Everything You Need to Know About Puppy and Adult Dog Vaccinations

Updated on August 12, 2019
K9keystrokes profile image

India's been an online writer for over eight years. She often writes about canine behavior, world cuisine, photography, and LGBTQ rights.

Vaccines for a Puppy are different than those needed for an adult dog!
Vaccines for a Puppy are different than those needed for an adult dog! | Source

Are Dog Vaccination Shots Really That Important?

Our pets should be vaccinated in the fight against infectious diseases. From the first puppy shots, to the booster shots down the road, throughout a dogs life these weapons must remain in a dog's arsenal to aid in the prevention of disease and illness. But, what makes dog vaccines so valuable and why do they help the canine immune system stay ready to do battle? This article will help to answer those questions. So, let's get started!

How Do Dog Vaccines Work?

Any vaccine, whether meant for human or beast, contain antigens that in the immune system "appear" to be the actual disease-causing organism, yet do not cause the disease. When a vaccine is administered to a healthy animal, the immune system puts together a protective reaction to fight the disease. Then down the road, should the dog be exposed to the actual disease-causing virus or bacteria, the immune system already understands exactly how to either prevent or reduce the intensity of the disease. This is because the dogs immune system has already undergone a trial run when contending with the impostor disease we refer to as a canine vaccine.

Can Puppies Without Shots Be Around Other Dogs

Above and at right, you see our Golden Retriever puppy sitting with our adult Chow-mix dog. This should only be the case after the puppy has completed its round of shots (vaccinations). Nia, our five year old Chow mix, was fully vaccinated and healthy when we brought Kal (our Golden Retriever pup) home. But, he only got to come home after completing his vaccine schedule and after fully weaning from his mother. A well adjusted healthy puppy, becomes a great adult dog!

Puppy Vaccines Are Different From Boosters!

When Kal was just a Puppy, his vaccination needs were far different from Nia's. Our black Chow mix was about five when Kal came into the picture. She wasn't too sure what think of this active crazy furry thing!
When Kal was just a Puppy, his vaccination needs were far different from Nia's. Our black Chow mix was about five when Kal came into the picture. She wasn't too sure what think of this active crazy furry thing! | Source

What Do I Need to Know About Puppy Shots?

The first milk a mother dog produces, colostrum, contains antibodies that when drank keep the puppy protected from diseases until their own immune system has a chance to develop enough to manage the task on its own. The bad news is that these same antibodies tend to interfere with a vaccine's ability to wake-up the puppy's own immune system. Because of this tit-for-tat situation, your veterinarian needs to give your puppy vaccines every three or four weeks starting when the little fuzz-ball is around six to eight weeks old, and continue on a vaccine schedule until the puppy is about sixteen weeks old.

Should I Get My Puppy Rabies Shots?

Rabies is one vaccine that has to be administered a little differently; the initial vaccine isn't given until a puppy is twelve weeks old. The importance of completing the vaccine and booster series for your puppy is critical. When adopting or getting a puppy, make sure you get (in writing) which vaccines and when they had been given to the pup. This will help to give your vet the information to keep your puppy on its vaccine schedule without interruptions.

Test Your Dog Knowledge Here

view quiz statistics

Vaccinations for Adult Dogs

Your dog will require booster vaccinations throughout his adult life. Your vet generally will send you reminders, but it is also a good practice to keep your own schedule. This will assist you should you move or change to a new vet service at some point.

You should have some understanding of the vaccines your vet will be administering to your pet. Knowing which are appropriate for your canine and how often they should be given, depends on your dogs needs. The choice depends on several factors, including the following two: Risk and Circumstance.

1. Risk factors:

  • How much risk is there that your dogs will be exposed to the disease-causing organisms?
  • How healthy are the dogs your canines hang out with?
  • What environment do your dogs live in?

2. Consequence of infection:

  • The risk an infected dog brings to humans
  • The protective ability of the vaccine
  • The possibility and severity that the dog will react to the vaccine poorly
  • The health and age of the dog
  • The history of reactions to vaccines your dog has had in the past.

Overall, Dog Vaccines Are Very Safe!

For the most part, the reasons for giving a dog vaccines far out-weigh the risk of not giving the vaccines; which also determines weather or not the dog may or may not contract the deadly and/or dangerous disease. To assure the risk is as minimal as possible, BEFORE vaccinating your dog, let your vet know about any current or past health issues, medications, and reactions your dog may have encountered.

