There’s nothing quite like bringing home your newest, littlest family member! A puppy is full of love, joy, excitement and needs. They need constant attention, a nutritional diet, patient training, safe toys, a comfy place to lay their noggin and a whole laundry list of vaccinations. We at Longwood Veterinary Center are here to help you decide what vaccines (sometimes referred to as “shots”) your puppy needs to keep them healthy.

When should a puppy start getting vaccinated?

There isn’t a vaccination schedule that fits every dog. Your puppy’s specific needs come into play, and that prevents a one-size-fits-all schedule for all puppies. Always discuss puppy vaccinations during your regularly scheduled appointments at LVC. With that in mind, this is the recommended vaccination schedule for your puppy’s first year:

  • Starting at 8 weeks of age – DHPP (Canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and parainfluenza) and bordetella vaccines. 
  • Approximately 12 weeks of age – DHPP, some puppies will receive their first leptospirosis vaccine.
  • At approximately 16 weeks your puppy will receive a Rabies vaccine, complete the DHPP series and either begin or receive the second of two injections in the leptospirosis series.
  • Between 18 and 22 weeks of age puppies will complete their Lyme and influenza series.
  • One year after the first rabies vaccine and their final puppy DHPP vaccine Rabies and DHPP are given. These vaccines are then valid for 3 years. Lyme, Leptospirosis, influenza, and bordetella vaccines may also be considered depending upon your pet’s lifestyle.

What diseases should I protect my puppy from?

The diseases these vaccines shield your little one from are dangerous but thankfully preventable. Various additional vaccines are optional for your puppy’s lifestyle. Here’s our list of common diseases that our recommended shots will help your pet avoid.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This highly infectious bacterium is the primary cause of kennel cough and causes fits of coughing. Occasionally, infection with Bordetella may cause pneumonia in very young puppies. If you plan to board your puppy, attend group training classes or use doggie daycare services, proof of this vaccination is often needed.

Canine Distemper

Distemper spreads through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water. It causes discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and paralysis. You might have heard the disease called “hard pad” because it causes footpads to thicken and harden.

Canine Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis is highly contagious and affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs and eyes. Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement and pain around the liver.


Leptospirosis can be spread from animals to people. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility and kidney failure (with or without liver failure).

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease. An infected dog often starts limping, stops eating, their joints swell and they develop a fever. The disease can affect the heart, kidney, joints and lead to neurological disorders if left untreated.


Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months old are at the most risk. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea. It is often fatal in puppies.


Rabies is a viral disease that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. There is no treatment for rabies, the virus can be transmitted from affected animals to people and infections with the virus are universally fatal. 

Get your puppy’s vaccinations at Longwood Vet Center!

A good problem to have in this modern age is that there are so many vaccinations available for pet owners. If you’d like to read more about specific vaccinations for specific lifestyles, check out this previous blog post. As always, when considering your pet’s health, don’t hesitate in making an appointment or calling us at (610) 388-3388.