What vaccinations does my puppy need? By Dr. Jeannine Berger

Vaccinations and socialization are both immunizations

Locking your puppy up until it has all its shots (4 month of age) is yesterday’s news. It is well known by now and research supports that fact that puppies need to be exposed in a positive way to as many stimuli as possible to succeed later in life. Behavior reasons are still the number one reason for animal being surrendered to shelters. Hence, exposing your puppy as early as possible to real-life situations is “immunization” against behavior problems.

Keep your puppy safe while still socializing

Keep your puppy safe from infectious diseases while providing the most socialization

possible through:

    1. Controlled exposure

    2. Prevention in the form of vaccination and deworming

Choose safe exposure for your puppy

Exposure can be controlled by choosing the environment in which the puppy will be

socialized. It has been shown that puppy classes do not pose an increased infection risk to puppies. We suggest finding monitored force-free puppy socials in your area. If you can’t find one, you can invite a vaccinated dog friend over, who you know to be friendly with puppies. This dog can act as a dog mentor for your pup. It is wise to avoid high risk areas where potentially unvaccinated dogs mingle, like dog parks, beaches and busy city sidewalks.

Canine Core Vaccinations are important

Core vaccines are the basic vaccinations recommended for puppies (or dogs) with

known or unknown vaccination history. These include common diseases with a high risk of infection that can lead to either severe sickness or possibly death. The most common core vaccinations address the following diseases:


Distemper (CDV)

Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2/hepatitis)

Parvovirus (CPV)

Parainfluenza (CPiV)

Bordetella bronchiseptica


The first four are often grouped into one injection and abbreviated with the letters

(DA2PP or DHPP). The last two are pathogens for a disease process often referred to

as “kennel cough”. Kennel cough is an upper respiratory disease that is commonly

transmitted when multiple dogs either play or are house together; hence an important

part of vaccinations for all puppies going to puppy socials.

Vaccinations can start as early as 4 weeks old, and will continue as the dog ages

All healthy puppies should be vaccinated for those core vaccines starting as early as 4

weeks of age; however, unless the puppy comes from a shelter, puppies most commonly are vaccinated somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks of age. A puppy should

receive a physical exam from a veterinarian and will then receive an injection with the vaccines under the skin (SQ).

Parvovirus, Distemper and Adenovirus vaccinations

For canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV) a vaccine containing modified live virus (MLV) will be administered every 2 to 4 weeks

with the final booster being given no sooner than 16 weeks of age. After injection at one year, re-vaccination is recommended every 3 years thereafter, with a product approved for 3-year administration.

For dogs older than 16 weeks of age, two doses of vaccine CPV, CDV, and CAV-2

should be given 3-4 weeks apart. After a booster at one year, re-vaccination is

recommended every 3 years, ideally using a product approved for 3-year administration.

Bordetella and Rabies vaccinations

Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccination can be given administered injectable or intranasal and does not have to be repeated for 6 to 12 months. Often intranasal vaccination is preferred due to the demonstrated faster onset of immunity (3-5 days) in addition to the potential benefits of local IgA.

Vaccinating against Rabies Virus (RV) is required by the state law. One vaccination is

given at 16 weeks of age and repeated after one or three years depending on the

product used.

An other vaccine that is available and could be recommended by your Veterinarian, but is not considered “core”, because it will depend on the individual exposure and

preference of the owner is Canine Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is found in dogs in areas with exposure to livestock and/or wild mammals. Vaccination for this disease might be considered because the disease can cause severe illness and/or death and also can be potentially transmitted to humans, The initial vaccination protocol includes an initial vaccine after 12 weeks of age followed by a booster vaccine 2-4 weeks later. Thereafter yearly vaccinations are needed.

What does my puppy need before I can go to class?

Your puppy can start Wagfield training the moment you bring your pup home, before

any vaccinations. You can start on Puppy 101 today. For in-person classes, a clean bill

of health from your veterinarian, at least one vaccination (DA2PP or DHPP) and one

deworming is required. The puppy must be kept up-to-date on vaccines and deworming

throughout the class.

When can my puppy go to class?

Your puppy is ready to start learning right away, and you can start with Wagfield’s The

Basics, our free starter class. If you are going to an in-person class, you will need a

minimum of 10 days after first vaccination (DA2PP or DHPP), always check with the

training facility first.

When can my puppy walk on the ground outside of my home?

When it has had at least two vaccinations (DA2PP or DHPP) starting at 6-7 weeks of


For more detail check the UCD website for canine vaccination guidelines and keep in

mind that these are just guidelines and each individual case needs to be discussed with

your veterinarian to provide the best protection.