Essential Shots for a New Puppy

Part of being a responsible pet owner is looking after the health and well-being of your new puppy. Getting your puppy vaccinated is one of those things that all responsible pet owners should do, but sadly is often neglected and can lead to the sickness or loss of your new puppy.

When a puppy is born, he gets antibodies from his mother's milk to help keep him strong and healthy. But, at around 5 to 8 weeks of age, these antibodies begin to wear off and, if your pet is not vaccinated, he is left vulnerable to a host of diseases and illnesses.

One of the essential vaccines that your puppy should have is called a DHLPP vaccine. This is a combination vaccine for five different diseases: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. The vaccine is given as a series of 3 shots at 6 to 8 weeks, 9 to 11 weeks and 12 to 14 weeks.


Distemper is a highly contagious viral illness that often attacks the nervous system of dogs and can lead to serious impairments and even death. Symptoms include discharge from the nose and eyes, cough, vomiting and diarrhea, and seizures. One reason that vaccination for this disease is that there is no specific treatment for distemper other that treatment of symptoms.


Hepatitis is another highly contagious viral disease that affects the liver. It is transmitted through the saliva, urine, and feces of infected animals. The symptoms of canine hepatitis are similar to distemper. This disease can cause death and the only treatment is to treat the symptoms.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness that affects the urinary tract, liver and kidneys. Infection is mainly transmitted through contact with contaminated urine. Loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, fever, thirst, jaundice and dehydration may be present. The disease is treated with antibiotics.


Parainfluenza, a highly contagious viral canine illness, affects the respiratory system. The virus is transmitted through the air by contact with infected droplets from coughing or sneezing. The main symptoms are cough, runny, nose and fever. The main treatment is supportive care.


Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that infects the digestive system, the immune system, and the bone marrow. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydratin, and death. Treatment is aimed at minimizing dehydration and medicating the symptoms. The disease has a high death rate.


Another essential vaccine which is given at 16 weeks of age is the rabies vaccine. Rabies is a viral illness that is mainly transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is a neurological illness that has symptoms that are mainly behavioral in nature. There is no treatment and the disease is always fatal.

Corona virus is a highly contagious viral disease that is most often transmitted through feces. The symptoms are lethargy, diarrhea, dehydration and appetite loss. The vaccine is given in a series of three shots along with the DHLPP vaccine.

Your puppy may need additional vaccine according to the recommendation of your vet. But these basic vaccines can help to ensure that your puppy leads the longest, happiest life possible.