Dog vaccine schedule

When vaccinating a dog, the tutor seeks to prevent his dogs’ illness. But when should you start vaccinating the dog? To answer that question, this blog article will talk about core vaccines for dogs and the schedule to start vaccinating your dog correctly.

Dog vaccine schedule

The recommendation is for initial basic vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age and booster vaccination thereafter every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Thus, becoming a revaccination (booster) at either 6 months or one year of age, then not more often than every 3 years. Except for the rabies vaccine, which must be applied in a single dose after 12 weeks of life and the booster must be annual depending on the country.

For adults two doses 2-4 weeks apart are recommended with a booster in one year, then not more often than every 3 years. For rabies a single dose must be applied, and the booster must be annual depending on the country.

Canine Vaccination Guideline
VaccineInitial Puppy VaccinationInitial Adult VaccinationRevaccination Recommendation
·      Canine distemper virus (CDV; MLV rCDV parenteral),·      Canine adenovirus (CPV-1; CPV-2;MLV, parenteral),·      Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2; MLV, parenteral)Administer at 6-8 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age.Two doses 2-4 weeks apart are recommended.Revaccination (booster) at either 6 months or one year of age, then not more often than every 3 years.
Rabies (Killed parenteral)Administer one dose at 12 weeks of age. If vaccination is performed earlier than 12 weeks of age, the puppy should be revaccinated at 12 weeks of age.Administer a single dose.Booster at 1year of age. Canine rabies vaccines with either a 1 or 3 year are available. Timing of boosters is determined by statute in some areas.

Vaccines are effective and safe. Side effects of the dog vaccine exist but are rare. The most frequent are fever, swelling in the region where it was applied and apathy. But any symptoms should be reported to the Veterinarian.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccination is important to keep your dog safe from disease. In general, vaccines are produced from attenuated bacteria or viruses. They have the function of inducing the body to produce antibodies that are responsible for defending the body in case of infection.

Are puppies born with antibodies?

In fact, puppies are born without antibodies, and receive maternal antibodies through colostrum. So, this colostrum is responsible for the antibodies of the puppy that will protect him during his first 12 weeks, if the mother’s antibodies are high. That’s why it’s important that the mother is vaccinated before breeding, as she can transfer high titers of antibodies to her puppies.

What do core vaccines prevent?

Vaccines can be considered as core and non-core. Core vaccines are those that protect against endemic diseases, those with potential public health importance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious and/or those that pose a risk of serious disease.

Dog Core vaccines are those that provide protection against infection with canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, rabies, canine parvovirus type 2 and their variants.

Main diseases to be prevented by vaccines:

  • Canine Distemper;
  • Canine Adenovirus;
  • Rabies;
  • Canine Parvovirus.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a canine viral infection that mainly affects the nervous system, the disease is transmitted by secretions such as urine and feces. Dogs with distemper may have several symptoms including apathy, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, eye and nasal secretions, seizures, loss of limb movement.

The chances of surviving distemper are very low, and the animals that survive are usually left with sequelae. Thus, it is an animal that needs more attention throughout its life.

Canine Adenovirus

Canine Adenovirus can be divided into two subtypes. Type 1 adenovirus causes liver damage and can lead to hepatitis, while type 2 adenovirus causes respiratory symptoms that can progress to pneumonia.

Canine adenovirus transmission occurs through contact with secretions from infected animals. And most common symptoms of adenovirus are fever, diarrhea with or without blood, weight loss. Treatment can be effective, but animals can die from opportunistic infections.


Rabies is a lethal viral infection that mainly affects the dogs nervous system. After presenting symptoms, dogs can die within 10 days. Rabies is transmitted mainly by saliva in the bites of dogs, cats and bats.

Rabies is a zoonosis, meaning it can be transmitted to humans. Therefore, the animal should always be vaccinated. And in case of a bite from abandoned dogs, humans should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is a viral disease whose main symptom is intense and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. Parvovirus mainly affects puppies and is transmitted orally.

Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, which leads to the animal’s death. Some animals may survive treatment while others may have complications from opportunistic infections that can lead to the death of the puppy.


In this blog post we were able to learn more about core vaccination of dogs, why they are important and which vaccination schedule should be followed. We could see that the vaccines are safe and effective and because they have low side effects all dogs should be vaccinated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): dog vaccine schedule 

What vaccines are required for dogs?

All core vaccines are required as parvovirus, distemper, canine adenovirus and rabies. Non-core vaccines (Leptospira sp. Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi) are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk.

Do dogs really need to be vaccinated?

Yes, Dogs should receive core vaccines (Parvovirus, Distemper, Canine adenovirus and Rabies) and may need others depending on their lifestyle.


What happens if my dog is not vaccinated?

If dogs aren’t vaccinated, they will be vulnerable to diseases such as rabies, canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus and others.


Day, M. J., Crawford, C., Marcondes, M., & Squires, R. A. (2020). Recommendations on vaccination for Latin American small animal practitioners: a report of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 61(6), E1-E35.