the best puppy vaccinations scheduleWhat Puppy Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need?

Before your puppy is old enough to get their annual vaccinations, they need to start with a puppy vaccinations schedule. Puppies, unlike adult dogs, also need to be dewormed to get rid of parasites usually passed to them through their mother.

Puppies need to start getting vaccinated at 6 weeks. Starting their vaccinations early allows for protection as quickly as possible, as the natural protection they gained from their mother wears off.

Puppies are far more vulnerable to diseases such as distemper and parvo. In fact, parvovirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in puppies, with fatality rates especially high in shelters.

Before your puppy is protected with at least 2 rounds of shots, keep them away from dogs you don’t know and areas where strange dogs have been. Parvovirus especially is a threat here, as it can last in the soil for 6 months to a year after being contaminated.

Puppy Vaccinations Schedule

Ideally, puppy vaccinations start at 8 weeks, with two rounds of boosters 4 weeks apart. Their final round of vaccinations contains the rabies vaccine at 16 weeks or 4 months.

6-8 weeks – DHPP, deworm, & Heartworm prevention 

10-12 weeks – DHPP, deworm, Bordetella, Leptospirosis & Heartworm prevention 

14-16 weeks – Rabies, DHPP, Lepto , deworm and Heartworm Prevention 

This puppy vaccinations schedule allows for the perfect amount of boosters for every vaccination, while making sure you’re not giving any vaccinations unnecessarily. After your puppy has completed these shots, they’re protected and will only need their annual adult vaccinations starting a year after puppy #3.

What Puppies Need to Be Protected

DHPP Vaccination

The most important vaccination for puppies is the DHPP vaccination. Your puppy needs to receive the DHPP vaccination at least twice but preferably 3 times to be considered protected.

Deworm & Heartworm Preventative

Along with certain core vaccinations, puppies also need to be dewormed and be on heartworm preventative. Puppies get parasites from their mother, either through their milk or even in utero. Those worms need to be treated with several doses to ensure that all the parasites are killed off.


Bordetella is an extremely contagious disease that causes flu or cold-like symptoms in dogs. It’s usually not deadly, but it can be a threat to vulnerable puppies.

The bordetella vaccination that we give does not need a booster, but we may recommend boostering if you received previous vaccinations from another veterinarian.


Leptospirosis or lepto is a deadly disease. It’s uncommon, but can easily kill puppies, especially if they’re in at-risk areas. This vaccination does need to be boostered a month after the first vaccination.


Puppies must be at least 3 months old to get a rabies vaccination, but we usually recommend giving it to them with their last round of puppy shots (since it doesn’t need to be boostered, and will finish off your puppy’s vaccinations).

Texas law requires puppies be vaccinated by 4 months of age.

Common Questions about Vaccinating Puppies

My puppy is over 2 months. Where should I start with their vaccinations?

If your puppy has already passed two months, then it’s best to figure out what vaccinations you need based off of your current situation and your puppy’s current age.

Most of the time, it’s fine to start with whichever round of puppy shots would normally be given at their age.

For example, if your puppy is 3 months, we can start with what we call their second round of vaccinations ( DHPP, deworm, Bordetella, Leptospirosis & Heartworm preventative). When they’re 4 months, they can get boosters and their rabies, then at 5 months they can get the last booster shot which would be a final DHPP vaccination.

If your puppy is 4 months, we can start with the last round of puppy vaccinations, then just work backwards to make sure your puppy gets the right booster shots.

If your puppy is over 4 months or somewhere in between, just remember that the priority is the DHPP vaccination and the Rabies vaccination – the first because it’s what puppies die from the most, and the second because it’s required by law.

If you have any questions about your specific situation, feel free to contact us! We’re happy to help you figure out what works best for you. 🙂

My puppy has already had some vaccinations, can I get the rest of their puppy shots with you?

Absolutely! If you can, bring us any paperwork you might have had with your previous vet so we can see where your puppy’s at. We can always tailor your puppy vaccinations schedule for your specific puppy & your unique situation.

Why do puppies need three rounds of booster vaccinations?

When puppies are first born, they have natural protection against diseases due to maternal antibodies. This means that if their mother was vaccinated or came into contact with certain diseases and she developed an immunity, her pups will be born with that immunity too.

However, there’s a problem. That natural immunity wears off. Not only that, but because of these maternal antibodies, any vaccinations given to the pup while they still have these maternal antibodies will be rendered ineffective.

That’s why we don’t start vaccinations right away – we’re waiting for those maternal antibodies to wear off.

Unfortunately, the speed at which these antibodies wears off varies from pup to pup. So we’re not exactly sure when your puppy is ready for vaccinations.

The ‘window of susceptibility’ is what we call the period between your puppy’s protection from maternal antibodies, and your puppy’s protection from vaccinations.

Maternal antibodies can wear off at any point from 2 – 4 months. With our puppy vaccinations schedule, we’re trying to make sure your puppy is never vulnerable – that’s our end goal.

I have more questions. Can I contact you about my puppy?

Absolutely! You can call us at 817-282-1000, email us at, or just shoot us a message on Facebook at

Have questions? Call us at 817-282-1000 or contact us here.

Protect your puppy this weekend at one of our vaccination clinics located across Dallas-Fort Worth! Check our schedule here.