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Best Vaccination Schedule for Dogs

3 min read Jan 07, 2022

Is your dog up-to-date on his or her vaccines? As a pet owner, it’s important to monitor your dog’s vaccine schedule.  Dogs get most of their vaccines as puppies, but require boosters throughout their life.  So, remember to check if he or she needs any boosters.  Speak with your vet about the best vaccination schedule for your dog.

Here’s more information about what most dog experts recommend regarding your dog's vaccines. 

Why Are Dog Vaccines Important?

Vaccinations are an important step to helping your puppy grow up happy, healthy, and safe. The American Veterinary Medical Association explains that vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses, including diseases like rabies or distemper.1 When you vaccinate your dog, it can also help you avoid paying a lot of money to treat preventable diseases later in life. Many local or state ordinances also require household pets to be vaccinated.

What Vaccines Does My Dog Need?

Your vet is the best person to help you figure out which vaccines your dog should get. According to the ASPCA, core vaccines (vaccines that are essential) for dogs include:2

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk.  These can include things like3:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (often required for things like doggy daycare or group training classes)
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Leptospira bacteria

Best Vaccine Schedule for Dogs

Most puppies get their first dose of vaccines at the age of six to eight weeks.  The dogs then receive more doses every few weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. As an adult, your dog might get some vaccine boosters once a year, while others may only be needed every three years. The AKC recommends3 the following schedule for certain vaccines:

  • 6-8 weeks — Distemper, parvovirus; optional Bordetella
  • 10-12 weeks — DHPP (covers distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus); optional Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
  • 16-18 weeks — DHPP, rabies; optional Influenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
  • 12-16 months — DHPP, rabies; optional Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
  • Every 1-2 years — DHPP; optional Influenza, Leptospirosis, Coronavirus, Bordetella, Lyme disease
  • Every 1-3 years — rabies

This is just a recommended timeline, so ask your vet what’s best for your dog. Remember, in addition to vaccines, your dog also needs to take a heartworm preventive

How Much Do Dog Vaccines Cost?

The average cost of core vaccines is $75-100 per vaccine. Rabies vaccinations cost about $15-20. If you adopt, most animal shelters will give a dog any vaccines they need for free before you take your new pet home. You can also cut costs by adding wellness care to your pet insurance coverage. This could help cover some of the costs of necessary vaccines.4

Keeping Up with Your Dog’s Vaccination History

Keep track of when your dog receives what vaccine so you know when it’s time for a booster. When you adopt or purchase a puppy or adult dog, ask for a copy of the dog’s vaccination records. Having a copy of your dog’s records on hand will allow you to provide your vet with accurate information.  This is important for making the best decisions possible for your dog’s medical care.

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

Vaccinations, American Veterinary Medical Association

Vaccinations for Your Pet, ASPCA

Your Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations, American Kennel Club, September 2021

Dog and Puppy Vaccinations: Schedule and Costs, PetFinder