Dog Vaccine "Sample" Schedule

(click column header to sort results)
6-8 weeks of age
Bordetella bronchiseptica
6-8 weeks of age or older
DHPPLC, Lyme disease
9 weeks of age
DHPPLC, Lyme disease, Rabies
12 weeks of age
16 weeks of age
20 weeks of age
6-12 months of age
Bordetella bronchiseptica
DHPPLC, Lyme disease
Every 1-3 years (this depends on the laws in your state)
DHPPLC is the abbreviation for a combination vaccine that includes distemper, adenovirous 2 (hepatitis virus), parvovirous, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and coronavirus. Check with your vet to decide if your dog requires all of the listed vaccines i

Watch for Vaccine Reactions in Your Dog

If a dog is reacting oddly after a vaccination, you should check-in with your vet to make sure the reaction is appropriate for your dog.
If a dog is reacting oddly after a vaccination, you should check-in with your vet to make sure the reaction is appropriate for your dog. | Source

You and Your Dogs

Is Your Dog Up to Date on Vaccinations?

See results

Recognizing Dog Vaccine (Shots) Reactions Mild and Serious

Below you will find a short list of mild and serous reactions your dog may display after receiving a vaccination. Should you feel your dog is having a reaction associated with vaccines, call your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of Mild Dog Vaccine Reaction

Any of the mild reactions are pretty common and can appear in hours to a few days after being vaccinated. They generally last no more than a few days.


  • Sensitivity at injection site
  • Mild fever
  • Reduced appetite and activity
  • Sneezing (for about a week following an intranasal vaccination)
  • Small, firm painless swelling under the skin at injection site. (Usually goes away after a few weeks, but if you notice it, check-in with your vet.)

Symptoms of Serious Dog Vaccine Reactions

These reactions happen very rarely, but require veterinarian intervention quickly.

  • A potentially life-threatening allergic reaction within a few minutes and up to an hour after vaccination. It appears as hives, severe vomiting and diarrhea, and/or collapse and death. (Again, this is pretty rare.)
  • A sarcoma tumor—sarcomas are malignant (cancerous) tumors that develop in tissues which connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body— that develops at the injection site a few weeks, months, or even longer following vaccination.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Keep your dog and the people around him safe by maintaining a vaccination schedule!
Keep your dog and the people around him safe by maintaining a vaccination schedule! | Source

Vaccinating Your Dog

No matter what breed, size, or age your dog may be, it is imperative that it be given vaccines to prevent the spread of diseases. This is for the protection and health of your canine as well as the health and protection of the human population. Many diseases that attack canines can also make humans sick (rabies in particular). It is your responsibility as a dog owner to manage the health and welfare of your pet. Again, this is for the sake of your pet as well as your human counter parts.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments for "Are Dog Vaccination Shots Really That Important"

Submit a Comment
  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Mrs. M~ Thank you so much! I am glad this hub motivated you to learn more about your dogs vaccinations, I hope it serves you well in the future.

    HubHugs and a very Merry Holiday wish just for you~


  • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

    Mrs. Menagerie 

    8 years ago from The Zoo

    Very useful hub K9! I have always relied completely on my vet to know what shots my dog needs and when. Now, I feel much more informed. I love your adorable photos!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    livelonger~ Bummer about the allergies...could always consider a American hairless Terrier, Basenji, Bichon Frise, Poodle and Poodle crosses, and if you can stand the sight of them, Chinese Crested! All are considered good for those who suffer the ravishes of allergies (which is just a miserable state).

    I sure appreciate that you made it by on this beautiful day during the celebration of Lights. Thanks for checking in on a hub about dog vaccines, even as you are not a dog owner, your support is highly appreciated!

    Wishing you a wonderful celebratory few days!

    Huge Holiday HubHugs and a warm Shalom my friend~


  • livelonger profile image

    Jason Menayan 

    8 years ago from San Francisco

    Another Hub by K9keystrokes, another bounty of information. :) We don't have a dog (allergies!), but I still found this fascinating, and it's a great resource for those who do have dogs. Vaccinations are important, and there's the right way (and timing) to go about it, as your Hub makes very clear. Great quiz, too!

    Shalom and HubHugs!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone~ Thanks for the comments. Knowing which vaccines are needed and when they should be administered is really important for adult dogs, but vital for puppies. Some might think one set of shots makes your pup safe; nothing could be further from the truth! Wonderful to see you in the HubHood today!



