« Back to Puppies

8–11 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

How to Get Your Puppy Used to a Crate :: A Guide to Your Puppy's First Round of Vaccines :: Five Steps for Housetraining Your Puppy in (Almost) a Week :: How to Review Your Puppy's Diet for Optimal Health

A Guide to Your Puppy's First Round of Vaccines

One the most imperative and confusing responsibilities in caring for your puppy is making sure he gets the right vaccines at the right time. There is controversy nowadays about whether or not adult dogs need every vaccine every year (except for Rabies which is required). But with puppies, getting their rounds of vaccines is crucial.

For instance, if a puppy catches Parvo, he has less than a 20% chance of recovery. So, put your pup's vaccine dates on your schedule and send yourself reminders.

This tip has a list of necessary vaccines for the first round and further tips will cover the next two rounds. Vets and local laws differ a bit about exactly what to give when so use these tips as guidelines and follow your vet's advice. The vaccines to give at this age are 1. Distemper 2. Parvo 3. Corona and 4. Bordatella.

There are rarely side effects to vaccines but there are a few serious ones that you should be on the outlook for.

  1. Swelling of face, neck, head or body.

  2. Loss of consciousness.

  3. Seizures.

  4. Hives, or large swellings anywhere on the body.

  5. Difficulty breathing.

  6. Disorientation or poor co-ordination.

It is important to keep your puppy from any situation with multiple dogs or unknown dogs until he's had his third round of boosters. At the least, keep him away from other canines for five days after his vaccines, as it takes that long for them to start working. Ignoring this rule could expose your puppy to something like the aforementioned Parvo and have deadly consequences.

While it's tough to make all those vet appointments with a new puppy, just think of it as insurance against illness and assurance of a healthy puppy.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

When Puppies Should Get Their First Vaccines

First vaccines are usually given between 6 and 8 weeks for Parvo/ Distemper/ Parainfluenza, etc. Hopefully the mom was up to date prior to giving birth, as her immunity should help cover the pups up to this point, but be very careful, as they are very susceptible to Parvo!

Some people think the vaccines they can mail order or buy at farm supply stores are good, but it is not worth it! Take the pups to the vet, the vaccines they use are superior to the others, have been shipped and stored at the right temperature to ensure efficacy, and if the pup were to have an immediate reaction, they can help, as opposed to dying at home before you can get help for it. Doing them at home is just plain dangerous! Plus, the doc will do a physical exam to check them out, and be certain they are healthy with no congenital birth defects.

~Kim K., owner of Rottweiler


Buying Vaccines

My vet said that buying vaccines gets you the same kind as the vet's. (Just cheaper, without the clinic fee.) I've been doing that for 10 years. It's safe, just don't buy them from a run-down pet store. Buy them from a well-run farm store that has a vet clinic too.

~Missy M., owner of a Golden mix


Don't Do It Yourself

Do not go out and buy vaccines and do the vaccinations yourself. Not only is it dangerous, they aren't considered "official" under county laws. If your dog bites someone, you won't have proof that it's vaccinated and your dog will still end up in the shelter under rabies watch. It's not worth it. Just pay to take your dog to the vet.

~Autumn P.

Add Your Own Advice 


Comment headline
Your comment
Submitted by
Owner of