Vaccination in Dogs: What It Entails
March 12, 2022

Dog vaccines are medications designed to protect your dog from killer pathogens. These killer pathogens are viruses and bacteria that cause severe illnesses in dogs. These diseases lead to death most of the time. It’s why vaccination is the most suitable mode of preventing them.

It is the responsibility of veterinarians to sensitize dog owners on the benefit of getting their puppies vaccinated early. Workshops and interactive sessions can further enlighten people on the importance of dog vaccination.

But then, what is a vaccine? A vaccine is a preparation of an antigen–a foreign body, which could be a weakened microorganism–that is inoculated into an animal to prepare that animal to successfully fight off similar pathogens in the future.

So, canine vaccines prepare their bodies and immune system to defend the body against killer pathogens, should they encounter them in the future. These killer pathogens include:

Canine Distemper Virus

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Hepatitis Virus

Rabies virus

Leptospira sp.

Bordetella sp.

All these pathogens have vaccines prepared from them to stop their spread. It must be noted that vaccination is a preventive measure; vaccines cannot be administered to sick dogs.

Vaccinations can be grouped into two; core and non-essential vaccinations. The core vaccines are against Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Hepatitis Virus, and Rabies. They are considered of significant global importance to both dogs and humans.

The non-essential vaccines are against other killer pathogens like Canine Influenza Virus and Leptospira sp. They are also important, especially for dogs who have a high risk of being exposed to them.

W hen should vaccination start?

I n puppies, it should start at about six weeks. Then, they take vaccine shots every three weeks till the final round, when they are about four months old. Booster shots of vaccines for rabies and DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) are administered once every year after the first vaccinations.

The schedule for a puppy is as follows:

6 to 8 weeks: Distemper and Parvovirus vaccines.

10 to 12 weeks: DHPP and Leptospira vaccines.

12 to 16 weeks: DHPP and rabies vaccines.

Depending on the veterinarian’s advice, Bordetella and Lyme’s disease vaccines can be administered along with the first or second shots.

Once the dog is about a year old, the veterinarian shifts the schedule to that of an adult dog. The adults’ schedule goes thus:

12 to 16 months: DHPP and rabies.

1 to 3 years after: DHPP and rabies, or as required by the law.

The adult dog takes booster shots after the shot taken at one year old. These booster shots are dependent on the lifestyle of the dog and the prevalent laws.

Like human vaccines, there could be side effects associated with taking the vaccine. These side effects could range from mild to severe. Some of the mild effects include:

Swelling at the area of injection


Loss of appetite

Some of the severe effects include:




Difficult breathing


The importance of vaccination in dogs can’t be over-emphasized. Unvaccinated dogs are very susceptible to these killer pathogens stated above, and the survival rates are low.