Canine Vaccinations
  • Katie Taylor, MA, CVPM

Canine Vaccinations

Core Vaccines

Dogs in Southern California need two "Core" vaccines, DHPP and Rabies. Most dogs need Bordetella as well, which protects against kennel cough- a common contagious virus spread between dogs. 

The vaccine schedule for puppies can be complicated depending on your pet's age when they start their vaccines, and the lifestyle you plan for your puppy. Don't worry: our staff will write down the schedule for your pup, and you will receive reminders from us through PetDesk when these boosters are nearly due.



DHPP stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus, four very contagious and dangerous viruses affecting dogs. Your puppy will need to start this vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and it will need to be boosted every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 to 18 weeks old. The final booster given at 16 to 18 weeks lasts for one year, and then your adult dog will have DHPP boosted every 3 years. 

the Rabies vaccine is given at 4 months of age, and again one year later. It is a required by local and state law. Rabies is always fatal if contracted. Adult dogs receive a Rabies booster every 3 years after their first vaccine.

Bordetella, or the Kennel Cough vaccine, should be given to all dogs that will socialize with other dogs. If your pet will meet doggie friends on neighborhood walks, dog parks, boarding facilities and groomers, they will need this vaccine. We begin this vaccine at 16 weeks of age, and it will need to be boosted annually. 

Lifestyle Vaccines

There are many other vaccines available for dogs that are needed only if your dog will go certain places or engage in specific activities. 

Leptospirosis is a virus spread by wildlife. If your dog will go camping or hiking with you, we will recommend this vaccine. 

Lyme disease, spread by ticks, is not very prevalent in our area, but we will recommend this vaccine if you plan to go hiking or camping with your dog in certain areas.

Canine Influenza is recommended for dogs that socialize with other dogs frequently such as those that go to doggie day care. Like the human flu vaccine, it needs to be given every year. 

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