Guide to Puppy Vaccinations

Guide to Puppy Vaccinations

Health & Safety

Welcoming a new puppy into your family is an exciting time, but it's also full of responsibility. It might feel overwhelming with so much new information to learn and understand. So, let's start with puppy vaccinations. Why are they important, and when should they be given?

Why should I vaccinate my puppy?

Vaccinations are important for pets, just as they are for people. They help control some diseases that were once common, as well as protect your dog against diseases that could make them very unwell. Keeping your puppy safe and healthy is the most important thing for pet owners. Getting your puppy vaccinated and vet-checked will help to ensure they stay fit and well to enjoy their new life with you and your family.

What diseases do puppy vaccinations protect against?

Puppy vaccinations provide immunity against the following diseases:

  • Distemper

Canine Distemper Virus causes various symptoms, including conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhoea, and even seizures. It used to be very common, but thankfully, vaccines have brought it under control.

  • Hepatitis

Canine Adenovirus 1 and 2 are a pair of viruses that lead to infectious hepatitis in dogs. As well as the liver, they target other major organs, including the kidneys, lungs, and heart. Dogs with hepatitis might show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, increased thirst, fever, and jaundiced (yellow) gums and skin.

  • Parvovirus

Sadly, Parvovirus infections are widespread among unvaccinated dogs since the virus spreads very easily. The virus causes foul-smelling diarrhoea and vomiting, and the diarrhoea will often contain blood. Dogs who are infected often become dehydrated and deteriorate quickly. 

  • Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is similar to Weil's Disease in humans. It is caused by bacteria found in rats' urine and contaminated water like ponds and rivers. Leptospirosis can cause liver and kidney failure and even pass to humans, making vaccination even more important. There are now four strains of Leptospirosis in the UK, so puppy vaccines have been updated to provide full coverage.

Additional vaccines

As well as the diseases above, some brands of puppy vaccine will also protect against Parainfluenza, one of the viruses that cause Kennel Cough in dogs. If you want more comprehensive protection against Kennel Cough, ask your veterinarian about the Kennel Cough intranasal vaccine, which also protects against a bacteria called Bordatella bronchiseptica.

When should my puppy receive their vaccinations?

Puppies need two doses of their vaccinations. The first should be given between 6 and 8 weeks of age, and the second 4 weeks later. It's important to remember that your puppy is not fully protected until one week after the second vaccination is given.


Dr Hannah Godfrey BVetMed MRCVS



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