Ensuring your puppy's good health is essential, especially during its first year of life, which is a vulnerable period for the young dog. Puppy vaccinations have proven to be a safe and effective way to safeguard your pup's health. Our vets in O’Fallon discuss why puppy vaccinations are necessary and when to schedule them.

The Importance of Puppy Vaccinations

Vaccinations play a crucial role in preventive healthcare for puppies. They work by triggering the immune system to create defensive antibodies against harmful diseases, granting immunity without your cute little fur baby having to endure the actual illness.

Puppies are especially susceptible to infections during this phase of their lives because their immune systems are still developing. Therefore, vaccinations are an indispensable aspect of their early care.

Core & Lifestyle Vaccines for Puppies

Our veterinarians at O’Fallon recommend puppy vaccines against rabies, parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, canine parainfluenza, and Bordetella. Although the vaccine schedule may vary, your veterinarian will likely recommend the same vaccinations.

  • Rabies, a highly serious and fatal virus, affects the nervous system and can be transmitted to humans, making it a zoonotic disease. Most regions legally mandate rabies vaccination.
  • Parvovirus causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. It's especially dangerous for young puppies as well as elderly and immunocompromised dogs.
  • Distemper is a highly contagious virus that affects a puppy's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Distemper can be fatal, making its prevention crucial.
  • Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis) can cause liver damage, respiratory issues, and even death. Vaccination helps protect against its effects.
  • Canine Parainfluenza is one component of the kennel cough complex. This virus causes coughing and respiratory distress in our canine companions. It's an important vaccination for social puppies in close contact with other dogs.
  • Bordetella, another highly contagious respiratory infection, leads to kennel cough and is encountered in social or group settings.

Every puppy is unique, and its vaccination needs can vary based on factors such as breed, location, and health history. Your veterinarian is your best source of guidance for tailoring a vaccination schedule to meet your puppy's specific needs.

What shots do puppies need & when?

Taking your puppy to the vet for its first examination is important. The vet can then determine the best deworming and vaccination schedule for your furry family member.

However, if you want to know more about typical vaccination schedules for puppies and adult dogs, you can click on this link provided by Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital to learn about puppy shots and booster vaccines for adult dogs.

Following the recommended vaccination schedule chart for puppies ensures your beloved pet has the best chance at a long and healthy life.

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

6 - 8 Weeks

  • *DHPP Shot 1
  • Bordatella
  • Leptospira
  • Lyme
  • Influenza Virus-H3N8
  • Influenza Virus-H3N2

10 - 12 Weeks

  • Influenza Virus-H3N8
  • Influenza Virus-H3N2
  • DHPP Shot 2
  • Leptospira
  • Lyme
  • Rabies

14 - 16 Weeks

  • DHPP Shot 3

Adult Dog Vaccine Schedule


  • Bordetella
  • Leptospira
  • Lyme
  • Rabies
  • Influenza Virus-H3N8
  • Influenza Virus-H3N2

Every 3 Years

  • DHPP Booster
  • Rabies

*DHPP: This vaccine protects against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.

Age Restrictions

Speak to your vet to learn which vaccines are appropriate for your dog. Very young puppies and senior dogs with compromised immune systems are not eligible for all shots.

Side Effects from Puppy Vaccinations

Dog vaccines are generally considered safe; most dogs do not experience side effects and those that do tend to have very mild reactions. However, in rare cases, some dogs may have an allergic reaction to getting their shots.

Sensitivity to a specific ingredient in a particular vaccine usually causes these reactions. Certain breeds, such as German shepherds, collies, and sheepdogs, are known to be sensitive to certain vaccines.

Your veterinarian will avoid giving any vaccines containing ingredients your dog may be sensitive to.

Note: This is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical pet advice. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Is it time for your puppy to get their shots? Contact our O’Fallon vets to book a vaccination appointment for your new fur baby today.