Vaccination Guidelines: What are the Core Vaccines for Dogs?

20 March 2019

Vaccination Guidelines: What are the Core Vaccines for Dogs?

Nobody likes getting a shot, but they are a critical way to prevent many life-threatening diseases. To make sure your furry friend stays happy and healthy, pet parents need to know what vaccinations their pooch will need throughout their life. It may seem all a bit daunting knowing what vaccines your dog needs, but don’t worry, it’s easier than you think and we're here to help. So, why do dogs need vaccinations? Without vaccines, you could endanger your own dog as well as others. Not only is it best, but many vaccines for dogs are also a legal requirement. Vaccines work in very clever ways and contain antigens, which prepare the immune system if it ever comes into contact with a disease, allowing it to fight it off.

Your veterinarian will always discuss with you what vaccines your dog will need, but to keep you in-the-know, here are the core vaccines for dogs. These are considered core vaccines because these diseases pose the most serious risk for your dog. With these vaccines, your dog can enjoy a happy and healthy life, doing the things they love to do the most, like chasing a ball, chewing your slippers and being your best friend.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus, also referred to as ‘parvo’, is a virus that can affect all dogs and it is very important to get your dog vaccinated against this highly fatal disease. Unvaccinated pups younger than four months old are most at risk, and parvo is very contagious. The virus can contaminate almost anything, such as food bowls, collars and leashes, so you can imagine how quickly it can spread. Humans who have come into contact with the virus can also pass it on through their hands, so even getting petted by someone could harm an unvaccinated dog. This particular virus affects their stomachs (or gastrointestinal tracts) and is a big threat to dogs without vaccines and good health. Sadly, many dogs who get the virus don't survive after 48-72 hours following the onset of clinical signs, such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain and vomiting.  It all sounds very horrible and scary, but with the proper vaccinations you can ensure your pup stays healthy and protected, and it is something you won’t have to worry about.


This contagious disease, if caught, affects a dog’s breathing, stomach (gastrointestinal) and nervous system. The virus is often transmitted through airborne exposure and can also be spread through shared water bowls. Distemper can also be found in wildlife like raccoons and foxes, so it can easily be spread by dogs sniffing around after these animals if they have been in the area. This vaccine is considered a core vaccine as the virus is very dangerous to dogs, which can be fatal or leave permanent damage to the nervous system.

Canine Hepatitis

This disease if caught by an unvaccinated dog can develop very quickly. It affects the kidneys, liver, lungs, and eyes of a dog and can be very harmful, if not fatal. It is also difficult to treat this disease as it can survive for months. Signs include lack of appetite, coughing, conjunctivitis, and fever. Of course, the best way to treat this is to get the immunization before the virus can strike.


As with all core vaccines, it is a legal requirement to get your dog vaccinated against Rabies. This highly contagious disease attacks the dogs’ brain and nervous system and is spread through a bite or even a scratch from an infected animal and transmitted through the saliva. Rabies can work in two forms, paralytic and furious. Paralytic rabies in dogs includes weakness and loss of coordination, which is then followed by the dog being paralyzed. Furious rabies includes extreme behavioral changes and aggression, the type of actions we may more often associate with Rabies. Rabies is fatal; there is no cure. Any area where an infected dog has been will have to be thoroughly cleaned and it is important to stay away from the dog’s saliva, as Rabies also poses a serious risk to humans.

The Da2PP Vaccine Explained

We actually provide a Da2PP vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. This means one vaccination for all these diseases, which is great news for you and your dog!

You can also get non-core vaccines, but this is decided based on your dog’s exposure risk. Your veterinarian will always help you decide if your pup will need these non-core vaccines, which can include Leptospira bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Influenza, and Borrelia burgdorferi.

How often do I need to get my Dog Vaccinated?

Types of vaccines that your dog will need will depend of a number on factors. Again, don’t worry about knowing exactly what these are, as your vet will happily discuss this with you. These factors could be your dog’s age, environment, medical history, and lifestyle. Some dogs need vaccines annually based on this while others will only need them every few years.

What Vaccines do I need to get for my Puppy?

Again, it’s not nice to think about getting injections for your puppy, but it will help them in the future and it is only a small discomfort which they'll quickly forget about; it’s just like when we get our injections from the doctor.  Your adorable little puppy will need to start getting vaccines at around 6-8 weeks of age and will receive a series of vaccines every 2-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old.

Arranging Vaccinations

You can arrange to get your dog's vaccinations with us. Simply book an appointment and we will come to you to provide in-home care, so your dog can relax in their home whilst getting the immunizations. We will examine your fur baby and make the right vaccination plan for them.


In summary, vaccinations are an important part of caring for your best friend. The important diseases you need to get your dog immunizations for are: Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. These can be given in one shot, the Da2PP vaccine. The other critical one vaccine is the Rabies shot. Pet parents will be guided by their veterinarian for the correct immunizations to ensure your pooch is treated with the best care, all you need to do is schedule an appointment at to ensure the right care plan for you.

Category: Vaccinations

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