Puppy Vaccines

My puppy was vaccinated at 6 weeks. I was told I didn’t have to have them vaccinated again. Is this so?

Any vaccines that are given to a puppy before 7 weeks are considered a temporary vaccine, as the puppy may still be nursing, which means that the antibodies in the mother’s milk may not make the vaccine as effective.  It is for this reason that your puppy still needs vaccinations.  

What am I vaccinating my puppy for?

Canine Distemper– This disease can be fatal for a young puppy or an unvaccinated adult dog.  This virus is highly contagious and can affect your puppies respiratory, GI and central nervous systems.  Some of the symptoms include sneezing, coughing,  discharge from nose and eyes, lethargy and loss of appetite.  

Adenovirus- This is another virus that can cause Canine Infectious Hepatitis.  It can affect the liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes. It causes symptoms such as jaundice, weight loss, pale gums and abdominal pain.  

Parvovirus– This is a serious virus that attacks the gastro intestinal system, as well as the puppy’s bone marrow, causing their immune system to be susceptible to other diseases.  The potentially fatal symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite and severe dehydration.  

Leptospirosis- This is a bacterial infection that can be caught through contaminated water areas. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, stiffness, vomiting and diarrhea.  Puppies who live in rural areas or visit forested areas/ponds should be vaccinated. This disease is also transmissible to humans.

Rabies– This fatal virus can be transmitted to your puppy through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. This includes infected saliva/blood that comes in contact with your pet’s wounds.   It can even be transmitted to humans.  The rabies vaccine is required by law. Some of the symptoms include foaming at the mouth, incoordination, loss of appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death. 

What other vaccines should I consider for my puppy?

Bordetella (kennel cough) – If your puppy will be boarded, groomed or make visits to the dog park, you might consider the Bordetella vaccine to prevent your puppy from developing symptoms like persistent cough, retching, loss of appetite and lethargy. Bordetella can also be a zoonotic disease (transmissible to humans).

Lyme- This disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted to the dog through a bite from an infected tick (blacklegged tick/deer tick).  Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes and stiffness. With the increasing number of Lyme positive ticks in the area, it is suggested to have your puppy vaccinated. 

Influenza- Canine influenza is basically the canine flu.  It is not new, but has made its way from Asia to Canada. The flu can be spread from nose to nose contact with infected animals and using common dishes.  Humans can transmit the virus by touching infected animals to other canines.  Symptoms include cough, fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.  You may wish to have this vaccine done, especially if your dog is travelling to dog shows.

My puppy seems quiet, not wanting to eat after getting their vaccines.  Should I be concerned?

It is common for your puppy to feel sleepy and not very interested in eating for 12-24 hours after getting their vaccine. This is because they may be running a slight fever after their shots (just like human kids). As a result, they may feel tired out.

 If your puppy is having a hard time breathing, has swelling at the injection site or is experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, This should be reported to the clinic right away.  

When do I vaccinate my puppy?

8 weeks – Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus (DAP)

12 weeks – 2nd DAP, 1st Leptospirosis Vaccine

16 weeks – 3rd DAP, 2nd Leptospirosis Vaccine, Rabies (1 year)


As adults:

Year one – DAP (1 year) / Leptospirosis / rabies (3 year)

Year two – DAP (3 year) / Leptospirosis

Year three – Leptospirosis


The vaccines for subsequent years will depend on which vaccine is expiring in that particular year.


Optional vaccines (i.e. ones given depending on the risk factors for your dog) include:

  • Lyme disease – 2 boosters the first year, then yearly thereafter
  • Influenza – 2 boosters the first year, then yearly thereafter
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough) – 1 booster first year, then yearly thereafter

**Please remember that your puppy still needs to have yearly vaccines**