Puppy Vaccination Schedule + What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?

Health & Wellbeing
December 7, 2023
Author: 
Diana Bocco
Reviewed By: 
Dr. Farshad Goodarzi - Animal Nutritionist
5 minute read

Welcoming a new puppy into your home isn't just about cuddles and playtime — it's a commitment to their health and well-being, too. A crucial part of this responsibility is making sure your furry friend gets the right vaccinations. 

Vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of cases of canine diseases. For example, before the widespread use of the parvovirus vaccine, outbreaks were common and often fatal. Now, thanks to vaccines, we see fewer cases and those we do are often less severe.

But what exactly does your puppy need, and why? Let’s take a closer look into the world of puppy vaccines, what they are, the illnesses they prevent, and how much are puppy vaccinations. 

The Basics: Understanding Puppy Vaccines

Vaccines for puppies work much like they do in humans. They train your puppy's immune system to recognize and combat viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Think of them as a boot camp for your pup's immune system, preparing it to fight the real enemies. 

Core Vaccines: The Non-Negotiables

Core vaccines are essential for all puppies, regardless of where they live or their lifestyle. They are the frontline defence against some of the most dangerous and widespread canine diseases.1 Wondering how much do puppy shots cost at Petsmart?2 Here’s a breakdown of the most important vaccines and an overview of costs. 

Distemper Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine distemper, a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Highly contagious and often fatal. Without vaccination, the mortality rate can be as high as 50% in adults and 80% in puppies.
  • Cost of Puppy Vaccinations: Approximately $25-$35 per dose.

Parvovirus Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Extremely common and can be deadly, especially in puppies. The mortality rate can reach up to 91% if untreated.
  • Cost: Around $20-$30 per dose.

Adenovirus Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine hepatitis. This disease primarily affects the liver but can also impact the kidneys and eyes.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Less common but can be severe or fatal. It’s particularly dangerous due to its ability to spread rapidly in kennel environments.
  • Cost: Generally $20-$40 per dose.

Rabies Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Rabies, a fatal viral disease affecting the brain and nervous system.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Rare in domestic pets in the U.S. due to vaccination laws, but almost always fatal once symptoms appear. 
  • Cost: Typically $20-$30 per dose.

Pet parents can also opt for the DA2PP Vaccine (also known as DHPP or DAPP vaccine), a combination vaccine that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus) I & II, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza.3 This combination simplifies the vaccination process, ensuring broad protection with fewer injections. The DA2PP vaccine generally costs between $30-$50 per dose, which can be more cost-effective compared to administering each vaccine separately.

Non-Core Vaccines: Tailored to Your Pup’s Lifestyle

Non-core vaccines add an extra layer of protection and are recommended based on your puppy’s risk of exposure to certain diseases. They are specifically tailored to match the lifestyle, environment, and unique exposure risks your puppy may encounter. 

Leptospirosis Vaccine

  • What it Fights: A bacterial disease that can affect the kidneys and liver.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Leptospirosis is more prevalent in wet, rural areas but can also be found in urban environments, particularly in areas with standing water or frequented by wildlife. Can be fatal but is treatable if caught early.
  • Cost of Puppy Vaccinations: About $20-$30 per dose.

Bordetella Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Very common, especially in dogs that frequent kennels or dog parks.
  • Cost: Around $30 per dose.

Lyme Disease Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Lyme disease, caused by tick bites.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Common in areas with high tick populations. Can lead to severe joint pain and kidney problems.
  • Cost: Approximately $30-$40 per dose.

Canine Influenza Vaccine

  • What it Fights: The canine influenza virus, which causes respiratory illness.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Increasingly prevalent, particularly in shelters and boarding facilities. Although not all dogs are at risk, those frequently interacting with other dogs may benefit from this vaccine.
  • Cost: Typically between $40-$50 per dose, but can vary based on regional prevalence.

So how much are puppy shots? The cost of vaccinating your puppy can vary based on your location, the vet clinic, and the specific vaccines. On average, the complete series of puppy vaccinations can cost between $75 and $100, with annual boosters ranging from $50 to $100. Remember, this is an investment in your puppy's long-term health, potentially saving you from costly treatments for preventable diseases. 

To find out how much puppy shots cost in Canada, you might need to contact your local vet and search for pop-up clinics at pet stores or local shelters. Costs might vary depending on location and the offers around you. 

The Puppy Vaccination Schedule: Timing is Everything

Your puppy’s vaccination schedule is crucial. Generally, puppies receive a series of vaccines starting at 6-8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3-4 weeks until they're about 16 weeks old. After this initial series, most vaccines are given annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine type. Your vet will help you navigate the vaccination schedule, advise on the best time to switch from puppy to adult vaccines, and monitor for any adverse reactions. 

Here's a table covering vaccines for puppies of various ages: 4

Puppy’s Age Core Vaccines Optional Vaccines
6 to 8 weeks Distemper, parvovirus Bordetella, parainfluenza
10 to 12 weeks DA2PP Influenza, leptospirosis, Lyme
14 to 16 weeks DA2PP, rabies Influenza, leptospirosis, Lyme
Annual (varies depending on state laws and risks) DA2PP, rabies Bordetella, leptospirosis, Lyme, influenza

While the cost of vaccinations can add up, many veterinarians offer wellness plans or packages that can make vaccinations more affordable. Additionally, some animal shelters or non-profit organizations hold low-cost vaccination clinics, and some pet insurance plans may cover vaccines as well. It's worth exploring these options to ensure your puppy gets the necessary protection without breaking the bank.

Vaccines, a Small Step for a Lifetime of Joy

A well-planned puppy vaccination schedule is just one part of your puppy's health puzzle. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine health check-ups are equally important. Vaccines lay the foundation for a healthy start, but ongoing care and attention are what truly allow your puppy to thrive. 

At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe that a healthy diet is key to a healthy life. Our fresh food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies at every stage of their development. Made with high-quality ingredients and free from artificial preservatives and fillers, our recipes are designed to promote optimal growth, boost immunity, and ensure overall well-being. 

In the grand adventure of raising a puppy, vaccinations are a small but crucial step. They protect not just your furry friend but also contribute to a healthier dog community. Remember, each vaccine is a step towards a long, happy, and healthy life with your beloved companion. 

References: 

  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-shots-complete-guide/ 
  2. https://www.bestiepaws.com/petsmart/petsmart-vaccinations-prices/#PetSmart_Vaccination_Pricing_A_Breakdown
  3. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/dog-vaccinations-for-every-lifestage 
  4. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/dog-vaccinations-for-every-lifestage 
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