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Puppy Vaccine Schedule and Recommendations


Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting life event! It’s so much fun to give them their first bath and buy their first toys, but we also want to make sure we keep them on schedule with all their health needs. It is so important to keep your new puppy up to date on their vaccinations to ensure they do not acquire any preventable diseases, such as parvovirus, distemper virus, kennel cough or rabies. Our veterinary team will help make the best vaccination schedule and recommendations for other preventative care to protect your new puppy based on individual needs and lifestyle. 

Puppies should begin their distemper-parvo (DAPP) vaccine series at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. It is recommended that vaccines are boostered every 3 to 4 weeks until your puppy is over 16 weeks of age or older. The rabies vaccination can be given as early as 12 weeks of age, but depending on your dog’s vaccination schedule, it can be recommended to wait until they are a bit older. If someone tells you a puppy is younger than 16 weeks and is “fully” vaccinated, that is not true! Always ask a vet to help make sure your pet is appropriately vaccinated, especially before you start to socialize them. It is the best method to keep your pet healthy!

We recommend isolating puppies for two weeks after their final distemper-parvo booster before taking them out in public or enrolling in puppy classes. We also recommend avoiding dog parks, grooming, pet stores or areas where there is a high chance of exposure to un-vaccinated dogs. If your pet does need to go out in public, we recommend keeping them off the ground as much as possible to minimize their risk of exposure. We know this sounds like a lot of work, but it’s very important to give our puppies time to build an immunity to preventable diseases. We want them to live long and healthy lives and this starts with proper vaccinations.

Your Exceptional Pets Veterinary Team may have different vaccine protocols and recommendations depending on your puppy’s breed, age, environment and exposure risks. For example, if you are planning on your puppy keeping you company on various camping trips, adventures to dog parks and grooming appointments, your veterinarian may recommend vaccinating your puppy for Bordetella, canine influenza, or leptospirosis. We typically recommend spacing out vaccinations — so your puppy is not getting too many new injections at the same time. Our veterinarians are always happy to discuss options about your puppy and their specific needs. Let us know what plans you have for your puppy’s future and we’ll help you make the best health plan to compliment it.

At Exceptional Pets, we also recommend testing for intestinal parasites at the first visit to make sure your puppy does not have any worms or microscopic organisms in their stool.  (We know – gross!) Some of these parasites may infect people or other pets in the home, which is why we consider it an important step. Additionally, we recommend monthly heartworm and parasite prevention. This includes flea and tick, as well as intestinal parasite medication. All of these preventative medications will help your pet stay protected as they grow.

We know getting a puppy is so much fun and we want to be part of it. We love helping puppies grow into strong, healthy adult dogs who get to live their fullest lives. If you have questions, give us a call or request an appointment online. We’re here to help you make the best decisions for your four-legged family member!

By Dr. Katie Chiles, DVM.

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