What Kinds of Puppy Shots are Important for my Puppy to Have?

Getting your puppy all of their shots and boosters can be a lot to deal with, especially if you are unsure of which shots your puppy really needs. Luckily, we have broken down which puppy shots are most important for your puppy to have. We will also be briefly going over some additional puppy shots that you may want to consider depending on your situation as well.

puppy shots

The two most important shots that your puppy should have include the rabies vaccine and the DAPP vaccine. Some vets may suggest that you get some additional ones as well, but the Rabies and DAPP vaccines are crucial and are considered to be ‘core’ vaccines.  

In this article we will be explaining what shots are important for your puppy to have. In addition, we will be going over some additional vaccines that you may want to consider getting for your puppy. We will also be explaining when your puppy should get their boosters for all of these shots as well. Let’s get right into it!

puppy shots

The Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine protects your dog against the rabies virus, and it is considered to be one of the core vaccines for dogs. This is an extremely important vaccine for your puppy to have because the rabies virus is always a fatal disease and is transmitted to people. Many businesses such as groomers and kennels will require that your dog has this vaccine before using their services as well for this reason.

The DAPP or DHPP Vaccine

The DAPP vaccine, or sometimes called the DHPP vaccine, is the second of the two core dog vaccines. This shot will protect your puppy against several potentially life-threatening diseases. These diseases include Distemper, Parvovirus, and Adenovirus. These diseases are transmitted from dog to dog. Like the rabies vaccine, many businesses working with dogs will require that your dog is up to date with their DAPP vaccine.

Other Vaccines You May Want to Consider

There are many other vaccines that are available to dogs in the United States. Although these are not necessarily considered to be essential vaccines, some people may want to consider getting these vaccines for their puppy. This is especially true if their puppy is going to be around a lot of other dogs or if there has been an outbreak of one of these diseases in your area. Here are some of the non-core vaccines that you may want to consider for your puppy.

The Bordetella Vaccine

The Bordetella vaccine protects dogs and puppies against kennel cough. You may want to consider this vaccine if you plan on having your puppy around lots of other dogs. Having your dog kenneled, sending them to doggy daycare, taking them to a dog groomer, and even just spending some time at the dog park could expose your dog to Bordetella. While it is generally not fatal, it will likely require a vet visit for medication.

The Leptospirosis Vaccine

The Leptospirosis vaccine protects your dog from getting a Leptospirosis infection. This disease is passed to dogs by coming into contact with infected water or urine of other animals. Creeks, ditches, or any standing water can be a source!! Leptospirosis is frequently fatal if not treated within the first few days, and it can be passed onto humans. It is a good idea to get your dog vaccinated for this disease because it is prevalent in our area. It can be passed on to humans, so it might be a good idea to get your dog this vaccine if this disease is prevalent in your area.

The Lyme Disease Vaccine

Lyme disease is passed onto dogs through ticks. Since we live in a tick endemic area, we advise ALL dogs who are not on a chewable flea and tick prevention every month year-round, be vaccinated.

The Canine Influenza Vaccine

The canine influenza vaccine protects your dog against the dog flu. There are two strains of the dog flu, and they are the H3N2 strain and the H3N8 strain. Our vaccine covers both strains. If your dog will be around other dogs of unknown vaccination status, (traveling to other doggy homes, boarding or doggy day care), we recommend this vaccine. 

How Often Will Your Puppy Need Booster Shots? What About When They Are an Adult Dog?

Your puppy will need a number of booster shots for their vaccines before they are fully protected against these diseases. Below we will explain when puppies can get each vaccine and how often they will need booster shots for them.


Puppies are usually eligible for their first rabies vaccine at around 14 to 16 weeks of age. Some locations may require that puppies get this vaccine earlier, but this is relatively rare. Once the dog is an adult, they will need to get a rabies booster shot about every three years, in the state of MD. 

The DAPP Vaccine

Puppies should get a DHPP vaccine every 3-4 weeks from ages 8 weeks through 16 weeks. The final vaccine will be protection for 1 year.

All Other Vaccines

As for the non-core vaccines, Bordetella and parainfluenza vaccines are available to puppies that are 6 to 8 weeks old and older. The next vaccines become available to puppies 10 to 12 weeks of age and older:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme
  • Canine Influenza

Your puppy will likely need one booster shot a couple of weeks after their first dose. Once your puppy becomes an adult dog, they will need a booster for these vaccines annually. Some areas recommend that adult dogs get a booster for the Bordetella vaccine every six months, but this is not required everywhere.

We Can Help When It Comes to Puppy Shots

It is crucial that you speak with your vet about what vaccines you should get for your dog. They will be able to recommend any non-core vaccines that could keep your dog healthy. A trusted vet will also be able to give you a more accurate plan for when your puppy should get their booster shots.

To schedule your puppy’s shots appointment, give our animal hospital in Callaway, MD, a call at (301) 994-9919