Frequently Asked Questions -
Vaccinations - Dogs
At what age should I start my puppy's shots?
Start your puppy’s shots at 8 weeks of age, or at 6 weeks if they are at high risk. High-risk puppies are those whose mom is very young, is unvaccinated or has died. Also pups living in or visiting an area with recent deaths from parvo should be considered high-risk.
How many shots does my puppy need?
Age is more important than the number of shots. Your pup needs shots every 3 weeks until it is over 16 weeks of age. For example:
The first shots are given typically at 8 weeks of age, then 11 weeks, 14 weeks and 17 weeks of age. High-risk pups should start at 6 weeks and receive boosters at 9, 12,15 and 18 weeks of age.
How old does my pup need to be to get a rabies shot?
Your puppy can get its rabies shot after 12 weeks of age.
The first rabies shot is good for one year, and then they should be boostered every 3 years.
Which vaccinations should my dog get?
- Rabies vaccine: This vaccination is required by law. It may be given after 12 weeks of age, then boostered every year. If the next booster vaccination is administered within a year, following boosters may be given every three years.
- DHPP vaccine (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvovirus/Parainfluenza): Basic core canine vaccine. This essential vaccine should be started at 6 to 8 weeks of age in puppies, then boostered every 3 weeks until 4 months of age. Annual boosters thereafter. Dogs over 3 years of age may be boostered every 3 years if they have been well vaccinated in the past.
- Bordetella vaccine: Intranasal vaccine to help protect against kennel cough. Optional vaccine highly recommended for dogs that will be in contact with other dogs (grooming, dog parks, boarding kennel, dog obedience training facility). This vaccine works best if given every 6 months.
- Rattlesnake vaccine: This is a new vaccine and good studies proving its effectiveness are lacking. It may decrease the complications from snakebite and “buy time”, but snakebite remains an emergency and your pet should still receive antivenin treatment as quickly as possible. Two vaccinations are necessary 3 to 4 weeks apart, then annually.
- Leptospirosis vaccine: Leptospirosis is an emerging and potentially fatal disease that can be transmitted to dogs mostly by contact with wildlife, rodents and stagnant water. The “lepto” bacterium may also be transmitted to humans. The disease is of low incidence in Arizona at this time, but is becoming more common in the Eastern and Mid-Western states. A vaccine exists and protects for up to 1 year against the 4 more common strains of the bacteria. Dogs at risk of contracting the disease should be vaccinated annually.
- Porphyromonas vaccine: New vaccine intended as an aid in prevention and control of periodontal (teeth) disease in dogs. We await more and better studies before we recommend this vaccine.
- Lyme vaccine: Lyme disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi) is transmitted by ticks mainly on the East Coast of the United States. Annual vaccine is recommended if your pet will travel to areas where the disease represents a significant risk.
- Corona virus vaccine: Not recommended.
- Giardia vaccine: Not recommended.
In addition to vaccinations, preventative medication for heartworm disease is VERY important. Dogs over 6 months of age must be blood tested before they can start this medication, which is given once a month.
Deworming for puppies and an annual fecal check for older dogs is very important to control intestinal parasites many of which can infest and cause serious problems in humans, particularly in children.