life, your puppy still has weak immunity and is more vulnerable to diseases. Therefore, make sure you take your little canine to the vet from six weeks of age for her shots. Generally, your puppy requires distemper vaccine, canine hepatitis, canine parainfluenza, kennel cough, heartworm, parvovirus, leptospirosis, Lyme disease vaccine, and others.
Which Vaccines Do Adult Dogs Need?
Once you’ve completed the primary immunization schedule for your dog, you should start administering booster shots to strengthen the immunity. Your dog also needs both core and non-core vaccines, depending on how and where she lives. For adult dogs, the Rabies vaccine is a must as it protects the dog against Rabies disease, which is deadly and untreatable. Give the Rabies vaccine every three years for maximum protection.
Other vaccines for adult dogs include Lyme, canine influenza, leptospirosis, and kennel cough. Always administer the non-core vaccines every six months.
Why Vaccinations Are Important For Older Pets
As your dog grows old, her immune system grows weaker too, just like in humans. This means your old pet will still be vulnerable to diseases, considering the earlier-given vaccines would have become outdated by this age. Also, many diseases mutate over the years, and the vaccines administered years ago may not be able to counter the new versions of the disease. Since some vaccines also wear off after a few years, it’s prudent that you keep immunizing your dog, even in old age.
Always consult your vet whenever you need help concerning dog vaccination.