What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly?

A comprehensive guide on what shots do dogs need yearly and how to keep them healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.

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As a dog parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your pup is healthy and happy. Part of that is making sure they stay up-to-date on their shots.

But which shots does your dog need and how often should they get them? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a rundown of the most important shots for dogs and how often they need them.

Core Vaccines for Dogs

There are a variety of vaccines available for dogs, and the ones your dog needs depends on many factors including his age, lifestyle, health status, and geographic location. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommend that all dogs receive a core set of vaccinations, which protect against the most common and most serious diseases.

These core vaccines include:
-Rabies: A deadly virus that affects the nervous system. All dogs should be vaccinated against rabies.
-Canine distemper: A highly contagious virus that affects many body systems including the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
-Canine parvovirus: A highly contagious virus that primarily affects puppies but can be deadly to all dogs.
-Adenovirus type 2: Causes infectious hepatitis in dogs. Adenovirus type 2 is included in some combination vaccines. Dogs at risk for exposure to infectious hepatitis should be vaccinated against adenoviruses type 1 and 2.

In addition to the core vaccines, there are a number of non-core or elective vaccines available for dogs. These are recommended based on your dog’s lifestyle and risk of exposure to certain diseases. Your veterinarian can help you determine which non-core vaccines are right for your dog.

Non-core Vaccines for Dogs

There are certain vaccines that all dogs should get, known as “core” vaccines. However, depending on your dog’s lifestyle and risk factors, your veterinarian may recommend additional, or “non-core,” vaccines. Here is a list of some of the most common non-core vaccines for dogs:

Bordetella (kennel cough): If your dog socializes with other dogs or goes to doggy daycare, this vaccine is recommended to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as Bordetella (otherwise known as kennel cough).

Lyme disease: If you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent (check with your vet or local health department to find out), this vaccine can help protect your dog from the disease, which is transmitted by ticks.

Leptospirosis: This vaccine is recommended for dogs who live in or frequently visit areas where the disease is common. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can infect both animals and humans, causing serious illness in both.

Canine influenza: Canine influenza is a relatively new disease that affects dogs and can be devastating. The best way to protect your dog is through vaccination.

Depending on your dog’s risk factors, your vet may also recommend other non-core vaccines, such as those for adenovirus or giardia. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines are right for your dog.

Vaccination Schedule for Dogs

Vaccination is an important part of preventative health care for dogs. Puppies should start their vaccinations at around 6-8 weeks of age and continue them every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After that, most dogs will need a booster vaccination once a year. Some vaccines are given in a series of shots, while others are given as a single shot.

The specific vaccinations your dog needs will depend on their age, health, lifestyle, and geographic location. Your veterinarian can help you create a custom vaccination schedule for your dog based on their individual needs.

Risks and Side Effects of Vaccines

Vaccines are an important part of keeping your dog healthy, but like any medical procedure, they come with some risks and side effects. It’s important to talk to your vet about the potential risks and side effects of any vaccine before you have your dog vaccinated.

Risks and side effects of vaccines can include:

-Anaphylactic reactions (rare)
-Allergic reactions
-Swelling at the injection site
-Sensitivity to light
-Muscle pain or stiffness
-Joint pain or stiffness (more common in older dogs)

How to Minimize Risks and Side Effects

When you first get your dog, they will need a few shots. Typically, they will need a distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza shot. After that, they will only need a booster shot every year for the rest of their life. These are the core vaccines that all dogs should have.

There are other vaccines available depending on your dog’s risk factor. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors or if they go to the groomer often, they may need to be vaccinated for Bordetella. Lyme disease is also a concern for dogs who spend time outdoors in areas with a lot of ticks. Your veterinarian can help you determine if your dog needs any of these additional vaccines.

There are always risks and side effects associated with vaccinations. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Sometimes dogs will also run a low-grade fever for a day or two after getting vaccinated. The risks associated with vaccinations are usually minor, but in rare cases, more serious reactions can occur. If you notice any adverse reaction in your dog after they have been vaccinated, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.

When to Delay or Avoid Vaccination

There are certain health conditions that may call for delaying or avoiding certain vaccinations. If your dog is pregnant, for example, you’ll want to wait to vaccinate until after she’s given birth and finished nursing her puppies. The same goes for puppies who are too young to be vaccinated; their immune systems aren’t mature enough yet to handle the vaccines. Immunosuppressive drugs can also interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, so if your dog is taking one of these medications, you may need to forgo vaccinations or take special precautions.


As you can see, there are a variety of shots that your dog may need throughout its lifetime. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccinations are necessary for your pet based on their age, lifestyle, health status, and risk of exposure to disease.


When it comes to taking care of your furry friend, one of the most important things you can do is make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Depending on your dog’s age, health, and lifestyle, they will need different types and frequency of shots. Below is a list of the most common types of shots dogs need and how often they should receive them.

Puppies need a series of shots starting at around 6-8 weeks old until they are around 16 weeks old. After that, they will need boosters every year or every few years depending on the vaccine. Common puppy vaccines include:

-Rabies: A virus that affects the nervous system and is fatal to dogs. All dogs over the age of 4 months should be vaccinated for rabies and boosters should be given every 1-3 years depending on state law.

-DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus): A combination vaccine that protects against four different diseases – three viruses (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza) and one bacterial disease (parvovirus). Puppies should start receiving this vaccine at 6-8 weeks old with boosters given every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old. After that, DHPP boosters should be given every year or every 3 years depending on the vaccine.

Adult dogs should also be vaccinated for rabies and DHPP as needed based on their age, health, and lifestyle. In addition, adult dogs may also need booster vaccines for other diseases such as:

-Lyme disease: A bacterial infection spread by ticks that can cause fever, lameness, joint pain, and kidney disease in dogs. Dogs who live in areas where Lyme disease is prevalent or who go outside in wooded areas are at greatest risk and should be vaccinated annually.

-Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection that can infect a dog’s kidneys and liver leading to severe illness or death. Dogs who go outside or live in areas where leptospirosis is prevalent are at greatest risk and should be vaccinated every year or every few years as recommended by a veterinarian.

About the Author

I am a highly experienced animal lover, with a wide range of experience in pet care. I have had pets my entire life and have been through many challenges with them- from health scares to behavioral problems. I have also done extensive research on animal care, and have written about various topics related to animal welfare.

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