  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    8 years ago from San Francisco

    This is so useful! I know a lot of folks who just take their dogs to the vet and have the vet do all the thinking. I say it's important to know what all the important vaccines are so that one totally understands what one's pets are getting covered for, and if they might be missing anything important! Great Hub.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Ercolano~ You make many very good points surrounding health care for our dogs and pets in general. So often we try to do what we believe to be the best thing for our furry friends, and as you recommend, knowing our pets and understanding what the particular needs are can be the best medicine. Reputable vet services are critical and I always say research a veterinarian prior to using him/her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on dog vaccinations here. Your doing good things by sharing your knowledge!



  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Mary~ So glad you shared your experience from your youth. Normally it would surprise me to find that someone today would neglect to get their pet vaccinated, but I have heard of it happening more than I care to think about. Thanks so much for sharing your comments here!

    HubHugs to you, Baby and Baily~


  • Ercolano profile image

    Sam Walker 

    8 years ago

    This is a subject close to my heart, having researched some time ago what the world's top veterinarians have to say about the vaccination of our pets, many actually saying twice should be enough for some of them and admit a lot of it can be simply money grabs by vets. I have never been comfortable simply taking my dog for annual boosters like people do willy nilly because they receive a card in the post, over medication can cause more problems than those they're meant to prevent from the information I've found from the world's top scientists who've written papers on these issues. Also where I come from, they're supposed to be free, but try getting them without paying the $50.00 for what they call an annual health check-up; simply looking in their eyes and ears and mouth - which is, apparently, not optional. After such a check up, my last dog was deemed healthy three days before he actually died from advanced renal disorder despite having been taken to the vet a number of times in that week and nothing said about that then, nothing said about the ulcers in his mouth. But back to the point, I would always, always, recommend a titre after two or three-years-old, and an extremely reputable vet; some vaccs/treatments may not be necessary at all; where I live, there hasn't been cases of certain things (I forget what they're called, something to do with water disease for one) in decades, yet they still inoculate for it; also domestic rabies is extremely rare and so knowing a number of dogs who'd have bad issues with that one, least of which is a bald patch appearing, I choose not to have that done; my dog not one that runs in the wild after squirrels or such like. I would say just be aware of your individual dog's needs and research info before you do anything. Thanks.

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thanks for this info. I can't imagine any responsible pet owner NOT getting the proper vacccinations for their pets! We lost a dog once to Distemper because we were young and ignorant at the time. I voted this UP, etc. Goodnight.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    You bet Victoria! Honored to have you along!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    JayeWisdom~ Outstanding information! It is wonderful to hear that your vet is actually using the titers evaluation before administering new vaccines. It has only been in recent years that the public has become aware of the over vaccination concerns for dogs (and other pets). Many times the idea that a vaccine may NOT be required was brushed off by vets as nonsense. But, with the development of pet owners involvement and the information provided online, these issues are becoming fast laid lanes to longer pet lives! Thank you for sharing your story, it may well keep a dog healthier than even those unnecessarily frequent vaccines!



  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    Thanks for the info. I'll definitely be checking out more of your dog hubs!

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    8 years ago from Deep South, USA

    When my dog was about two years old, she had a life-threatening reaction to a set of vaccinations. The aftermath was an immune system problem that lasted for more than a year.

    After she was out of danger, I read everything I could find about over-vaccination of dogs. I think she was given too many shots at once, and they may not have been administered properly. Needless to say, I would never take her to that vet clinic again.

    Her current vet uses titers to determine if she still retains immunity from past vaccinations rather than subject her to them without checking. The titers cost me more than the vaccinations would, but it's worth it if she still has immunity and doesn't need the injections. Of course, she must have (by law) a rabies vaccination every three years.

    Good news: She had titers done at the veterinary clinic last week during her annual check-up (at which she was pronounced in excellent health), and the vet tech called about an hour ago to tell me she's still protected and doesn't need those particular vaccinations this year!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Victoria Lynn~ Thanks for stopping by. As for the frequency of vaccines, it would depend on the strain of vaccine and the dogs particular circumstances. Some dog fanciers would argue that the rabies vaccine is administered far too frequently for the longevity of the dogs life. While others say that the human population has a stake in the rabies health issue, so frequency has to be the only right answer. I always suggest that whatever the situation, vaccine, or query, if you as a pet owner have a serious health and welfare concern, always check-in with your vet! I sure appreciate your comments, and the great questions!

    Hope your holidays are marvelous!



  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    Great hub! I've always wondered how safe vaccinations really are. What about for adult dogs? I've heard that they can actually be effective for 3 years. Do you think that every year is too often? Thanks for the hub! Voted up and several other things!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)