What Vaccines Do Dogs Need?

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about dog vaccinations. We’ll find out which dog vaccinations are absolutely necessary, when dogs need their vaccinations, and how often dogs need vaccines. Welcome to the PetLab Co. Ultimate Vaccine Guide…     What Is A Vaccine? When humans are babies, they are administered (only with parental consent) shots […]

Nov 09, 2023·5 min read
What Vaccines Do Dogs Need?

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about dog vaccinations. We’ll find out which dog vaccinations are absolutely necessary, when dogs need their vaccinations, and how often dogs need vaccines. Welcome to the PetLab Co. Ultimate Vaccine Guide… 


What Is A Vaccine?

When humans are babies, they are administered (only with parental consent) shots that prevent them from getting illnesses that can make them very sick. Some vaccines are given during pregnancy to give the baby immunity against conditions pre-birth (namely Pertussis/Whooping Cough). Vaccines are deemed essential by medical professionals and scientists as some of these illnesses can be life-threatening to infants as their immune systems haven’t developed yet. The same goes for puppies and dogs.

Vaccines work by giving your dog a very small amount of bacteria or virus; this is usually a modified or “dead” strain of the condition you’re protecting against which is completely harmless. By doing this, their immune system is exposed to the virus or the bacteria and then their immune system fights it off. Then, if they come into contact with these germs again later in life, their immune system will know what to do with it and not let the germs make them unwell.

Getting your dog vaccinated not only protects your dog but protects other dogs they come into contact with as they reduce the likelihood of infection for all pups in the community. Dog vaccinations are part and parcel of being a responsible dog owner.

a small black pug looks up from sitting on the ground, wearing a protective plastic cone around their head

The Dog Vaccinations That Are Absolutely Necessary

Usually, the vaccines considered the “core dog vaccinations” include protection against:

  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
  • Canine Parvovirus (CPV)
  • Canine Leptospira
  • Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPi)
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Ask your vet exactly what they’re being vaccinated against to be sure they’re covered with everything you want and think they may need. 

There is also the option to vaccinate your dog against Canine Adenovirus (CAV), Canine Rabies, and Kennel Cough, and these may be deemed necessary if your dog travels abroad with you a lot, is going to stay in kennels, or attend doggy daycare. Ask your vet about adding these into their vaccination schedules.

How Often Do Dogs Need Vaccines?

When your puppy is 6-8 weeks old, they can have their first lot of shots. This consists of 2 or 3 injections administered 2 to 4 weeks apart. If you’ve purchased your pup from a good, ethical breeder, they may have already arranged the primary course of shots and you may just need to make sure that they have their second batch. 

Once these initial vaccinations have been given to your pup, they will need to return yearly to their vet for booster shots. This will ensure their immunity is kept up. If you miss these yearly appointments, your dog is more at risk of developing serious illnesses and they may even need to restart their entire vaccination process dependent on which shot lapsed. 

Different vaccines last for different amounts of time, so your dog won’t be administered the same shot(s) every year. Your vet will keep a schedule of this so they know which to administer annually. This is why it’s so important, as a pet parent, to make sure they attend their yearly vaccination appointments throughout their life. A yearly check-up, regardless, is always advisable and you can usually have them given a good once over during the same appointment.

a white woman in a red and blue patterned top affectionately hugs her black dog that has their mouth open

Your dog doesn’t need to be particularly prepared for their vaccines; they’re administered very quickly and swiftly. But, any visit to the vet can be stressful for a pup so it may be worth packing their favorite toy, some treats to reward their attendance, and their familiar smelling blanket to help them feel secure.

Are There Dog Vaccine Side Effects?

Vaccinations are safe and a simple procedure. Side effects are incredibly rare, as vaccines go through rigorous trials and tests before they become licensed. 

As with vaccinations in humans, your pup may feel a little under the weather for a couple of days after their shots whilst their immune system does its job and is recalibrated. 

Your dog’s vaccinations are essential to ensure the health of all local pets as well as your pooch and household. 

The Cost Of Dog Vaccinations

According to the American Kennel Club, the average cost of initial puppy vaccinations can be between $75-$100, and additional shots (like Rabies, for example) can cost around an extra $20. Remember though, risking contracting these conditions that the vaccines protect your dog against will cost you far more to treat and can even cost the life of your dog.

Many veterinarians will offer health plans that make essential routine treatments more affordable. Some may even offer payment plans too. If you rescued your dog, their core vaccines are usually covered by the shelter or are significantly cheaper and are administered before you take your pup home with you. If you’re concerned about the cost of vaccinations, check out local veterinarian schools who may be able to assist. Many run low-cost clinics for limited income clients. There are also charities that can help. 

Your dog’s yearly booster shots will be much cheaper than the initial puppy vaccinations. 

Pet insurers don’t tend to cover dog vaccinations, but most will only cover you if your dog is up to date on their shots.


“Vaccinations For Dogs” Vets4Pets https://www.vets4pets.com/pet-health-advice/dog-advice/vaccinating-your-dog/

“Dog Vaccination” Jan. 2017, NOAH https://www.noah.co.uk/briefingdocument/dog-vaccination/

“Dog Vaccinations And Booster Vaccinations” Medivet https://www.medivet.co.uk/pet-care/pet-advice/dog-vaccinations/

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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